China’s trade surplus is expected to surge 43% from the end of last year to $254.03 billion in 2007, according to a forecast by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xinhua news agency reported.

China’s trade surplus in 2006 rose 75% to a record $177.5 billion and the first-quarter surplus this year doubled to $46.44 billion, fuelling anger in the United States and steps there to address what Washington considers unfair practices by Beijing.

The report, released by the Academy’s Center for Forecasting Sciences, predicted that growth in exports would slow slightly, projecting total exports at $1.2 trillion, up 23.7% year-on-year, compared with a 27.2% rise last year.

China has introduced a raft of cuts in export tax rebates as it tries to discourage firms from selling certain products, such as basic metals and textiles, overseas.

The Ministry of Commerce said China would implement an export license system on some steel products, in another step toward tightening Beijing’s control of excessive exports.

The report predicted a slowdown in clothing, textile and shoe exports—the subject of punitive anti-dumping duties in the European Union—with their annual growth rates ranging from 13.3% to 15.8%.

It also said China’s exports of high-tech products would increase, in line with government admonitions to industry to move up the value chain.

The report estimated total imports in 2007 at $946 billion, up 19.5% from the previous year, but said crude oil imports would grow by a slower 4.8% to $69.6 billion. (Reuters)