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China's trade surplus to shrink this year, trade deficits likely for some months

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BEIJING, March 7 (Xinhua) -- China's Commerce Minister Chen Deming said Monday that the growth of the country's imports was likely to outpace that of exports this year.

Growth in China's foreign trade will slow this year, Chen told a press conference in Beijing, adding that he could not rule out the possibility that China would register trade deficits in some months.

Imports will expand rapidly this year as the country steps up efforts to restructure the economy, push forward its free trade agreements and improve import regulations, he said.

Chen expects the country to see a mild increase in this year's exports due to complicated domestic and international situations, including exchange rate fluctuations, increasing protectionism, higher costs of raw materials and labor as well as a shortage of domestic labor.

"Higher standard of energy efficiency and environmental protection will further push up cost of production," he said.

Chen said the principle for this year's foreign trade policy is to "stabilize exports, boost imports while having a lower trade surplus."

Despite increasing uncertainties and difficulties, the outlook for China's foreign trade remains good this year, he said.

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