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China likely to see steady trade growth in 2014 -ministry

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's foreign trade is likely to maintain steady growth in the rest of 2013 and next year as the government's supportive measures help offset external headwinds faced by the world's second-largest economy, the Commerce Ministry said on Wednesday.

China will take steps to stabilise export growth and spur imports to improve its trade balance, the ministry said in a bi-annual report on its website, without specifying the measures.

"Beijing's timely steps to stabilise trade performance helped boost business confidence and will lead to steady growth momentum in exports and imports in the fourth quarter," it said.

"China's exports and imports are going to encounter a better domestic and external environment in 2014 than in 2013."

China's recent measures to help exporters include simplifying customs procedures and cutting administrative fees.

But China's exports posted a surprise annual fall of 0.3 percent in September on the back of declining orders from Southeast Asia, fuelling worries about sputtering global demand, especially in emerging markets.

The report also flagged several negative factors that could continue to affect trade growth, such as a global economic recovery that is still patchy, rising trade protectionism and swings in cross-border capital flows.

It added that macro policy adjustments by developed countries could trigger huge capital outflows from emerging markets, and making it tougher for exporters to get trade financing.

(Reporting by Aileen Wang and Xiaoyi Shao and Jonathan Standing; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)