China's trade surplus is on line to almost triple in 2005, but export growth is likely to slow next year, according to government forecasts.

The surplus is on track to increase to a record $90 billion this year, with a 26 per cent export growth. However, officials believe protectionist measures by the likes of the US and the EU may quell growth next year.

China's trade surplus totalled $68.33bn for the first nine months of 2005, compared to $32bn for the whole of 2004.

China's exports and imports are predicted to total $1.6 trillion next year - representing a 15 per cent rise from this year, said the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.

Total exports are predicted to total $745bn this year, the academy said.

The US and Europe have both introduced restrictive measure against China's textile exports, which have increased considerably since world trade quotas ended in January.

"China's exports have maintained fast growth for four successive years and it is difficult to keep up such high growth due to the limitations of global markets and also trade protectionism," the Chinese Academy said in a statement.

"China is the biggest victim of trade protectionism. Such a trend won't show a fundamental change next year."

Meanwhile, garment deals at China's largest trade fair - The China Export Commodities Fair - which ended on Sunday, trailed off 10 per cent compared to the spring fair, with sales to the US slumping 44 per cent, the government said.

Deals decreased almost 14 per cent from the 2004 autumn fair, a report on the Ministry of Commerce website said.

Deals with the US were down 44 per cent from spring, while European deals dropped 6.9 per cent.

Sales of both garments and textiles decreased 3.35 per cent.