UPDATE 1-China confident of making 2014 trade target -commerce minister

Thu Mar 6, 2014 11:38pm EST

* Target is for total trade to grow 7.5 pct

* Jan exports strong, Feb trade data due on Saturday

* China will study easing some foreign-investment limits

BEIJING, March 7 (Reuters) - China is fully confident of achieving its target of 7.5 percent growth in total trade this year, the commerce minister said on Friday, citing an improving global economic environment and strong fundamentals in emerging markets.

The minister, Gao Hucheng, also told a media briefing on the sidelines of China's annual parliament session that China will take more measures to improve the environment for foreign investment.

"We think the recovery in the global economy in 2014, especially the recovery in developed economies as demand rebounds, will help China's exports," Gao said.

China has targeted 7.5 percent growth in total trade in 2014. That is lower than last year's target of 8 percent, which was missed as 2013 exports and imports combined grew 7.6 percent.

Strong trade data in January, with import growth hitting a six-month high, has eased fears of a deepening economic slowdown. February trade data will be released on Saturday. A Reuters poll sees exports growing 6.8 percent from a year earlier.

Gao noted that China would study easing restrictions on foreign investment in some industries, including increasing the percentage of shares foreigners can hold in ventures.

Asked about the investment environment in China, Gao said surveys showed over 90 percent foreign companies would like to continue to increase investment in China.

"We will make more effort to create an open and clear legal environment, an efficient and convenient administrative environment and to push fair competition in the market," Gao said.

He added that to attract more foreign investment to China's less-developed western areas, the ministry will streamline policies and cut red tape for investors who want to move to the region from eastern China.

China drew $10.76 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) in January, up 16.1 percent from a year earlier, a sign that confidence in the world's second-largest economy remains firm.

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