SOMEBODY in China's Ministry of Trade has got a lot of explaining to do. While the Foreign Ministry yesterday blasted the US for attaching conditions to renewal of MFN trade status in 1994, certain unnamed ''senior Chinese trade officials'' were quoted bythe China Daily as ''welcoming'' President Mr Bill Clinton's ''wise'' decision to extend MFN for another year. The trade officials expressed ''guarded pleasure'' at the move, which provoked outrage and a formal diplomatic protest by the foreign ministry, the paper China Daily said on the front page. The officials went on to say they were ''unsettled'' by the probability that conditions would be attached next year, but the juxtaposition of the two ministries' reactions comes as a major embarrassment for Beijing nonetheless. The problem arose largely because of the timing of the foreign ministry's announcement, carried by the official New China News Agency at 1.44 am yesterday morning, but far too late for inclusion in the China Daily. Insiders at the paper said the senior editors would have waited until the very last minute for the official NCNA version, but, when it did not arrive, they used their own copy from the trade ministry and just hoped it was the right reaction. They could not have been more wrong. The trade ministry eventually issued a statement which echoed the foreign ministry in expressing ''strong resentment'' at Mr Clinton's decision, but the damage had already been done. The unnamed officials said they hoped the process of annual renewal of MFN would be abolished so as to remove ''uncertainty in Chinese and US business circles''.