BEIJING, May 5 -- China's foreign trade will grow "steadily" this year in spite of increasing signs of an economic slowdown, the country's Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said on Monday.
Given that there are no "big changes" in the international trade environment, China's foreign trade for the year is expected to grow "relatively steadily", the ministry said in a report.
Official data showed that China's combined exports and imports declined 3.7 percent year on year in the first quarter, with exports decreasing 6.1 percent and imports down 1.2 percent.
In the report, the MOC attributed the disappointing data mainly to the high comparison base of the same period last year.
Prospects for the recovery of the world economy are improving and China's economy has achieved stable growth in the early part of the year, providing foundations for steady expansion of foreign trade, said the MOC.
However, China's foreign trade is faced with many difficulties and challenges and "the tough and complicated conditions for trade growth should not be underestimated," it said.
China will thoroughly implement policies that are already in place to shore up trade growth, create a favorable environment for enterprises, explore new growth areas for exports, increase added value of exports, and expand the number of imported goods that China is in need of, the MOC said.