Beijing: The outlook for China's foreign trade remained grim but the full-year target of a 10-percent rise is still achievable, authorities said Tuesday.
The country might register a trade surplus in 2012, which will narrow from last year's trade surplus of USD 155.14 billion, Ministry of Commerce (MOC) spokesperson Shen Danyang said at a press conference in Beijing.
"China's foreign trade will be basically balanced this year with a small surplus," Xinhua quoted Shen as saying.
As for April's weak trade data, shrinking external demand, rising labour and raw material costs and increasing trade frictions weighed on export growth, Shen added.
"The external demand was worse than expected. Demand from the European Union [EU], the country's biggest trade partner, dropped significantly," he said.
China's exports to the EU dropped two percent year-on-year in April, according to official data.
Slowing domestic demand, a moderation in the processing trade and falling global commodity prices slowed China's import growth in April, Shen noted.
China's exports rose 4.9 percent year-on-year in April, down from the 8.9-percent increase registered in the previous month. Import growth fell to 0.3 percent from 5.3 percent in March.
The country's trade surplus expanded to USD 18.4 billion last month.