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China's foreign trade outlook not favorable: official

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BEIJING, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- The outlook for China's foreign trade is not favorable in the first quarter of the year amid sluggish global growth, especially among major trade partners such as the EU, the U.S. and Japan, Ministry of Commerce spokesman Shen Danyang said at a press conference Thursday.

Shen said external demand waned after global economic growth slowed, weighing on the expansion of China's exports.

Shen cited the EU, the country's largest export destination, as an example. The growth of last year's exports to the EU, which accounts for nearly one-sixth of China's export market, was six percentage points lower compared with the average level. Exports to the region dipped 3.2 percent year-on-year in January.

China also faces obstacles in expanding imports because of slowing domestic growth and export restrictions in the EU and U.S., Shen said.

He said the slowdown in January's foreign trade was a seasonal aberration due to the week-long Chinese New Year holiday and was caused by tightened environments both at home and abroad, citing lackluster external demand as a main factor.

Last month's trade data should not be used to predict whole-year trends, he said.

In January, China's exports dropped 0.5 percent year-on-year, the first decline in more than two years. Its imports plunged 15.3 percent year-on-year last month.

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