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China's imports, exports continue falling, but rate eases

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China's imports and exports continued falling year on year in June, but the pace of decline eased, the General Administration of Customs announced Friday.

Exports dropped 21.4 percent year on year to 95.41 billion U.S. dollars, but the figure was up 7.5 percent from May.

June imports totaled 87.16 billion U.S. dollars, down 13.2 percent year on year, but were up 15.6 percent from May.

During the first half, exports totaled 521.53 billion U.S. dollars, a decrease of 21.8 percent over the same period last year.

Imports amounted to 424.59 billion U.S. dollars in the first six months, down 25.4 percent.

China's trade surplus stood at 96.94 billion U.S. dollars in the first half, down 1.3 billion U.S. dollars, or 1.3 percent, year on year.

The European Union was the leading trade partner of China in the first half, with a bilateral trade volume of 159.97 billion U.S. dollars, down 20.9 percent year on year. The U.S. and Japan were the second and third largest trade partners.

Cuts in export tariffs and a rise in tax rebates on some labour-intensive products, including farm and textile products, slowed the decline in exports of such goods to 21.8 percent in the first half.

Exports of textiles and garments stood at 45.86 billion U.S. dollars in the first six months, down 8.5 percent over the same period last year.

The government has raised export tax rebates seven times since last August to shore up exports against the global economic downturn. The latest rise on more than 2,600 items was on June 20.

Imports dropped amid weakened world demand. Industrial products imports totaled 307.82 billion U.S. dollars in the first half, a decrease of 19.7 percent year on year.

Zhang Xiaoji, a researcher with the State Council, or Cabinet, told the reporter that the foreign trade figures were largely in line with market forecasts.

"The weaker foreign trade shows the world economy is still gloomy," said Zhang. "But the situation is expected to get better in the second half as the government's stimulus efforts take effect gradually."

Zhang Yansheng, a researcher with National Development and Reform Commission, the country's economic planner, said the slowing of the decline in foreign trade was positive.

He expected exports to recover in the second half. "Exports for the whole year are expected to drop 10 percent," he said.

The government had rolled out enough stimulus measures, and new macro-economic measures were unnecessary, he said.

It only remained to provide a sound market order and technology and skills to enterprises to aid exports.