China's exports will hopefully return to positive territory this year as the latest monthly slump was partly caused by base effect, an official with the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said Thursday.
"The export structure is improving and the country's share in the global market is steadily expanding -- these trends have not been changed," said Zhang Ji, assistant to the minister of commerce.
China's exports fell 0.9 percent year on year in the first seven months of the year, with exports in July slumping 8.9 percent, compared with a 2.1 percent increase in June.
Zhang attributed July's plunge to "exceptionally high" growth in the same period last year, saying the decline would have be within a normal range if the base effect was excluded.
In July 2014, exports surged 14.5 percent from a year ago.
Though softening due to weaker external demand and rising costs, China's exports still outperformed other major economies, Zhang said.
Exports by the United States and Japan decreased by 5.2 percent and 8.1 percent year on year respectively in the first six months, according to data from the World Trade Organization.
In comparison, China's exports rose slightly by 0.9 percent during that period.
Meanwhile, Zhang said there had been increased pressure on foreign trade, saying companies in the sector were generally having a hard time.
The MOC will continue to improve services and regulation to support trade firms, and study new policies to support trade growth, he said.
Imports will likely stay weak but may slow its downward pace, Zhang predicted.
China's imports slumped by 14.6 percent in the first seven months, when foreign trade dropped 7.3 percent. The target for trade growth for 2015 is around 6 percent.