Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming Friday said he remained cautious about growth of exports this year as recovery in demand for China-made goods in the United States and Europe was still very slow.
Chen made the remarks in an exclusive interview with Xinhua in a tour to the 107th China Import and Export Fair, or Canton Fair, in Guangzhou, capital of southern Guangdong province.
China's exports were on track for recovery, but it was hard for the growth to reach pre-financial crisis levels this year due to uncertainties on the global market, Chen said.
"This fair is better than the spring and autumn sessions last year. A majority of exporters reported growth in orders from overseas customers," he said.
Chen, however, warned against blind optimism about trade recovery.
The growth in orders came mainly after overseas customers sought to replenish their stocks amid worries that trade protectionism would hurt global trade in the second half of this year, he said.
The number of total overseas customers had grown this year, but those from the U.S. and Europe were fewer, Chen said.
The recovery in demand in major markets like the U.S. and Europe remained very slow, a sign that global demand had not recovered to pre-crisis levels, Chen said.
"Chinese exports are expected to achieve better results than last year, but the growth pace won't be very fast," he said.
Chen added that Chinese exporters were urged to speed the transformation of the growth pattern and adjust products structure for more healthy growth.
China's exports rose 28.7 percent year on year in the first quarter of 2010 after declining 16 percent last year amid the global economic downturn, according to the General Administration of Customs.
The People's Bank of China, the central bank, said in a report on its website Friday that an increase in orders would push up export growth to more than 20 percent in the second quarter.
The report said China still faced deteriorating trade conditions with rising trade protectionism and the unstable global economic recovery.