BEIJING, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- China's foreign trade still faces downward pressure despite improvements in January, a senior commerce official said Tuesday.
"Uncertain and unstable factors are increasing. Difficulties facing China's foreign trade are not short term," said Wang Dongtang, deputy director-general of the foreign trade department under the Ministry of Commerce.
The rise of trade protectionism, sluggish overseas demand, and increasing domestic production costs are potential restraints on China's future exports growth, he added.
However, Wang said, the foreign trade fundamentals have not changed and the country still retains advantages in this regard.
China's trade started this year with a strong rebound, with exports and imports both up significantly.
Exports rose 15.9 percent year on year in January, up from 0.6 percent in December, while imports increased 25.2 percent, up from 10.8 percent, customs data showed Friday.
Exports to the European Union, China's biggest trade partner, climbed 13.6 percent year on year in January.
In the same period, exports to the United States, China's second-biggest trade partner, rose 17.2 percent, and those to emerging economies also jumped.
The ministry will continue to implement pro-trade policies and strengthen trade cooperation with countries along the Belt and Road to boost foreign trade, Wang said.