China today said its trade surplus is likely to fall noticeably this year despite increasing exports as the future outlook for this year appeared not optimistic.

Exports growth would slow after July, while imports would remain robust, China’s Commerce Ministry spokesman Yao Jian said at a briefing here today.

He said the 48.5 per cent surge in exports in May was due to a low comparison basis last year and China’s trade surplus in the first five months fell 59.9 per cent to USD 35.39 billion. The figure in 2009 topped USD 196.07 billion.

Mr. Yao attributed the weak export outlook to the European sovereign debt crisis, rising commodity prices and labour costs.

“In the following months, the fallout from the debt crisis in Europe would gradually become apparent, and China would closely watch changes in its important exports markets including Germany, Spain and Italy,” Mr. Yao said.

China would maintain stable trade policies amid the crisis, and might adjust some policies in some specific industries for environmental protection purposes.

“Stable trade policies are a top priority when the external outlook is not clear,” Xinhua quoted him as saying.

Mr. Yao also said that attempts by some US lawmakers to include China’s exchange rate policy into trade investigations on China’s exports of aluminum extrusions and coated paper lacked factual support and did not conform to rules of the World Trade Organisation.

The WTO regulated trade policies instead of a country’s overall financial or foreign exchange policies, he said.