China's trade keeps a steady growth in the first half of this year, according to official data released on Thursday.
Two-way trade for the first six months of the year is up 19.6% to 13.14 trillion yuan, the General Administration of Customs said.
China's exports in yuan-denominated terms rose by 15 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2017 while imports increased by 25.7 percent, customs data showed.
"Commodity prices fell significantly, dragging down growth in import value," Customs spokesman Huang Songping told the media, adding that "sluggish foreign demand" was a "major factor" affecting trade growth.
That led to a trade surplus of 1.28 trillion yuan (188 billion US dollars) in the same period, down 17.7 percent year-on-year, according to the General Administration of Customs.
"Export costs remained high, undermining export competitiveness," Huang said, adding that by 30 June, the yuan had strengthened 0.2% against the dollar from the start of the year, 6.9% against the euro and 2.2% against the yen.
"The downward pressures on the domestic economy increased and the demand for imports was weak," he said.
China's imports have been strong in recent months, driven largely by iron ore and other commodities used to feed a year-long construction boom, while exports have rebounded due to stronger global demand after several years of reduction.