GUANGZHOU, Aug. 25 (Xinhua) -- Premier Wen Jiabao said China should carry out targeted efforts to steady export growth so the country can hopefully meet this year's economic and social development goals.
During an inspection tour on Friday and Saturday to the southern province of Guangdong, the country's major exporter of goods, Wen said China should place high attention to the difficulties and uncertainties facing exports, which had taken a hit from the global economic headwinds.
"The third quarter of the year is a critical period for China to realize the year's export growth target and we should take targeted steps to stabilize growth," Wen said.
China aims to expand its foreign trade by 10 percent this year.
Wen's latest remarks came as export growth slowed sharply in July to a six-month low following dwindling demand from Europe and Japan.
Exports rose a mere 1 percent year-on-year to 176.9 billion U.S. dollars in July, plummeting from the 11.3-percent growth seen in June, official data showed.
During the trip, Wen visited several companies in cities of Guangzhou, Foshan and Dongguan, where he asked them to push forward structural adjustments, increase input in fostering innovation and make diversified strategies to adapt to the export markets.
Wen said that judging from the new export indexes, China's export outlook will continue to be clouded by difficulties and uncertainties.
Figures released earlier by HSBC showed that China's manufacturing activity continued to struggle in August as orders from overseas declined at their sharpest rate since March 2009.
The flash China manufacturing purchase manager index (PMI) hit a nine-month low at 47.8 this month, down from 49.3 in July, while the index for new export orders fell to 44.7 from July's 46.7, HSBC said.
To pull the trade growth out of the miring world economy, Wen urged authorities to continue implement and improve its export policies, including fast-tracking tax rebates, expanding export credit insurance scale, bettering services to facilitate trade, cutting inspection directory and canceling unreasonable fees to ease burdens on enterprises.
He said China should guide financial institutions to increase supply of currency hedge products to prepare for market changes.
Meanwhile, Wen encouraged foreign trade enterprises to cultivate more self-developed brands, and build up international sales network.
He said China should properly cope with trade frictions to minimize their negative impacts on the economy while improving investment climate for foreign capital.
Wen noted that China's recent fine-tuning policies, especially those created since May, had produced noticeable effects in boosting market confidence and lift the economy.
These pro-growth measures include more aggressive tax reduction, issuing subsidies to support enterprises' technology upgrades, and opening state-run sectors to private investors.
"Seen from a larger picture, China's economic fundamentals remain unchanged and there are many favorable conditions for China to spur growth," Wen said.
He stressed that the focus now is to further intensify macro-control efforts and make them more targeted and effective.
In the wake of an anemic recovery in the United States and spreading debt woes in the eurozone, China has pared its gross domestic product (GDP) growth target for 2012 to 7.5 percent from the previous 8 percent in March.
In the second quarter, the country's actual GDP growth hit a three-year low of 7.6 percent.
Earlier this month, Wen said during an inspection tour in east China's Zhejiang province that China is capable of meeting its economic and social development goals for the year.