Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has called for efforts to stabilize weakening exports amid signs the country's economy is weakening despite stimulus efforts.
Wen's weekend comments during a visit to Guangdong province, an export center in the southeast, follow a wave of bankruptcies that has raised the threat of job losses and unrest. That comes at a sensitive time as the Communist Party prepares to hand over power to younger leaders.
"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, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.
The report gave no indication of possible measures but Beijing previously has promised tax cuts and loans by state banks to help struggling exporters.
Export growth in July fell to just 1 percent, well below forecasts, from the previous month's 11.3 percent growth due to weak demand in debt-crippled Europe, China's biggest export market, and the United States, which is struggling with a sluggish recovery.
Beijing cut interest rates twice in June and is pumping money into the economy through higher spending on public works construction. Authorities have resisted pressure for more aggressive stimulus after huge spending in response to the 2008 crisis fueled inflation and a wasteful building boom.
China's August manufacturing activity fell to a nine-month low, according to the preliminary version of HSBC Corp.'s monthly purchasing managers' index. It said new export orders fell at their fastest rate in three years.