China's foreign trade growth is unlikely to meet the State Council's 10 percent target for this year, Wei Jianguo, former vice-minister of commerce, said at the World Environmental Conference on Tuesday.
"Export growth for July was only 1 percent," said Wei, who added that Shanghai and Jiangsu province both experienced negative growth.
Export-led Zhejiang province is also in a substantial downward trend.
Wei said small and medium-sized enterprises are facing many difficulties, not only in European markets but also in emerging economies.
"The next three months will be very critical," Wei said.
"If we don't get more orders, we might have an even tougher year.
"Why don't we change the old way of promoting foreign trade at the expense of cheap labor, resources consumption and environmental pollution, and adopt a low-carbon model," Wei added.