Monthly trade surplus stood at 321.2 billion yuan (47.8 billion USA dollars) in July, up 1.4 percent year on year, according to the GAC.
Market watchers keep their eyes on the world's second-largest economy ahead of a key Communist Party meeting in the fall.
The slowdown left a trade balance of 46.74 billion dollars for July, down from 48.3 billion dollars a year ago, the General Administration of Customs said.
China's trade growth weakened in the month of July in a negative sign for growth in China and global demand. The rise was smaller than the poll's forecast for a 16.4% gain. Import growth was even stronger, lifting 14.7% over the same period.
China has been trying to curb capital flight and risky bank lending, putting restrictions on property purchases as the country's mounting debt fuels fears of a looming financial crisis that could have global repercussions.
"Although China's monthly trade surplus increased, trade tensions between the USA and China have eased following China's co-operation with the United States for tougher economic sanctions on North Korea", said Rajiv Biswas, chief economist for IHS Markit. US President Donald Trump said in April he would temporarily set aside trade and currency disputes with Beijing while the two governments cooperated on North Korea, but American officials more recently have resumed criticizing Chinese trade policy. The Chinese trade surplus with the 28-nation European Union, the country's biggest trading partner, rose 3.4% to Dollars 12.2 billion.