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North Korea’s Trade Dependence on China Soars in Seven Years
China Accounts for 92% of N. Korea's Trade
North Korea’s Trade Dependence on China Soars in Seven Years
  • By Jung Suk-yee
  • December 2, 2019, 11:24
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North Korea’s trade with China accounted for 91.8 percent of its total trade value last year.

The Korea International Trade Association announced on Dec. 2 that North Korea’s trade with China accounted for 91.8 percent of the total trade value of North Korea last year, increasing more than five-fold in seven years.

Back in 2001, Japan, China and South Korea accounted for 30.1 percent, 17.3 percent and 8.8 percent of North Korea’s total trade value, respectively. Last year, however, China, India and Russia represented 91.8 percent, 1.4 percent and 1.3 percent of the value, respectively.

In 2010, China accounted for 45.3 percent of the value and it was followed by South Korea (25 percent) and India (7.5 percent) with Japan imposing sanctions on the North and the inter-Korean trade volume increasing based on the Kaesong Industrial Complex. The industrial complex was shut down in 2016 and the inter-Korean trade volume was close to zero in 2017 and 2018.


From 2001 to 2018, anthracite represented 18.8 percent of North Korea’s exports, followed by iron ore (4.2 percent), male winter coats (2.1 percent), female winter coats (1.7 percent) and heavy oil (1.7 percent). Last year, when anthracite was subject to sanctions, North Korean clocks, ferrosilicon, wigs, injection machines and tungsten showed an increase in exports.