North Korea

Nearly 90pc of North Korea’s overseas trade with China, says report

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 September, 2013, 1:02pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 September, 2013, 2:20pm

North Korea is becoming increasingly reliant on China as a trading partner - with almost 90 per cent of North Korea’s overseas trade last year taking place with China, new data from a South Korean trade organisation shows.

In 2012, trade between the two nations amounted to around US$6 billion (HK$46.5 billion), a recent report by South Korea’s government-run Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) said.

All told, trade with China accounts for 88.3 per cent of North Korea’s total overseas trade, which excludes inter-Korean trade, noted KOTRA. If trade with South Korea were taken into account, trade with Beijing made up 68.4 per cent of North Korea's overall trade in 2012.

Last year, North Korea traded with 71 countries around the world. 

Since 2005, trade between China and North Korea accounted for more than half of North Korea’s overseas trade and in 2011 it reached as high as 89 per cent.

Coal took up nearly half of North Korea’s exports to China, while crude oil and petroleum products were the most popular imports from China.

Heavy reliance on China for trade will continue because of United Nations sanctions on Pyongyang, geographical restraints and the limited types of goods which Pyongyang can export, the KOTRA report predicted.

North Korea’s trade with Hong Kong also jumped by 457 per cent from 2011 to 2012 to reach US$111 million (HK$861 million). Hong Kong was the Stalinist country’s No 2 trading partner.

Other top 10 trading partners of North Korea were, in descending order of trade volume, Russia, India, Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, Germany and Brazil.