North Korea Imports Luxury Items Instead of Food

Kwon Eun Kyoung  |  2011-07-20 16:20
It has been confirmed the North Korean authorities were concentrating on importing luxury items for privileged people, while international humanitarian organizations were worrying about North Korea’s chronic food shortage and the damage to the vulnerable classes.

According to statistics from the South Korean government and Chinese customs, from January to May this year, the cost of food import is only about 4% out of the total amount of imports, which translates to about 46 million dollars out of 1.148 billion dollars.

The total amount of trade with China was doubled as compared with the corresponding period from last year: exports were increased by 217% and imports by 58%. The export amount is 812 million dollars while the import is 1.148 billion dollars.

In comparison, around 10 million dollars were used to purchase high quality liquor, cigarettes and others for privileged classes. The amount of cigarette imports, such as Marlboro, Mild Seven and others, is 7.5 million dollars. 2.4 million dollars were used to buy Cognac or whisky like Chivas Regal, Hennessy X.O. and other kinds of alcohol.

The amount of alcohol imported was increased by 94 % compared to the same period of last year.

It was reported that other items, such as international designer brands clothes, watches, and other items and electronic goods from SONY and Samsung were also imported.

It also showed that North Korean authorities sold wheat it had received from the international community to other countries. 200,000 tons of phosphate rock, which is materials for fertilizer, provided by Middle Eastern countries for free in 2010, were sold to some countries in Europe.

In addition, since South Korean markets have been blocked due to May 24 Measures, North Korea tried to download agricultural products, which are disguised as Chinese products, onto South Korean vessels in international waters by secretly working with Chinese traders. The South Korean government reported that there were four cases last year and 11 cases so far this year.
 
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