North Korea’s trade
volume with China last year dropped by 2.79 percent, recording roughly 6.36
billion USD, down from 6.54 billion USD the previous year, according to a
report by Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency [KOTRA]. Coal was one of the
areas in which the North saw a slump in exports; conversely, it saw an increase
exports to China recorded 2.84 billion USD, a 2.48 percent dip, while imports
also dropped by 3.04 percent to 3.52 billion USD.
However, the North’s
trade deficit with China stood at roughly 681 million USD, a 5.32 percent
decrease from the previous year.
This marks the first time in six years the
North’s trade volume with China has seen a decline,
following an upward trend for several years, according to KOTRA’s report.
Natural resource exports, which previously
made up for 71.4 percent of overall exports as of 2011, dropped to 56.9 percent
One of North Korea’s
main exports, coal, plunged by 17.69 percent last year, dropping from 47.46 percent to 39.97
percent of overall exports. On the other hand, textile exports jumped
to 26.6 percent of all exports from 17.1 percent in 2011.
The increase in textile exports is likely
connected to the expansion of processing trade that utilizes North Korean labor
by Chinese companies, according to KOTRA. The trade agency also reported that
North Korea’s trade sector, previously heavily reliant on
natural resource exports, appears to be undergoing changes due to decreasing
unit prices and a drop in demand.
Notably, China’s crude oil exports to North Korea
recorded nil all of last year, according to the report, but petroleum exports
jumped by 48.22 percent.