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N. Korea trying to improve trade structure to circumvent U.N. sanctions

All News 14:29 January 04, 2017

SEOUL, Jan. 4 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has emphasized the need to improve its trade structure by expanding the exports of processed goods and services in an apparent bid to circumvent U.N. sanctions on its mineral resources exports.

"The export ratio of processed goods, technology and services to total exports should be raised, a departure from the existing trade structure centered on exports of raw materials and resources to the one focused on exports of processed and finished goods," said a thesis, carried on the 2016 fourth edition of the newspaper of Kimilsung University in Pyongyang, issued on Dec. 10. Yonhap obtained the paper on Wednesday.

Agricultural products, livestocks and mineral resources like lead, zinc, magnesite, silica, graphite and rare earth, which are abundant in North Korea, need to be shipped abroad after processing, said the paper, titled "To Expand External Economy Is a Critical Demand for the Construction of a Socialist Economic Power."

The paper also stressed that the North's exports now center on technology and services instead of goods.

It's unusual that the North has stressed on the need for the improvement of its trade structure, reflecting that it is trying hard to find other export items that can replace its major exports of mineral resources.

In November, the U.N. Security Council adopted the Resolution 2321 to punish the North for its fifth nuclear test, imposing a cap on the U.N. member nations' imports of the North's mineral resources, which is a source of hard currency for the North's nuclear program.

"The paper is a reflection of the effectiveness of the U.N.'s economic sanctions on North Korea, although the communist country claims they are not," Cho Bong-hyon, a researcher at the Seoul-based IBK Economic Research Institute, said.

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