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N. Korea-China trade rises 15.3 pct in H1

North Korea 14:30 August 08, 2019

SEOUL, Aug. 8 (Yonhap) -- Trade between North Korea and China climbed 15.3 percent on-year in the first half of the year thanks to a sharp rebound after a failed U.S.-North Korean summit in February, a report said Thursday.

The North exported US$105 million worth of goods to its biggest ally in the January-June period, up 14 percent from a year earlier, according to the report from the Korea International Trade Association (KITA).

North Korea's imports from China surged 15.5 percent on-year to $1.145 billion during the six-month period, resulting in a trade deficit of $1.04 billion.

The report said bilateral trade shot up after the second U.S.-North Korea summit in Hanoi ended with a deal.

N. Korea-China trade rises 15.3 pct in H1 - 1

Trade between North Korea and China shrank 8.8 percent and 4.5 percent on-year in January and February, respectively, but surged 38.1 percent and 39.3 percent in March and April, respectively. On-year growth came to 19.1 percent in May and 8.7 percent in June.

"Reflecting both countries' strategic interests, there was a rise in bilateral trade in essential goods and products exempt from international sanctions," KITA said.

Major North Korean imports include food items, watch parts and textiles, while watches and minerals were key exports.

Tough U.N. sanctions against North Korea remain in place as punishment for Pyongyang's past nuclear tests and missile launches.

KITA said the U.N. sanctions have led to North Korea's increased trade with China, which tends to expand Pyongyang's trade deficit.

North Korea's trade deficit with China, its staunchest ally, amounted to $2 billion last year.

The report said up to 80,000 North Koreans are estimated to be working in China, serving as a considerable source of hard currency for the isolated country.

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