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[Newsmaker] N. Korean exports to China down to $2,400 last month

North Korea-China trade (Yonhap)
North Korea-China trade (Yonhap)

 North Korea’s exports to China slumped to just $2,382 last month, as the reclusive regime’s all-out push to stave off COVID-19 outbreak on its soil has brought trade with its largest economic partner to a halt.

In November, North Korean shipments to China totaled $2,382, the Voice of America reported Saturday, based on data from China’s General Administration of Customs.

This figure excludes $1.123 million of electricity exports. The VOA does not count this as exports, as the electricity comes from a jointly constructed hydroelectric power plant.

By items, cosmetics took up the largest amount, with Pyongyang shipping over $1,854, followed by miscellaneous items at $509 and soap at $19.

From January to November this year, North Korea’s export volume totaled $46.38 million, which was a plunge of 74 percent from the same period last year.

Meanwhile, Chinese shipments to the North last month totaled $148,000, down 42 percent from a month earlier.

Total trade volume between the two neighbors came to $1.27 million in November according to China’s customs data, down 23 percent from a month earlier and hitting its monthly all-time low since comparable data became available in 1998.

Early this year, North Korea was one of the first countries to shut down its borders, and it suspended all trade to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, dealing a blow to an already fragile economy from the fallout from international sanctions imposed against the country.

Pyongyang, continues to insist it has had zero COVID-19 cases, but many North Korean observers have cast doubt on the claim.

Earlier this month, Pyongyang imposed the highest level of emergency measures to prevent the coronavirus outbreak, including suspending operation of some public facilities, tightening regulation of sea entry and restricting the movement of people in the capital.

By Ahn Sung-mi (