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1. Total trade amount reached US$850 million in the first half of 2000 according to preliminary estimations.

Preliminary figures estimate that North Korea's total trade amount for the first half of 2000 balances at US$849.72 million - 27.6% up from the same period of the previous year. Of the total trade amount, exports increased by 16.5% up from the same period of the previous year to reach a balance of US$268.82 million, while imports showed at 33.5% increase at US$580.91 million.

Both these figures demonstrate an increasing trend. Export was led by aquatic products (US$44.7 million, 35.3% increase), processed clothing (US$32.07 million, 30.3% increase), electronic products (US$12.09 million, 37.5% increase), and articles of iron or steel (US$5.92 million, 1240% increase) to Japan along with petroleum oil (US$7.78 million) exports to Thailand.

It shows that aquatic products - which recorded the highest export expansion last year - are still strong, and the increase of object manufacturing centering around processed production and the heavy chemical industry led the export expansion.

Import increase, meanwhile, was led by food assistance from Japan (US$18.38 million), grant-type aid from China (US$9.53 million including 34,563-tons of soybeans and 23,000-tons of coking coals), increased import of vehicles from Japan (US$22.03 million, 81.7% increase), raw materials for processed electronic products (US$13.93 million, 40% increase), and an increased import of vehicles from Hong Kong.

With regard to the import structure, North Korea is making efforts to normalize its industry by maintaining food assistance from international societies and expanding imports of energy resources, capital goods and raw and subsidiary materials.

Japan ranked first as a trading partner with North Korea as China's role was diminished. This phenomenon was largely due to the resumption of Japan's grant-type aid toward North Korea and an expansion in processed production including electric products and clothing etc. Although China is still playing an important role as a base for food and energy, North Korea's reliance on China as a trading country is gradually reducing.

Other trading partners include Thailand, India, Hong Kong, Russia, and Singapore by the order of relative trading amounts. It is worth special mention that Thailand emerged as one of the main countries for North Korea's exports.


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