Inter-Korean trade hits record high

According to Yonhap:

Inter-Korean trade soared to a record high in the first half of this year despite escalating tensions caused by the sinking of a South Korean naval ship in late March, a government report said Thursday.

Two-way trade jumped 52.4 percent on-year to US$983.2 million in the January-June period, according to report by the Korea Customs Service (KCS). It also represents a six-fold increase from the $161.6 million tallied in the same period in 1999.

Outbound shipments spiked 66 percent on-year to $430.5 million, with imports from the North surging 44 percent to $552.7 million for a deficit of slightly more than $122.2 million.

The report, however, said that with most cross-border exchanges being cut off by Seoul in retaliation for the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan, inter-Korean trade is expected to drop about 30 percent on-year in the second half.

A Seoul-led multinational investigation team found the North responsible for the sinking of the 1,200-ton warship that resulted in the deaths of 46 sailors. The North countered that it was in no way in involved.

Only the Kaesong Complex, located just north of the DMZ that separates the two countries, has not been affected by the fallout from the ship sinking. The complex accounts for roughly 70 percent of all inter-Korean trade and is home to 120 South Korean companies that make products with the help of North Korean laborers.

The customs office, meanwhile, said trade between the two Koreas rose from $328.6 million in 1999 to $1.08 billion in 2005 and peaked at $1.82 billion in 2008. Last year, the trade volume fell to $1.66 billion after Pyongyang detonated its second nuclear device.

According to the Choson Ilbo:

In spite of strained inter-Korean relations following the March sinking of the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan, trade volume between the two Koreas hit a record high in the first half of this year.

According to data from the Korea Customs Service, the total value of exchanged goods reached over US$983 million in the January to June period, up more than 52 percent from $645 million a year ago.

The latest figure tops the previous record of $885 million in 2008, and is six times higher than the $162 million recorded in 1999.

The South’s cross-border exports jumped 66 percent to $435 million, and inbound shipments 44 percent to $553 million.

Amid the ever-changing atmosphere on the Korean Peninsula, inter-governmental efforts to spur North-South trade and the expansion of the joint Kaesong Industrial Complex have fueled a gradual yet continuous growth in trade activity.

The annual trade volume, which amounted to nearly $329 million in 1999, peaked at over $1.8 billion in 2008 before dropping slightly to $1.67 billion in the wake of North Korea’s second nuclear test in 2009.

Experts, however, forecast the trade volume to drop by as much as 30 percent on-year in the second half of this year, reflecting Seoul’s suspension of all trade with Pyongyang, except for operations at the Kaesong Industrial Complex, in response to the sinking of the Cheonan.

Much attention is focused on the future of business at the industrial park, which produces 70 percent of the goods traded between the two sides.

Read the full stories here:
Inter-Korean trade hits record high in H1: report

Inter-Korean Trade Reaches Record High
Choson Ilbo


Comments are closed.