Archive for the ‘Korea International Trade Association (KITA)’ Category

DPRK – China trade drops 2.3%

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

According to Yonhap:

Trade between North Korea and China contracted 2.3 percent on-year in the first five months of 2013 mainly due to Pyongyang importing less from its neighbor, a report showed Tuesday.

The report by the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) showed two-way trade at US$2.45 billion in the January-May period, with North Korea’s exports to China growing 6.5 percent on-year to $1.12 billion. The North’s imports from China, however, dropped 8.5 percent to $1.33 billion.

The trade association said the North shipped $613.6 million worth of coal, making it the top export commodity for the communist country, followed by such raw materials as iron and lead ores.

In exchange, the North bought $265 million worth of crude oil, a decrease of 5 percent from January-May of 2012. The country imported $52 million in large cargo-hauling vehicles, as well as flour and soybean oil from its neighbor.

KITA did not elaborate on the reason for the decrease in overall trade volume and the drop in crude oil imports from China.

Related to economic developments in the North, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a report that food conditions in the isolationist country remain one of the most precarious in all of Asia.

In its 2012-2013 food security report, which inspected 22 countries in the region, the North came in at the bottom with Afghanistan and Yemen.

The findings, which are used as reference material for food aid provisions by Washington, claimed that while the North was able to produce 7.5 million tons of grain annually up until the early 1990s, this has since plunged to around 4.3 million tons in 2012.

Read the full story here:
N. Korea-China trade drops 2.3 pct: report


Inter-Korean trade increases in 2010 despite tensions

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

According to Yonhap:

Trade between South and North Korea surged in the first half of the year despite high tensions over the communist nation’s alleged sinking of a South Korean warship in March, a trade organization said Wednesday.

South Korea’s exports to the North soared 63 percent on-year to US$430 million in the January-June period with North Korea’s exports to the South jumping 43 percent to $550 million, according to the Korea International Trade Association (KITA).

Read the full story here:
Inter-Korean trade jumps in H1 despite soured relations


IFES Monthly report

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)


Following two days of talks between economic representatives of the two Koreas at the Kaesong Industrial Complex, South Korea announced on July 7 that it would begin shipping raw materials to the North in exchange for DPRK natural resources. South Korea shipped 800,000 USD of polyester fabric on July 25, and is set to send the rest of the materials by the end of November. North Korea accepted South Korean prices for the goods, and will pay transportation, cargo working, and demurrage costs, as well. South Korea will pay for shipping, insurance, and the use of port facilities. On 28 July, a South Korean delegation left for the North in order to conduct on-site surveys of three zinc and magnesite mines. The team will spend two weeks in North Korea.

It was reported on 17 July that North Korea proposed a joint fishing zone north of the ‘Northern Limit Line’ dividing North and South territorial waters to the west of the peninsula. Seoul turned down the offer.

Inter-Korean military talks broke down early on 26 July after only three days of negotiations as North Korea insisted on the redrawing of the Northern Limit Line.

North Korea demanded on 27 July that workers in the Kaesong Industrial Complex be given a 15 percent pay raise. The North Korean workers will not work overtime, weekends or holidays beginning in August unless the raise is granted.

It was reported by the Korea International Trade Association on 26 July that inter-Korean trade was up 28.6 percent in the first six months of 2007, totaling 720 million USD.


It was reported on 19 July that Russia and North Korea have agreed to connect Khasan and Najin by rail, enlisting investment from Russian oil companies interested in an inactive refinery at Najin Port capable of processing up to 120,000 barrels per day. The project is estimated to cost over two billion USD.


During a four-day visit to Mongolia by Kim Yong-nam beginning on 20 July, the two countries signed protocols on cooperation on health and science, trade and sea transport, and labor exchange issues. This follows on the heals of an agreement to allow South Korean trains to travel through North Korean territory on to Mongolia in route to Russia and Europe.


Japan took one step further to recover abductees in North Korea this month when the government began broadcasting propaganda into the DPRK intended for Japanese citizens. The broadcasts are made in Korean and Japanese (30 minutes each) daily, and updated once per week.


U.S. Ambassador to the ROK Alexander Vershbow stated that Washington was prepared to negotiate a permanent peace regime on the Korean Peninsula by the end of the year if North Korea were to completely abandon its nuclear ambitions.



The Egyptian company Orascom Construction Industries announced a 115 million USD deal with North Korea’s state-owned Pyongyang Myongdang Trading Corporation to purchase a 50 percent state in Sangwon Cement. To put this in perspective, the deal in worth more than four times the amount of frozen DPRK funds that had caused six-party talks to break down and delayed the implementation of the February 13 agreement.


The Economist reported on 7 July that, according to foreigners living in the North’s capital, concern for petty law appears to be weakening. Citizens are reportedly smoking in smoke-free zones, sitting on escalator rails, and even blocking traffic by selling wares on the streets.

It was reported on July 11 that a letter sent earlier in the year by the North Korean Red Cross indicated severe shortages of medical supplies. The letter stated that North Korea would accept any medicine, even if it was past expiration, and accept all consequences for any problems that arose from using outdated supplies. The (South) Korea Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association had no choice but to reject the request.

Events were held on July 11 in North Korea in order to promote women’s health and well-being issues. Marking World Population Day, a North Korean official stated that the DPRK has cooperated with the UN Population Fund since 1986, and is now in the fourth phase of cooperation.

Seeing entertainment venues as a “threat to society”, North Korean security forces have been implementing a shutdown of karaoke bars and Internet cafes. These venues mainly cater to traders in the northern regions of the country.

It was reported on July 13 that construction of North Korea’s first all-English language university was nearing completion. The Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, funded largely by ROK and U.S. Christian evangelical groups, will hold 2600 students and offer undergraduate and post-graduate degrees in business administration, information technology, and agriculture.

Local elections were held on 29 July for DPRK provincial, city, and country People’s Assemblies. 100 percent of 27,390 candidates were approved with a 99.82 percent turnout reported.


Gaeseong output boosts inter-Korean trade

Monday, July 30th, 2007

Korea Herald
Ko Kyoung-tae

Trade between South and North Korea expanded fast this year as South Korean manufacturers picked up investment and output at the Gaeseong Industrial Park, trade data showed yesterday.

The Korea International Trade Association said the inter-Korean trade rose to a record high $720 in the first half, up nearly 30 percent from a year earlier.

Imports from the North jumped over 60 percent to $390 million, while exports slightly declined to $330 million, according to the association.

The large leap in imports from North Korea largely resulted from the fast-growing manufacturing facilities in Gaeseong.

The two Koreas have traded around $190 million of products and machineries through the industrial complex in the first six months, up almost 80 percent from a year earlier.

The KITA officials expect the rising interests in the Gaeseong complex to further push up the cross-border investment and trade in the coming years.

South Korean conglomerate Hyundai Group built the manufacturing park in the North’s border city of Gaeseong in 2004 in a bid to attract South Korean manufacturers looking for cheap labor.

More than 20 South Korean companies currently employ around 11,000 North Korean workers.

Gaeseong’s output accounts for about one-third of the total inter-Korean commercial trade, the KITA noted.

Other regular trade also soared over 65 percent to $210 million as fishery and commodity imports grew in recent months.

In contrast, aid from South to North Korea remained stagnant.

Private cross-border aid dropped 15 percent to $140 million while government aid more than doubled to $20 million, the KITA noted.

The association estimated that 2007 inter-Korean trade would surpass $1.7 billion, four times that of 2000.


Inter-Korean Trade Jumps 28.6%

Thursday, July 26th, 2007

Korea Times
Jane Han

Inter-Korean trade rose 28.6 percent in the first half of 2007 from a year earlier, the country’s leading trade agency said Thursday, attributing the boost to the Gaeseong joint industrial complex and the eased tension between Seoul and Pyongyang.

Trade amounted to $720 million during the January-June period, the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) said.

While South’s exports to the North dropped 9.4 percent to $330 million, imports from the North jumped an impressive 63.3 percent to $390 million.

The trade group credited the big import leap to the expanded number of items produced in the industrial complex located at North Korea’s western border city.

But unlike the positive performance of the two-way trade, the Mt. Geumgang tour business has dropped 7.2 percent.

South Korean companies are currently employing about 15,000 North Korean workers in the Gaeseong complex and the number is expected to rise as the facility undergoes expansion.

Symbolic of the cooperation between the Cold War rivals, the industrial park began construction in June 2003 and its operation started the following year.


Inter-Korean trade up by 300%

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

Joong Ang Daily
Hwang Young-jin

graph.jpgTrade volume between North and South Koreas has increased more than threefold since the historical June 15 Declaration in 2000.

With an average increase of 24.3 percent, annually, the total amount will reach $1.7 billion by the end of the year, according to the report on inter-Korean Trade from the Korea International Trade Association, also known as KITA.

Annual trade volume in 2000 was $425 million, which increased to $1.3 billion last year. Trade volume so far this year until May has already reached $563 million, which is a 31.3 percent increase year-on-year.

Besides the overall growth, what is healthy about the trade quality is that commercial trade accounts for almost 70 percent of the total trade. That figure was below 60 in 2000, according to the report. Non-commercial trade refers to aid including items such as rice, clothing and fuel. In other words, they are products that were sent to North Korea free of charge.

“The success of the Kaesong Industrial Complex is the biggest reason [for the rise],” said Roh Sung-ho, head of the Inter-Korean trade support team at KITA. “We are accepting bids for additional space at the Kaesong complex, and three times more companies bid than there are lots available.”

With more and more companies establishing factories in Kaesong, more material is exported from the South, and more manufactured goods return, said Roh.

The value of goods leaving South Korea was higher than the value of goods returning. However, about 30 percent of those goods were aid and were given free of charge. When that is taken into account, the North made more money from its exports to the South than the South made in exports to the North.

This allows the North to record a profit in trade account books.

“The nuclear incident last year, didn’t affect inter-Korean trade. There might be minor falls, but I expect trade volume between the two Koreas to increase for the time being,” Roh said.


Outlook for Inter-Korean Business Bright

Wednesday, March 7th, 2007

Korea Times
Park Hyong-ki

The outlook for inter-Korean trade this year seems bright, as North Korea agreed to dismantle its nuclear weapons programs at the six-party talks in Beijing last month.

According to a survey conducted by the Korea International Trade Association (KITA), about 45 percent of South Korean companies doing business with North Korea were optimistic that the volume of inter-Korean trade will grow this year. The survey was conducted on 150 firms in February.

Some 35 percent believe that the bilateral trade will remain the same as last year’s, while only 15 percent showed negative responses toward this year’s trade, saying that the volume will “drastically” decrease.

Only two companies said they will pull out of North Korea this year, while five companies were undecided.

Last year, inter-Korean trade amounted to about $1.3 billion, up 28 percent from 2005. Key trading commodities were agricultural, chemical and textile products.

Despite North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests as well as chilly inter-Korean relations last year, South Korean companies operating in the Kaesong Industrial Complex saw their sales grow 69 percent to $298 million.

The Kaesong site is one of the major cross-border projects symbolizing economic ties between the two Koreas, which utilize North Korea’s cheap labor and South Korea’s technological skills.

The Ministry of Unification is hoping to attract about 2,000 manufacturers to Kaesong by 2012. Currently, there are 55 South Korean firms operating in the joint economic zone, which account for 22 percent of overall South-North business, according to the trade association.

The other joint business _ the Mt. Kumgang tour managed by Hyundai Asan _ suffered from the aftermath of North Korea’s nuclear weapon test. The tourism project recorded only $57 million in sales, down 35 percent from the year before.

Specifically, a total of 477 South Korean companies participated in inter-Korean trade last year, down from 523 firms in 2005, due to heightened risks following Pyongyang’s nuclear test.

About 44 percent of those surveyed said that the test had negatively affected their business with the North. The report showed that only 39 percent reaped a “little” profit last year while doing business with North Korea.

Half of firms upbeat for North trade
Joong Ang Daily

Almost half of South Korean companies doing business with North Korea said they have a bright outlook for inter-Korean trade this year due to expectations for better ties with the North, a poll said yesterday.

According to a survey of 67 companies conducted by the Korea International Trade Association, 45 percent of the respondents said inter-Korean trade will likely increase this year. Thirty-five percent expected trade to remain at the same level as last year while 15 percent said it will likely decline.

The poll also said 75 percent of local companies operating in the industrial park in the North’s border city of Kaesong had an optimistic outlook for trade. The industrial complex, mainly for smaller South Korean firms, is considered a model for reconciliation and cooperation between the two Koreas. Currently, 21 garment and other labor-intensive South Korean plants are operating there, employing about 11,000 low-paid North Korean workers.

The survey said among the firms that forecast inter-Korean trade to rise, 17 percent said their continued trust in North Korean firms was the reason for their upbeat outlook, while 16 percent and 14 percent said it was a rise in new orders and expectations for inter-Korean reconciliation. The survey was conducted before a deal on dismantling North Korea’s nuclear program was reached, reflecting that local firms have maintained a positive view toward inter-Korean trade. The agreement calls for Pyongyang to shut down and disable its main nuclear reactor and dismantle its atomic weapons program.