Inter-Korean trade jumps 36.1 percent in January-August period

Sohn Suk-joo

Inter-Korean trade surged 36.1 percent in the first eight months of this year, compared with the same period of a year earlier, the Unification Ministry said Thursday.

The two-way trade volume increased to US$1.05 billion in the January-August period, up from $775.52 million in 2006, thanks to brisk trade of fishery items and light industry products made at a joint industrial complex in the North Korean border city of Kaesong.

The industrial complex is the crowning achievement of a landmark summit between the leaders of the two Koreas in 2000. South Korean businesses use cheap North Korean labor to produce goods in Kaesong where some 26 South Korean factories employ about 15,000 North Korean workers.

“Inter-Korean commercial trade increased 37.1 percent to $809.71 million, while non-commercial trade rose 32.8 percent to $245.41 million during the same time span,” the ministry said in a statement.


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