Inter-Korean trade falls more than 30%

According to Yonhap:

Inter-Korean trade has fallen more than 30 percent since the South cut almost all business relations with the North after Pyongyang was blamed for torpedoing one of its naval ships in late March, the customs office here said Friday.

According to data provided by the Korea Customs Service, the trade between the two Koreas came to US$123.06 million in June, down 32 percent from April, when they still kept their ordinary business relations despite a probe into the naval disaster.

South Korea’s exports to the North amounted to $56.88 million in June, down 27 percent from April, while imports decreased 36.5 percent to $66.18 million over the same period, the data showed.

Inter-Korean trade also dropped 21 percent from May, with its exports to and imports from the North falling 4 percent and 32 percent, respectively.

Despite such a sharp shrinkage, the customs office said the decline was not as steep as expected thanks to the Kaesong complex, which takes up most inter-Korean trade.

“The reason why the decline was not as sharp as expected is because we still keep a trade channel open in the Kaesong complex, which accounts for around 70 percent of total trade with the North,” a customs official said.

South Korea is the North’s second-largest trade partner after China. A suspension of inter-Korean business would cause a significant impact on the efforts of the reclusive communist nation to secure cash, according to experts.

Earlier, a state-run think tank here said inter-Korean trade suspension could cost North Korea about $280 million annually, adding to pressure on the North’s cash-strapped regime in governing its country.

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Inter-Korean trade falls more than 30 pct amid heightened tensions


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