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A View Through the Trade Window: North Korean Exports as an Indicator of Economic Capabilities

20 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2015  

Ran Jing

University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) - School of International Trade and Economics

Mary E. Lovely

Syracuse University - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 2015

Abstract

This study uses detailed information on Democratic People's Republic of Korea exports to assess the state of its indigenous industrial (civilian‐use) capability. The view through the trade window is sobering. We find that most North Korean exports reflect the capabilities of foreign investors and do not reflect the factor abundance of North Korea other than its mineral endowments. While some capability emerged in aquaculture and export processing, there is little evidence of indigenous manufacturing activity that meets international standards. Moreover, most trade is facilitated either at the border or through foreign companies or special cooperative programmes. This lack of domestic trading experience indicates a low capability for finding and serving foreign markets.

Suggested Citation

Jing, Ran and Lovely, Mary E., A View Through the Trade Window: North Korean Exports as an Indicator of Economic Capabilities (January 2015). The World Economy, Vol. 38, Issue 1, pp. 1-20, 2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2554801 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/twec.12254

Ran Jing (Contact Author)

University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) - School of International Trade and Economics ( email )

10 East Huixin Street
Chaouang District
Beijing, 100029
China

Mary E. Lovely

Syracuse University - Department of Economics ( email )

Syracuse, NY 13244-1020
United States

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