북한무역의 변동요인과 북한경제에 미치는 영향 (Determining Factors and the Effects of Trade on Economic Growth in North Korea)

170 Pages Posted: 4 May 2016

See all articles by Ho Yeol Lim

Ho Yeol Lim

Korea Institute for International Economic Policy

Jangho Choi

Korea Institute for International Economic Policy

Ho-Kyung Bang

Korea Institute for International Economic Policy

So Jeong Im

Korea Institute for International Economic Policy

Junyoung Kim

Korea Institute for International Economic Policy

Xianping Zhu

Jilin University-Lambton College (JULC)

Hualin Jin

Yanbian University

Eunlee Joung

Gyeongsang National University

Date Written: July 10, 2015

Abstract

Korean Abstract: 북한무역의 규모는 2008년 글로벌 금융위기 이후 서서히 확대되고 있으며, 김정은 집권 이후 미약하나마 경제여건도 점차 개선되고 있다. 그러나 통일시대를 준비하기 위해서는 북한 경제여건 변화의 근본원인을 파악하여 당면과제와 해결방안을 모색하는 것이 선결되어야 할 것이다. 이러한 견지에서 이 연구는 무역통계를 이용하여 북한무역의 변동요인을 살펴보고 무역과 경제성장 간의 관계를 규명하는 데 목적을 두었다. 북한무역을 UNCTAD의 Comtrade(1990~2013년)를 활용하여 연도별ㆍ산업별ㆍ용도별ㆍ지역별로 파악하고 무역변동을 활성화요인과 저해요인으로 나누어 점검하였으며, 이를 바탕으로 중력모형과 생산함수를 이용하여 무역과 경제성장 간의 상관관계를 분석하였다.

먼저 북한무역의 현황을 살펴보면, 무역규모가 증가추세를 보이고 있으나 철광석과 무연탄을 비롯한 1차 상품 비중이 높고 중국의존도가 심화되는 등 대외교역 환경에 취약한 구조를 가진 것으로 나타났다. 다음으로 북한무역의 변동요인을 분석해본 결과, 무역품목의 진입ㆍ퇴출 효과를 나타내는 외연적 요인보다 기존 품목의 물량 또는 가격효과를 반영한 내연적 요인에 의해 무역이 주로 변동하고 있으며, 내연적 요인에서도 가격보다는 물량 변화의 영향이 더 컸다. 북한무역의 활성화요인으로는 북한의 경제정책과 주변국의 대북정책을 점검하였다. 북한의 경제정책은 분권화, 외자 유치, 무역인프라 구축 등 세 가지 관점에서 살펴보았는데, 분권화의 경우 무역주체의 점진적인 확대와 무역 관련 법ㆍ제도 정비가 진행되고 있고, 외자 유치와 무역인프라 구축 측면에서는 동시다발적인 경제개발구 신설과 철도망 정비가 눈에 띄었다. 특히 2011년 말 김정은 집권 이후 북한이 무역활성화를 위한 정책적 노력을 기울임으로써 경제성장동력을 강화해가고 있음을 확인하였다. 주변국의 대북 경제정책에서는 중국의 경우 과거 특수관계에 근거하여 대북정책을 전개하면서 북한무역 활성화를 견인해왔으나, 근래 들어 북ㆍ중 관계가 특수관계와 정상관계가 혼재함에 따라 향후 북한무역 활성화에 계속 기여할 수 있을지 불투명해졌다. 러시아는 최근 북한과의 관계 강화로 향후 러시아 극동지역과 북한 나선특구를 포함한 북동부지역을 중심으로 경제협력을 촉진할 것으로 전망되고 있어 북ㆍ러 무역이 다각적으로 활성화될 여지가 있다. 반면 엄격한 대북 제재를 시행하고 있는 일본의 경우, 제재를 해제하지 않는 한 대북 무역재개는 없을 것이나, 일본의 제재가 대부분 북ㆍ중 무역으로 대체되어 북한무역에 결정적인 타격을 가하지 못한 것으로 평가되었다.

무역저해요인으로 북ㆍ중 관세장벽과 국제사회의 대북 경제제재의 영향을 점검한 결과 그 영향이 크지 않은 것으로 나타났다. 관세장벽의 경우, 중국의 총수입은 관세율과 음의 상관관계를 보인 반면, 대북 수입에서는 양의 상관관계를 보였다. 이는 북한의 대중 수출이 주로 저관세의 1차 상품 위주로 구성되어 중국의 관세제도가 그동안 대북 무역장벽으로 작용하지 않았기 때문인 것으로 보인다. 그러나 최근 교역품목의 변화로 북한의 대중 수출품 중 상대적으로 고관세 부과대상인 의류의 비중이 확대되면서 위탁가공무역, 인력파견을 통한 중국 현지 가공 등 관세회피를 위한 다양한 무역형태가 생겨나고 있음을 현지 조사를 통해 파악하였다. 국제사회의 대북 제재가 북한무역에 미치는 영향을 정량적으로 분석한 결과, 북한의 내연적 수출에 부정적 영향을 미쳐 제재효과가 일부 나타났으나, 북한이 수출품목을 다변화함으로써 수출품목 수의 변화에는 별다른 영향을 주지 못한 것으로 분석되었다.

마지막으로 중력모형을 활용하여 경제성장이 무역에 미친 직접적인 영향을 분석한 결과, 북한의 경제규모는 무역에 영향을 미치지 못하였으나 교역상대국의 경제규모는 북한무역에 양의 영향을 미친 것으로 나타났다. 중력모형 분석결과를 활용하여 북ㆍ중 무역규모를 예측해보면, 2015년 중국경제가 7.2% 성장할 경우 북ㆍ중 교역은 10.4% 확대될 것으로 예상되었다. 아울러 북ㆍ중 무역촉진지수를 도출해본 결과, 2013년 북ㆍ중 간 무역촉진지수는 정상적인 수준의 3배에 이르러 북ㆍ중 간 밀착관계가 심화되고 있는 것으로 나타났다. 한편 생산함수를 활용하여 북한무역이 경제성장에 미치는 간접적인 영향을 분석한 결과, 중간재 수입이 북한 GDP에 양의 영향을 미치는 것으로 나타나 북한이 자본재, 원료, 운송수단을 수입하여 생산기반을 확충하는 수입주도형 경제성장을 하고 있음을 밝혔다. 또 생산함수를 토대로 북한의 총요소생산성을 도출한 결과, 2010년 이후 북한의 생산성이 어느 정도 개선되고 있음을 알 수 있었다. 연구결과를 바탕으로 남북경협에 대한 시사점을 도출해보면, 먼저 북한은 교역환경 변화에 취약한 무역구조를 개선하기 위하여 생산성 높은 저임노동력을 활용하여 노동집약적인 2차 산업을 육성하여야 하며, 한국은 남ㆍ북ㆍ중, 남ㆍ북ㆍ러, 남ㆍ북ㆍ중ㆍ러의 다자협력을 통하여 북한의 경제개혁을 측면지원하여야 할 것이다. 다음으로 아시아인프라은행(AIIB) 창설을 계기로 동북아 인프라 구축에 대한 남ㆍ북ㆍ중ㆍ러 공동의 노력이 중요해지고 있으며, 개별 국가가 감당하기에는 벅찬 초국경 무역인프라를 인접국이 협력하여 투자의 효율성을 높이는 것도 중요하다. 또 점진적으로 개방을 추진하고 있는 북한에 대해 한국과 중국의 경제개발 경험과 발전모델을 전수하고, 국제법ㆍ무역 관련 계약 분야 전문가의 교류기회를 확대하여 북한의 경제개혁을 유도하는 것도 필요할 것이다. 아울러 북한무역 활성화를 위한 북한 스스로의 제도적 개선이 필요하다는 점도 제안하고자 한다.

English Abstract: North Korea’s trade amount has been gradually increasing since the global financial crisis of 2008, and its economic conditions are also improving after Kim Jong Un’s rise to power. However, in order to prepare for unification, we first need to understand the underlying causes for change in North Korea’s economic conditions so that we can explore challenges that await us and find solutions to them.

This study aims to investigate the factors regarding the fluctuations in North Korea’s trade and the relationship between trade and economic development by using North Korean trade data. Using UNCTAD Comtrade’s data ranging from 1990 to 2013, we analyzed North Korean trade by year, by industry, by application, and by region, and analyzed change in North Korean trade by dividing it into factors that facilitate trade and those that obstruct trade; and based on this analysis, we also analyzed the correlation between trade and economic development by using the gravity model and production function.

First of all, regarding the current state of North Korean trade, its volume is showing an increasing trend, but is highly concentrated in primary industrial products such as iron ore or anthracite coal, and highly dependent on China as its major trade partner and therefore is vulnerable to changes in external trade environment.

Through the analysis of the factors of change in North Korea’s trade, this study found that trade fluctuation can be explained primarily by internal margins (effect of changes in price and quantity) than by the external margins (effect of introduction of new items and exit of old items), and by quantity more so than the price within the internal margins.

We also analyzed changes in North Korea’s economic policy and neighboring countries’ North Korean policies as factors contributing to North Korea’s trade facilitation. The approach to North Korea’s economic policy was made in three aspects ? decentralization, foreign investment, and the establishment of trade infrastructure. Decentralization is implemented through gradual expansion of the number of trade entities and establishment of legal and institutional infrastructure related to trade. Foreign investment and establishment of trade infrastructure is being encouraged through concurrent designation of economic development zones and renovation of railroads. The year 2011 is noteworthy in that it indicates that after Kim Jong Un’s rise to power, North Korea is generating its own economic growth momentum through trade facilitation by internal efforts. Regarding neighboring countries’ economic policies for North Korea, although China has been the primary motive force in eliciting and facilitating North Korean trade based on its ‘special’ historical relationship with North Korea, current circumstances now influence China-North Korea relations just as much as the hsitoric legacy, which leads to the conclusion that it may be unclear whether China’s North Korea policy may continue to facilitate North Korea’s trade.

In case of Russia, due to recent strengthening of ties between Russia and North Korea, it seems that Russia will implement economic cooperation centered around the Russian Far East and North Korea’s Northeastern area including the Rason special economic zone, facilitating North Korea’s trade in diverse ways. As for Japan, which is constantly imposing strict sanctions, North Korea will not likely engage in any trade relationship unless Japan lifts the sanctions. However, most outcomes of Japan’s sanctions are already substituted by North Korea’s trade with China, meaning there will not be any new negative effects.

According to the analysis of the effect of tariff barriers in the North Korea-China trade and the international society’s sanctions against North Korea on North Korean trade as obstacles to trade, our results show that it is difficult to regard tariff barriers between North Korea and China as well as international sanctions as obstacles to North Korean trade. In case of tariff barriers, while China’s total imports were negatively correlated with tariff rates, China’s imports from North Korea had a positive correlation with tariff rates. This is because China’s tariff policy did not act as a trade barrier impacting the China-North Korea trade, and because most of North Korea’s export to China consist of primary industry goods which usually have low tariff rates.

However, we found through field research that recently, due to the increase in the share of North Korea’s clothing exports to China, which has comparatively high tariff rates, more diverse forms of trade emerged, such as consignment processing trade and China-based processing by sending North Korean labor into China. Our quantitative analysis on the effects of international sanctions on North Korean trade show that sanctions had a negative effect on its intensive margins of trade, but due to North Korea’s response, which involved diversifying the range and types of items, the sanction's impact on the number of items was negligible.

Lastly, by using the gravity model to analyze the direct effects of economic development on trade, we found that economic sizes of North Korea’s trading partners had a statistically significant impact on its trade. When we used the result of the gravity model to predict the scale of North Korea-China trade, we found that if China’s economy grew by 7.2% in 2015, there would be a 10.4% increase in trade between North Korea and China. In terms of trade facilitation index, the trade facilitation index for China-North Korea in 2013 was expected to be 3 times the normal level, indicating the intensification of their already close relationship.

Meanwhile, when we analyzed the indirect effects of trade on North Korea’s economic development using the production function, the result was that the import of intermediate goods had a statistically significant, positive effect on North Korea’s GDP, which implies that North Korea’s economy is import-driven, in addition to the expansion of the production base through importation of capital goods, raw materials and transportation. Based on the production function, we also derived the total factor productivity of North Korea which revealed an improving trend for North Korea’s productivity after 2010.

From our findings, we derived the following implications for inter-Korean economic cooperation. Firstly, North Korea must develop labor-intensive secondary industry by taking advantage of its productive and cheap labor force in order to improve its trade situation which is vulnerable to changes in the external trade environment. South Korea should indirectly support North Korea through a multilateral framework such as those involving the two Koreas and China, two Koreas and Russia, and finally, the two Koreas and Russia/China, respectively. Also, with the establishment of the AIIB, joint efforts involving both Koreas, China and Russia have become more important for the development of infrastructure in Northeast Asia; not to mention the increased importance of improving investment efficiency through cooperation on development of trade infrastructure among neighboring countries, which would be difficult for one single country to undertake on its own. It is also important to share South Korea’s and China’s economic development experiences and development model with the gradually reforming North Korea, and expand opportunities for programs for the exchange of experts on international law and trade-related contracts, which would induce economic reform. Moreover, we also would like to suggest that North Korea itself needs to work on improving its infrastructure for trade facilitation.

Note: Downloadable document is in Korean.

Keywords: 북한경제, 무역구조

Suggested Citation

Lim, Ho Yeol and Choi, Jangho and Bang, Ho-Kyung and Im, So Jeong and Kim, Junyoung and Zhu, Xianping and Jin, Hualin and Joung, Eunlee, 북한무역의 변동요인과 북한경제에 미치는 영향 (Determining Factors and the Effects of Trade on Economic Growth in North Korea) (July 10, 2015). KIEP Research Paper No. Policy Analysis-15-01. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2772530 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2772530

Ho Yeol Lim (Contact Author)

Korea Institute for International Economic Policy ( email )

[30147] Building C, Sejong National Research Compl
Seoul, 370
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Jangho Choi

Korea Institute for International Economic Policy ( email )

[30147] Building C, Sejong National Research Compl
Seoul, 370
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Ho-Kyung Bang

Korea Institute for International Economic Policy ( email )

[30147] Building C, Sejong National Research Compl
Seoul, 370
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

So Jeong Im

Korea Institute for International Economic Policy ( email )

[30147] Building C, Sejong National Research Compl
Seoul, 370
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Junyoung Kim

Korea Institute for International Economic Policy ( email )

[30147] Building C, Sejong National Research Compl
Seoul, 370
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Xianping Zhu

Jilin University-Lambton College (JULC) ( email )

Changchun, Jilin Province 130012
China

Hualin Jin

Yanbian University ( email )

Gongyuan Road 977
Yanji City, Jilin 133002
China

Eunlee Joung

Gyeongsang National University ( email )

Chinju City, South Kyongsang
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

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