North Korea's Foreign Trade

38 North, 2015

6 Pages Posted: 29 Nov 2016

Date Written: October 22, 2015


Foreign trade is, like elsewhere and for obvious reasons, one of the key indicators of North Korea’s economy. However, since the state is notoriously reluctant to provide related figures, we have to rely on external sources to obtain this data. The South Korean Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) is one institution that has for many years collected data on trade with North Korea from Pyongyang’s trading partners. Through this approach, called reverse statistics, KOTRA is able to produce one of the few macroeconomic datasets on North Korea that deserves at least a minimal degree of trust, even though there is still ample room for discussion regarding its completeness. At the end of September 2015, KOTRA published the latest of its reports on North Korea’s trade, including data for 2014.

Keywords: North Korea

Suggested Citation

Frank, Ruediger, North Korea's Foreign Trade (October 22, 2015). 38 North, 2015, Available at SSRN:

Ruediger Frank (Contact Author)

University of Vienna ( email )

Spitalgasse 2, 2.3
Vienna, Vienna 1090

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