North Korea’s imported items diversify… Market import prices also fell sharply

Fruits believed to be from China stand out at street vendors near Hyesan, Yanggang Province. /Photo = Kang Dong-wan, professor at Dong-A University

As North Korea’s trade volume has expanded recently, it is known that the number of imported items has also diversified compared to last year. In the meantime, the price of imported goods sold in the market has also been found to be falling.

According to Daily NK North Korea sources on the 29th, the items North Korean traders are requesting from Chinese counterparts (traders) have recently diversified.

Until last year, grains such as rice and flour, foodstuffs such as seasonings and soybean paste, construction materials such as aluminum window frames, tiles, and wood, and medicines were mainly imported. explanation.

A large North Korean trading company with a branch office in Sinuiju has recently sold not only regular seasonings such as soybean paste, red pepper paste, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, soybean oil, and seasonings, but also shellfish broth, dried bonito powder, meat broth powder, and sugar cane sugar (red soup). Food, which is relatively high-end food ingredient, such as ginger powder, is also being imported in large quantities.

It is reported that the items imported by North Korean trading companies include not only plums and apricots produced in China, but also fruits imported from third countries, such as green grapes, peaches, mangoes, and oranges.

In addition, imports of various kinds of sweets, such as popcorn and fried rice, and fruit drinks have recently increased, the source added.

In the midst of this, as the supply of imported goods in North Korea expanded, the price of imported goods in the market was found to have fallen noticeably.

According to Dong-A Ilbo’s research, 1 kg of Chinese soybean oil is currently being traded at 16,000 North Korean won in the Sinuiju market.

Until the second and third quarters of last year, the price of 1 kg of soybean oil from China soared to 30,000 won in the North Korean market, and in November last year, 1 kg of soybean oil from China was sold for 23,000 won in a market in Pyongyang. In comparison, the price has gone down significantly.

In addition, the price of electronic products has also fallen significantly. The notebook computer T400 model released by Lenovo sold for $210 last year, but is said to be available for $130 now. Although the T400 is an older model that has been on the market for 10 years, it is said that it is still imported from China and sold in North Korea.

The price of resin windows, a building material, soared to 60 dollars per square last year, but is known to have fallen sharply to 16 dollars now as imports increased. However, the price is still high compared to before the corona, when it could be purchased for 7 to 8 dollars.

According to China’s General Administration of Customs (Customs) data released on the 18th, North Korea imported goods worth 305.2 million dollars (approximately 393.5 billion won) from China in January and February this year. This is a 158% increase from the same period last year and a 17% increase from 2019, before the borders were closed due to Corona.

On the other hand, exports have not recovered to pre-corona levels. In fact, North Korea’s exports in January and February of this year were $26.88 million (about 35.2 billion won), up 35% from last year, but decreased by 29% from 2019.

However, since there are not a few cases in which North Korean organizations and individuals export and import items subject to sanctions against North Korea, such as coal and oil, through informal trade, North Korea’s trade volume is expected to be greater than the official statistics announced by China, if the scale of such unofficial trade is included. do.

Source: DailyNK by

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