Created: 1/1/1968

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Intelligence Memorandum

North Korea's Foreign Trade


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Copy No. 1



CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY Directorate of Intelligence8


North Korea's Foreign Trade Summary

North Korea's foreign trade is oriented stronglv to other Communist countries. hese countries accounted forercent of total trade of5 million, and the USSR and Communist China in combination made upercent of the total. Almost one-half of North Korea's non-Communist trade with Free World countries was with Japan.

With the exception of trade in bulk commodities, almost all trade with the USSR and Communist China moves by overland transport routes. North Korean trade with other countries, including all Free World nations moves entirely by sea.

Bote: This memorandum was produced by CIA. It was prepared by the Office of Economic Research. This memorandumreliminary analyaie of north Korean trade data. ore detailed study will be publiehed on the completion of further analysie of trade and shipping data.

Overall Trade

North Korea's foreign trade, most of which Is with other Communist countries, has been of great Importance to the development of the economy. The value of North Korea's foreign trade6 was5 million, compared9 million Imports had consistently exceeded exports, until6 when North Korea achieved an export surplus with both the Free World and the Communist countries.

Exports, which have increased steadilyotaled6 millionn increase ofercent, and imports8eclineercent, as shown in the following tabulation:

Million US $

Total a/

Free World


ST Beaauae of rounding, components may not add to the total* shown.

Korea is dependent on importscoal, petroleum products,ide rangeand equipment, including complete Also, wheat and sugar havein recent years. North Korea'schiefly ferrous and nonferrous metals Other icportant exportrice, fish, and chemicals.

Trade with Communist Countries

ercent of Northas with other Communiot countries. has been relatively constant

The Soviet Union and Communist China, the principal trading partners, together accounted for about three-fourths of North Korea's total trade s in the past, machinery, equipment, and petroleum products accounted for about ono-half of North Korea's imports from the Soviet Union. The remaining imports from the Soviet Union consisted mostly of wheat, cotton, steel, chemicals, and wood products. North Korea's most important import from Communist China was coking coal, followed by minerals, ferrous metals, steel products, rubber, chemicals, cotton, and sugar. Imports from the Eastern European Communist countries consist mainly of machinery and equipment and chemical products.

Trade with the Pree World

5. North Korea's trade with the Free World has been expanding steadilyut ia still less than IS percent of total trade. Japan is North Korea's largest non-Communist trading partner, accounting for almost one-half of North Korea's trade with the Free World Japan is the major Free World customer for North Korean exports of ores and semimanufactures of iron, zinc, and lead. North Korea imports machinery, equipmont, and chemicals from Japan and Western Europe. Wheat in also imported from France, Greece, Australia, and Argentina.

Trace Routes

6. The largest share of North Korea's trade with the USSR and Communist China moves overland, although trade in bulk commodities such as ore and cement moves by sea. North Korean trade with all Pree World countries and with Communist countries other than the USSR and Communist China novas entirely by sea. Analysis of calls by merchant ships at North Korean ports7 reveals that Japanese ships madeercent of tho calls, Soviet shipsercent, Polish and Britishercont each, Greekercent, and an assortment of Free world and Communist ships the remainingercent.



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Original document.

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