Economic Sanctions and the Nuclear Issue: Lessons From North Korean Trade


On 38 North, Prof. Frank comments on the latest North Korean trade data in the context of the ongoing sanctions debate.

OnYou can read the full article in the following link. The key takeaways include:

  • On North Korean trade in 2016 has grown over 2015 (when it had dropped for the first time in 16 years), which is counterintuitive.
  • The trade deficit in 2016, and actually each year since Kim Jong-un has taken power, is below the average of 2005-2012.
  • We see no obvious effect of the closing of the Kaesong Industrial Zone on North Korean imports.
  • With cash reserves of just 2 billion US$, and at the current levels of price and usage, the North Korean government could procure oil for the next five years without exporting a singe item.
  • Only ten years ago, North Korea was able to exist comfortably with just one third of its current trade.