Scroll over the charts above for more detail.

Download the Excel file for full multi-year provincial import/export data.

Data Questions: 

Where is this data from?

This data is published by the General Administration of Customs of China. Data for exports from Heilongjiang province have been modified to reflect estimated Chinese crude oil exports to North Korea, which have not been reported since 2013. 

Full export and import data for Chinese provincial trade with North Korea, going back to 1998, is available for download in the chart above.

How reliable is this data?

As with any mirror merchandise trade statistics with North Korea, this data excludes trade in services, illicit activities, informal border trade, unreported aid, etc..., and is subject to errors or discrepancies on the part of reporting agencies.  Additionally, this data does not account for "cost, insurance, and freight" adjustments, which means that North Korea may be paying more than reported for its imports to cover shipping-related costs, and may be receiving less income than reported for its exports, as shipping-related costs paid by Chinese importers are incorporated into the prices reported in the data.

Which Chinese provinces are North Korea's main trading partners?

In most years, the two Chinese provinces bordering North Korea -- Jilin and Liaoning -- have been by far its biggest trading partners, accounting for the majority of North Korea's reported trade with China. Heilongjiang, also in Northeast China, is the source of China's crude oil exports to North Korea (via the Daqing oil field), but does not conduct a particularly large volume of other trade with North Korea. The remainder of North Korea's reported trade with China is mostly conducted with China's coastal provinces, with most of this trade presumably flowing between Chinese and North Korean ports; Shandong province has generally had the highest level of trade for a province outside of Northeast China.

Beginning in late 2017, reported exports from Guangdong province in southern China to North Korea began to increase dramatically, with Guangdong rapidly becoming North Korea's largest province-level trading partner according to Chinese Customs data. Although this shift coincides with the onset of wide-ranging UN sanctions on North Korea, the reason for this apparent development remains unclear.