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Data Questions: 

Where is this data from?

This chart is based on data from the ROK Customs Service. Inter-Korean trade holds a unique place in South Korean trade data; ROK government agencies do not consider inter-Korean trade as trade between two sovereign nations, and thus refer to “inbound” and “outbound’ transactions, rather than imports and exports.

What have been North Korea’s main exports to South Korea?

The main outputs at the Kaesong Industrial Complex, which has accounted for the largest proportion of inter-Korean trade in years past, have included textiles (mostly finished garments), shoes, semi-conductors, and car parts.

Outside of the KIC, prior to 2010 North Korea also exported garments to South Korea through processing-on-commission trade, in which South Korean firms would contract to send raw materials or intermediary goods (primarily textiles) to the North for value-added processing. North Korea also exported significant amounts of seafood to South Korea before 2010, particularly after Japan – once the primary market for North Korean seafood exports – began to sanction this trade in the mid-2000s. Additionally, North Korea has exported some mineral resources to South Korea, and from 2001 through 2010 South Korean firms invested in two mining projects in the North.