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 South Korea’s main exports to North Korea?

South Korea’s main exports to the Kaesong Industrial Complex, which has accounted for the largest proportion of inter-Korean trade in years past, have mostly been raw materials or intermediate goods, such as textile fabrics or unfinished garments. South Korea has also exported goods to Kaesong and to the Mt. Kumgang Tourism Zone to construct infrastructure and facilities.

Outside of these economic cooperation zones, prior to 2010 South Korean firms have similarly exported raw materials or intermediate goods (primarily textiles) for the processing-on-commission trade, in which South Korean firms would contract with North Korean partners for value-added processing. Under the Sunshine Policy (1998-2008) South Korea also sent significant amounts of food aid and fertilizer to the North.