North Korea's trade volume soared 22% in 2010 from a year earlier as the communist state boosted exports of minerals to earn hard currency and increased imports of fuels, mostly oil, a local trade agency said Friday.
North Korea's imports and exports, excluding those with South Korea, jumped 22.3% on-year to US$4.17 billion last year, according to the state-run Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA).
Pyongyang's trade deficit stood at $1.15 billion last year, with its exports rising 42.4% on-year to $1.51 billion, it said.
The finding was based on the analysis of annual trade reports filed by countries dealing with North Korea.
Pyongyang does not file any reports that might reveal the conditions of its reclusive nation.
China was North Korea's largest trading partner with bilateral trade coming to $3.47 billion last year, up 29% from a year earlier, according to the KOTRA , reported the S.Korean Yonhap news agency today.
The trade volume with China accounted for 83% of the North''s total trade with other countries, according to KOTRA. The comparable figure for 2009 was 78.5%. "North Korea''s trade volume with China is expected to further rise due to continued U.N. sanctions and the possibility of additional sanctions by the U.N.," an official from KOTRA said, asking not to be identified. The U.N. sanctions, which prohibit any significant transactions of materials with the communist nation, were imposed in 2008 by the U.N. Security Council shortly after the North conducted its second atomic detonation test. Russia came in second with $101 million worth of trade with the North, followed by Germany, India and Thailand, KOTRA said.