Growth of N. Korean trade slows in 2012

SEOUL, May 29 (Yonhap) -- The growth of North Korea's exports and overall trade volume slowed down significantly last year, apparently due to international sanctions condemning its nuclear test and other provocations, Seoul's trade promotion agency said Wednesday.

According to the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, better known as KOTRA, North Korea's overall trade reached US$6.81 billion in 2012, growing 7.1 percent from a year earlier and reaching a record high since 1990 when such data began to be compiled.

The growth, however, marked a sharp slowdown from a 51.3 percent on-year hike in 2011.

"Such a significant slowdown of growth last year appears to have been caused by the fact that North Korea has only a limited number of export products and that sanctions by the international community continued," KOTRA said in a press release.

The North's overall exports gained 3.3 percent on-year to $2.88 billion with imports surging 10.2 percent to $3.93 billion.

Still, the North's trade relations with its communist ally China strengthened with the countries' bilateral trade reaching $6.01 billion, accounting for 88.3 percent of the North's overall trade in 2012.

<All rights reserved by Yonhap News Agency>