HONG KONG, May 1 (Yonhap) -- North Korea increased imports of vehicles and alcoholic beverages from Hong Kong in 2013, despite an overall drop in bilateral trade, a South Korean report showed Thursday.
The trade representative office for Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) in Hong Kong said Pyongyang spent US$4.36 million to buy vehicles, up 27.5 percent from the year before, a large number of them with over 3-liter engine and seating capacity for more than 10 people.
Cars were the second-largest single product imported by North Korea from Hong Kong after electronic components, the office said.
"The cars were made in other countries and shipped through Hong Kong," it said.
North Korean imports of alcoholic beverages shot up 51.3 percent last year from 2012, with whiskey and vodka making up the bulk of products shipped. Though liquor products only accounted for 1.4 percent of goods shipped from the former British colony to Pyongyang, its annual growth rate surpassed that of all others last year.
This trend continued into 2014, with North Korea's purchase of alcoholic beverages soaring 758.8 percent in January and February vis-a-vis the previous year, according to the KOTRA office.
The latest report showed that two-way trade dropped 57.2 percent on-year to $26.99 million, with Hong Kong's exports falling 53.7 percent. It said no crude oil, grain and fertilizers were shipped to the North.
Imports from North Korea nosedived 87.9 percent to $770,000.
The report showed that in the first two months of this year, Hong Kong's exports to North Korea was down 67.9 percent on-year, while imports fell 63 percent.
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