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22 Feb – According to Seoul’s Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, two-way trade between North Korea and its largest ally, China, dropped 80.7 percent in 2020 in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.Last year, North Korea imported around $491.06 million in goods from China, while exporting its neighbor just $48 million in commodities and products, the Shenyang branch of the Seoul agency said, Seoul Pyongyang News published Monday.

Two-way exchange, representing a sharp decrease from the previous year, was around $539.06 million, the study said. In February 2020, trade activity fell dramatically, with two-way trade declining to $10.71 million in the immediate aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak that started in Wuhan, China. As part of its COVID-19 response in January 2020, North Korea shut down its 880-mile border with China, but trade levels recovered to $96.8 million in June, according to SP News.

North Korea exported raw materials like tungsten, ferroalloy—an iron alloy—and watch movements to China, a legal export that was one of the top exports of North Korea before the pandemic. According to SP News, North Korea exported $10.73 million of ferro-alloy, $6.79 million of watch movements, and $4.55 million of tungsten. Pyongyang has stated that its draconian tactics have paid off against the novel coronavirus and that the country has zero COVID-19 patients.

North Korea has also requested vaccines from the World Health Organization-managed COVAX Factory.The Unification Ministry of South Korea said Monday that the government is aware that North Korea “has been making efforts to secure vaccines through COVAX” and Seoul is taking an interest in “related trends,” Kukmin Ilbo said. UNICEF announced earlier this month that the U.N. In order to establish guidance for vaccine delivery, organizations are working with the North Korean Ministry of Health. North Korea, UNICEF has said, is also creating its own vaccination programme.

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