China’s trade with North Korea declines in July

Source:Reuters-Global Times Published: 2017/8/23 22:03:39

Sanctions seen affecting coal, iron trade

China's trade with North Korea fell in July from a month earlier, data showed on Wednesday, as a ban on coal purchases from its neighbor slowed imports following sanctions from the UN Security Council aimed at reining in North Korea's missile and nuclear program.

The world's second-largest economy imported and exported goods worth $456 million in July, down from $489 million in June, according to data from China's General Administration of Customs.

It was up from $426 million in July last year, according to data on the customs website. Year-to-date, trade was up 10.2 percent at $3.01 billion.

The data shows China's move to halt North Korean coal imports in February has crimped the latter's ability to raise hard currency.

Iron ore arrivals from North Korea in July also sank to their weakest since February, while China's gasoline exports to North Korea hit their lowest since January 2016.

China's imports from North Korea were $156 million, down 3 percent from last month and one-third lower than a year ago, based on data on the customs website. For January-July, imports were $1.04 billion, down 16.3 percent.

Exports were $300 million, down from $327 million in June, but up from $194 million in July 2016.

On August 6, the UN Security Council imposed new sanctions on North Korea banning exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood, in a bid to choke off one-third of the country's $3 billion in annual export revenue.

The crackdown on major commodity exports was aimed as punishment for intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July and is due to take effect in early September.

Last week, China issued a ban on the imports effective from August 15 as it moved to implement the sanctions.

Sources told Reuters China was also pressuring domestic iron ore traders to stop buying the commodity from North Korea, tightening the screws on the country even before sanctions kick in.

The data comes after State-owned China National Petroleum Corp suspended sales of fuel to North Korea in June over concerns it wouldn't get paid, cutting off crucial supplies. The suspension is still in place.

On Tuesday, the US imposed new sanctions on Chinese and Russian firms and individuals for allegedly supporting North Korea's weapons programs.

The Chinese foreign ministry on Wednesday said that China opposes such "unilateral" actions from the US and called on the US to correct the "wrong actions."


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