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N. Korea's trade surplus with EU hits new high
SEOUL, March 27 (Yonhap) -- North Korea enjoyed a record surplus in its trade with the European Union last year on the back of brisk export of natural resources and a steep decrease in imports, data released by the European Commission showed Tuesday.

   The North's trade surplus with the EU touched an all-time high of 81.2 million euros (US$108.5 million) in 2011, according to the data reported by U.S. broadcaster VOA.

   Pyongyang shipped a combined 121.8 million euros worth of goods to the EU in 2011, a 23.3 percent rise from a year earlier when it exported 99 million euros, while its imports in the same period dropped 40.3 percent to 40.6 million euros from 68 million euros.

   North Korea's gains from trade with the world's largest economic bloc surpassed the previous all-time high in 2010 by more than 2.6-fold. Back then, the North had posted 31 million euros in the black.

   Bilateral trade volume, however, slipped 3 percent to 162.4 million euros compared with 166 million euros from a year earlier, the VOA added.

   Natural resources and minerals accounted for 60 percent of all North Korean exports to the EU at 71 million euros. The figure for clothes was 23 million euros, while that of machinery and transportation equipment was 10 million euros.

   Imports consisted of machineries and transportation equipment, which took up the largest portion at 14 million euros, as well as other manufactured goods and agricultural products at 11 million euros and 7 million euros, respectively.

   Meanwhile, trade volume between South Korea and the EU reached 68.4 billion euros last year, nearly 421-fold higher compared with that between the communist North and the EU.

   yjkim8826@yna.co.kr
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