Highest Value North Korean Export Products

Arch of Triumph, PyongYang

Arch of Triumph, PyongYang

Anthracite–a hard, shiny type of coal containing the highest carbon concentration–is the top seller within North Korea’s the highest value export product category in 2017.

North Korea is also known for its exports of metals including iron and lead, as well as clothing from coats and jackets to swimwear and T-shirts.

The following list shows which North Korean exports generated the most money in international sales during 2017. Unlike most information currently available on the web, the items below are detailed at the 4-digit tariff code level. These details can help entrepreneurs identify precisely which products in which North Korea has strong competitive advantages over other nations.

Highest Value North Korean Export Products

Below are the 20 highest value export products shipped from North Korea. Shown within brackets is the percentage change for each item from 2016 to 2017.

  1. Coal, solid fuels made from coal: US$403.6 million (down -66.1% since 2016)
  2. Men’s coats, jackets (not knit or crochet): $140 million (down -2.6%)
  3. Moluscs: $136.5 million (down -3.1%)
  4. Women’s coats, jackets (not knit or crochet): $129 million (up 3.9%)
  5. Men’s suits, trousers (not knit or crochet): $105.8 million (up 11.1%)
  6. Iron ores, concentrates: $103.4 million (up 38.6%)
  7. Miscellaneous nuts: $78.4 million (up 56.9%)
  8. Lead ores, concentrates: $74.6 million (up 21.2%)
  9. Women’s clothing (not knit or crochet): $61.4 million (down -0.2%)
  10. Pig iron: $33.1 million (up 27%)
  11. Tracksuits, swimwear (not knit or crochet): $32.3 million (up 13.2%)
  12. Electrical converters/power units: $26.4 million (up 30%)
  13. Natural magnesium carbonate: $24.6 million (down -14%)
  14. Iron ferroalloys: $23.2 million (up 25.5%)
  15. Crustaceans (including lobsters): $21.9 million (down -48.7%)
  16. T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet): $20 million (down -49.4%)
  17. Women’s clothing (knit or crochet): $14.2 million (up 22.1%)
  18. Natural graphite: $14 million (up 127.5%)
  19. Women’s shirts (not knit or crochet): $11.1 million (up 60.7%)
  20. Oil seeds: $11 million (up 25%)

North Korea’s fastest-growing exported good was natural graphite, up by 127.5% from 2016 to 2017.

In second place were unknit and non-crocheted women’s skirts via a 60.7% uptick.

Exports of miscellaneous nuts from North Korea appreciated by 56.9%, followed by the 38.6% gain for iron ores and concentrates.

Leading the decliners was North Korea’s most valuable export category, coal and related solid fuels which retreated -66.1%.

Overall, the value of North Korea’s exported products in 2017 fell by -36.7% year over year.

See also North Korea’s Top 10 Exports, North Korea’s Top Trading Partners and Capital Facts for Pyongyang, North Korea

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on June 13, 2018

The World Factbook, Field Listing: Exports and World Population, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on June 13, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on June 13, 2018