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 — tops the list of highest value export products from North Korea in 2016.

North Korea is also known for its exports of metals, and clothing from T-shirts to hooded pullovers.

The following list shows which North Korean exports generated the most money in international sales during 2016. Unlike most information currently available on the web, the items below are detailed at the 4-digit tariff code level.

This level of granularity 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 in 2016. Shown within brackets is the percentage change for each item from 2009 to 2016.

  1. Coal, solid fuels made from coal: US$1.2 billion (up 354.2% since 2009)
  2. Men’s coats, jackets (not knit or crochet): $147.3 million (up 434.7%)
  3. Moluscs: $140.9 million (up 159.1%)
  4. Women’s coats, jackets (not knit or crochet): $128.6 million (up 261.4%)
  5. Men’s suits, trousers (not knit or crochet): $101.8 million (up 300.4%)
  6. Iron ores, concentrates: $74.6 million (down -23.6%)
  7. Women’s clothing (not knit or crochet): $66.6 million (up 184.5%)
  8. Lead ores, concentrates: $61.5 million (up 286.8%)
  9. Zinc ores, concentrates: $51 million (up 769.6%)
  10. Miscellaneous nuts: $49.9 million (up 217.3%)
  11. T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet): $43.8 million (up 2,179%)
  12. Crustaceans (including lobsters): $42.4 million (up 1,458%)
  13. Zinc (unwrought): $41 million (up 101.5%)
  14. Processed petroleum oils: $33.5 million (up 1.7%)
  15. Tracksuits, swimwear (not knit or crochet): $29.2 million (up 383.7%)
  16. Breaker vessels: $28.7 million (up 5,327%)
  17. Magnesite, magnesia: $28.6 million (up 11.4%)
  18. Pig iron: $26 million (down -29.7%)
  19. Electrical converters/power units: $24.2 million (up 195.6%)
  20. Copper ores, concentrates: $20.9 million (up 158.8%)

North Korea’s fastest-growing export was breaker vessels, up by 5,327% from 2009 to 2016.

In second place were knit or crochet T-shirts and vests via a 2,179% uptick.

Exports of lobsters and other crustaceans from North Korea appreciated by 1,458%, followed by a 769.6% gain for zinc ores and concentrates.

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 April 28, 2017

The World Factbook, Field Listing: Exports and World Population, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on April 28, 2017

Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on April 28, 2017