Economy, Foreign Trade
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, special economic zone, major imports, economic systems, Special Administrative Region
The bulk of North Korea’s foreign trade through the 1970s was with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), China, and other Communist countries. Since then, however, trade has been diversified to include non-Communist countries, notably Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Australia. Hong Kong, a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China, is also an important trading partner. Minerals, metals, rice, and fish constitute the principal exports (worth about $2.4 billion in the late 1980s). Petroleum, coal, chemicals, and machinery are major imports ($3.1 billion).
In 2002 the government of North Korea announced the establishment of a special economic zone in the northwestern city of Sinuiju, near the border with China and linked by rail to Beijing. The zone will operate autonomously with its own legal and economic systems, allowing free-market principles that promote foreign investment and trade. Its creation marked the most significant reversal of economic policy in North Korea since 1948.
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