China July trade with North Korea slows from June as coal ban bites
BEIJING: 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 isolated neighbor slowed imports amid growing pressure from the United States to rein in Pyongyang's missile program.
The world's second-largest economy imported and exported goods worth $456.16 million in July, down from $489 million in June, according to data from China's General Administration of Customs.
It was up from $426.1 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 indicates that China's move to halt North Korean coal imports in February has crimped Pyongyang's ability to raise hard currency through exports.
China's imports from North Korea were $156.3 million, down 3 percent from last month and a third lower than a year ago, based on data on customs website. For January-July, imports were $1.04 billion, down 16.3 percent.
Exports were $299.85 million, down from $326.85 million in June, but up from $194 million in July last year. Year-to-date, they were up a third at $1.97 billion.
On August 6, the United Nations Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea banning exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood, in a bid to choke off a third of Pyongyang's $3 billion in annual export revenue.
The crackdown on major commodity exports was aimed as punishment for intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests in July and is due to take effect in early September.
Last week, Beijing issued an official ban on the imports effective from August 15 as it moved to implement the sanctions.