North Korea imports sanctioned items valued at over $300,000 from Russia in July
The shipments included electrical and industrial items covered by designated trade codes
Russian exports of sanctioned materials to North Korea increased sharply in July, Moscow’s trade data shows, with shipments of various types of machinery making their way across the border.
Although small exports of items covered by designated international (HS) trade codes sometimes trickle over to the DPRK, July numbers compiled by the ITC trade map show larger shipments valued at a combined $300,000 dollars.
The items were in numerous designated HS codes, including HS 84 and HS 85, wide-ranging trade classifications that include electrical machinery and industrial equipment which are covered by UN Resolution 2397 passed in December 2017.
“All Member States shall prohibit the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to the DPRK … of all industrial machinery (HS codes 84 and 85),” paragraph seven of the resolution reads.
Deeper analysis of the figures shows the exports consisted of electrical switches, electrical motors, cabinets for electrical control circuits, electromagnets and other smaller shipments of assorted electrical equipment.
All of the exports should technically be covered by the UN resolutions, which only provides an exception for replacement parts for North Korea’s aging fleet of commercial aircraft.
But according to the data, Russia also utilized that exception in July, shipping jet engines to North Korea which is covered by the trade code HS 84.
The most recent figures include an irregularly large export valued at around $800,000, which according to the ITC trade map was for “turbojets of a thrust > 25 kN,” though the number of engines was not included in the data.
It’s unclear for which aircraft the export is intended, though it’s not the first time Russia has exported items in the same HS code to North Korea.
In 2014, Russian trade figures show exports valued at $4.2 million of the same product, with North Korea also spending an additional $350,000 on “turbojets of a thrust > 132 KN.”
If the exports are intended for the DPRK’s fleet of commercial airliners, then they would be covered by the exception in Resolution 2397, which allows replacement parts for the commercial jets.
“This provision shall not apply with respect to the provision of spare parts needed to maintain the safe operation of DPRK commercial civilian passenger aircraft (currently consisting of the following aircraft models and types: An-24R/RV, An-148-100B, Il-18D, Il-62M, Tu-134B-3, Tu-154B, Tu-204-100B, and Tu-204-300),” Resolution 2397 reads.
But the aircraft engine exports were not the products in HS 84 shipped to North Korea in July, with Russia shipping other non-aircraft related spare parts to the DPRK valued at $45,000 and other industrial equipment worth $38,000 in the same month.
Russia also exported $4000 worth of ball bearings, possible dual-use items long-prohibited by the UN Security Council for their potential military applications.
Added to the list of possible infractions in July, Russia also exported iron and steel (HS 73) and aluminum (HS 76), both of which are also clearly covered by the wording of Resolution 2397.
“All Member States shall prohibit the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to the DPRK (of) … iron, steel, and other metals (HS codes 72 through 83),” the same paragraph of the resolution reads.
The aluminum exports were valued at a relatively large $132,000 and consisted of “doors, windows and their frames and thresholds for door, of aluminum,” while Russian exports of iron and steel screws, nuts and bolts were valued at $25,000.
Between them and not including the aircraft engine exports, North Korea imported items covered by sanctioned HS codes valued at $329,000 in July, one of the largest totals of designated items seen in official trade numbers since the implementation of Resolution 2397.
Edited by James Fretwell and Oliver Hotham
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