North Korea's biggest export by monetary value is coal, which is used by China. But second biggest, $752 million last year, a quarter of all North Korean exports – is clothing. And you could be wearing it.
Chinese traders buy clothes that say "Made in China" but are really made in North Korea. Reuters news service says the Chinese do it – this is rich in irony – because labor costs are cheaper. Chinese jobs would never return here but would migrate to some still-cheaper labor market. Like coal, North Korean clothes come into China through the border city of Dandong.
Reuters reports the clothes are then shipped to Europe, America, Canada, Russia, Japan, even South Korea. A trader told Reuters the retailer often does not know where the clothes really come from. U.N. economic sanctions do not include textiles.
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