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Customs Procedures

Import Procedures
The Korean Customs Service’s (KCS) is the official customs department of South Korea which works under the Ministry of Strategy and Finance. Importers can make an import declaration online using the Korean Customs Service’s Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) system for paperless import clearance. The KCS has been operating a web-based clearance system 'UNI-PASS' since October 2005. For more information, please see the Import Procedure listed on the website of the Korea Customs Service.

The following documents are required fro customs clearance procedure in South Korea:

  • Import declaration form
  • Commercial invoice: An original invoice and two copies must be presented with the shipping documents and must include total value, unit value, quantity, marks, product description and shipping from/to information.
  • Certificate of origin: A certificate of origin, in duplicate, is required for certain products. Exporters are encouraged to discuss specific document requirements with their respective importer.
  • Packing list
  • Bill of lading
  • A certificate of inspection
  • Maritime Insurance

It should also be noted a free-trade agreement between the European Union and South Korea has been in force since 2015 (after four years of provisional application).

Specific Import Procedures
The Government of Korea has established requirements and procedures for the import of certain products, including registration, standards and safety and efficacy testing to ensure the protection of public health and sanitation, national security, safety and the environment. In general, health or safety related products, such as pharmaceuticals and medicines, require further testing or certification by the relevant organisations before they are cleared through customs. Exporters of medical devices and pharmaceuticals must have their products registered with the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS). Imports of agricultural products generally must receive clearance from several agencies: the Korean Customs Service (KCS), MFDS, National Quarantine Office and the Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency.
Importing Samples
Korea allows temporary importation of commercial samples, professional equipment and certain advertising materials by nonresident individuals (more information is available here). The country accepts the ATA carnet.

To go further, check out our service Import Controls and Export Controls.

 

Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports

Customs threshold (from which tariffs are required)
KRW 150,000
Average Customs Duty (Excluding Agricultural Products)
8% - Korea applies a customs tariff that is among the lowest in the world.
Products Having a Higher Customs Tariff
Agricultural products, seafood, beverage (wine, spirit, etc), tobacco, textile and clothing.
Preferential Rates
They are granted to imports from the countries with which Korea has signed free trade agreements (e.g Singapore, USA, Chile). The EU-South Korea free trade agreement (FTA) had provisionally applied since July 2011 before it was formally ratified in December 2015.
Customs Classification
Korea uses the harmonised system by the World Customs Organisation as a basis for tariffs and for the collection of international trade statistics. Over 98% of the merchandise in international trade is classified in terms of the HS.
Method of Calculation of Duties
Ad Valorem on the CIF value of the imports.
Method of Payment of Customs Duties
Cash including check at either bank, post office or through online banking. ''UNI-PASS' is the 100% e-clearance portal system of the Korea Customs service which provides one-stop service, including customs duties payments.
For more information, click here.
Import Taxes (Excluding Consumer Taxes)
Korea has a flat 10 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on all imports and domestically-manufactured goods. A special excise tax of 10-20 percent is also levied on the importation of certain luxury items and durable consumer goods. Tariffs and taxes must be paid in Korean Won within 15 days after goods have cleared Customs.
Liquor Tax differs from one product to another (30% for fruit-based liquors, 72% for spirits). The Korean government implemented a volume-based liquor tax for beer on January 1, 2020. All beer will now be subject to 830.3 won (72 cent) per liter liquor tax.
 

List of tariffs and local taxes that apply to your product on our service Customs Duties and Local Taxes.

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Latest Update: June 2022