South Korea flag South Korea: Buying and Selling

International convention and customs procedures of South Korea

International Conventions
Member of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
Member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Party to the Kyoto Protocol
Party to the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer
Party to the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls For Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies
International Economic Cooperation
South Korea is a member of the following international economic organisations: IMF, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), OECD, G-20, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (dialogue partner), ICC, WTO, among others. For the full list of economic and other international organisations in which participates South Korea click here. International organisation membership of South Korea is also outlined here.
Non Tariff Barriers
Approval or authorisation is required for the import of certain items. Such requirements are maintained for the protection of public morals, human health, hygiene and sanitation, animal and plant life, environmental conservation or essential security interests in compliance with domestic legislation requirements or international commitments.

Quantitative import restrictions exist on rice, petroleum, LPG (liquefied petroleum gas), agricultural fertilisers, crop seeds, animals and animal products, nuclear materials, narcotics, foods and food additives, foreign publications, firearms and explosives.
Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports
8% - Korea applies a customs tariff that is among the lowest in the world.
Customs Classification
Korea uses the harmonised systemby 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.
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).

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.

For Further Information
Korean Customs Office
Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy
Asia Trade Hub

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Latest Update: April 2024

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