Customs in South Korea

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Customs Procedures

Import Procedures
The Korea Custom Service (KCS) has been operating a web-based clearance system ' UNI-PASS' since October 2005.
Import procedure is listed on the website of KCS.
Specific Import Procedures
For the goods listed below, an import declaration is exempted; when they are exempted from Customs duties or when their duty rate is 0%. A copy of B/L could be filed as a substitute.
However, if any of those items have any commercial value, an import declaration needs to be made;
-Diplomatic goods that are Customs-duty exempted,
-Goods brought in by a visiting foreign President, his/her accompanied family member and staff
-Dead bodies or bones
-Goods used for media such as films and record tapes that contain newspaper articles or news
-Documents produced by overseas Korean consulates to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
-Historic documents and paper
For more information visit the website of the Korean customs service.
Importing Samples
Korea allows temporary importation of commercial samples, professional equipment and certain advertising materials by a nonresident individual.
Korea accepts ATA carnet.

Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports

Average Customs Duty (Excluding Agricultural Products)
Korea applies a Customs tariff which is among the lowest in the world. It is 8% on average.

The WTO gives a sheet summarizing the Customs tariffs of the country.
For complete details of Customs duties by classification of the products, consult the Korean page on the APEC site .

Products Having a Higher Customs Tariff
Agricultural products, Seafood, Beverage (Wine, Spirit, etc), Tobacoo, Textile and Clothing.
Preferential Rates
They are granted to imports from the countries with which Korea has signed free trade agreements (Singapore, USA, Chile). Free trade agreements are under process with EU and Canada.
Customs Classification
Korea uses the harmonized system by the World Customs Organization, is used as a basis for Customs 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 payment of customs duties.
Import Taxes (Excluding Consumer Taxes)
Special excise from 10% to 20% which applies not only to luxury goods, but also to automobile vehicles and certain consumer goods. It is applied to the good's customs cleared value.
Liquor Tax differs from one product to another (115% for beer, 30% for fruit-based liquors, 72% for spirits).
Transportation tax: 15 to 20% on vehicles.
Educational tax of 30% which applies on the amount of the other special taxes.

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