Textiles, Apparel, Footwear and Travel Goods
Last updated on 12/12/2012
If you have any questions about the following information, please contact Maria D'Andrea-Yothers at the U.S. Department of Commerce- Office of Textiles and Apparel at 202-482-4058 or click here for e-mail access.
**The following information is provided only as a guide and should be confirmed with the proper authorities before embarking on any export activities.**
Import Tariffs - Korea-South
|On March 15, 2012, the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) entered into force. The agreement will eliminate tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade in goods and services, promote economic growth, and enhance trade between the two countries. The Agreement will provide reciprocal duty-free access immediately for most U.S. textile and apparel goods that meet the rules of origin requirements. See the OTEXA web page on the KORUS FTA.|
Most Korean tariffs are assessed on an ad valorem basis on the c.i.f. (cost, insurance and freight) value of the imported goods. Specific rates apply to some goods, while both ad valorem and specific rates apply to a few others. Korean ad valorem tariffs on textile and apparel products are shown in the table below.
Korea: Ad valorem tariffs on Textiles, Apparel, Footwear and Travel Goods
Tariff Rate Range (%)
2 - 8
0 - 8
1 - 8
|-other vegetable fiber|
1 - 8
|-other vegetable fiber|
2 - 8
8 - 10
|Non Woven Fabric|
8 - 10
8 - 13
|Home Furnishings |
including: bed, bath, kitchen linens, etc.
8 - 13
8 - 13
For more information on Korean tariffs, see the Current Situation of Schedules of WTO Members page on the World Trade Organization website or the Korean Customs Service - KCS website.
To obtain information about tariffs on individual U.S.-origin products exported to FTA member countries, you may use the FTA Tariff Tool.
Additional Import Taxes and Fees--Korea has a flat 10 percent VAT (value added tax) on all imports and domestically manufactured goods. The VAT is applied to the c.i.f. value plus all the other duties and taxes. A special excise tax of 1-20 percent is also levied on the import of certain luxury items and durable consumer goods.
Samples/Temporary Entry--Korea allows the temporary importation of commercial samples, professional equipment and certain advertising materials by a nonresident individual. Korea accepts the ATA Carnet, an international Customs document used to temporarily to import certain goods into a country without having to engage in the usual Customs formalities or paying duties or value-added taxes on the goods. For more detailed information about guidelines for temporary entry of items into Korea, visit the Korea Customs Service website.
ATA Carnet--An ATA Carnet or "Merchandise Passport" is a document that facilitates the temporary importation of products into foreign countries by eliminating tariffs and other import taxes or charges normally required at the time of importation. For more information or to apply for an ATA Carnet, see the United States Council for International Business website.
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Import Documentation/Procedures (Korea-South)
|An importer may claim preferential treatment under the KORUS FTA in order to receive the lower tariff by providing written or electronic certification to Korean Customs from the manufacturer, the exporter, or the importer. The manufacturer, exporter or importer is required to retain all documents (i.e., bill of materials, manufacturing process documentation, etc.) demonstrating that the good qualifies as a U.S.-origin good, for five years. A certification may be made for a single shipment or for multiple shipments of identical goods, for up to twelve months, by specifying this in the certification. The importer submits the certification to Korean Customs, in writing or electronically|
Please note that the U.S. exporter may be required to authenticate the Certificate of Origin at some later date by Korean Customs. Penalties will be incurred if documents are not provided to Korean Customs. To learn about what is required, please refer to Chapter 6 (Rules of Origin) of the KORUS FTA text (
For more information on local customs rules and regulations:
Korea Customs Service - KCS
|For information on common export documents, such as transportation documents, export compliance documents, certificates of origin, certificates for shipments of specific goods, temporary shipment documents, and other export-related documents, see the Export.gov webpage on Common Export Documents. |
For more information on import procedures and documentation requirements, see the Country Commercial Guides (CCG) in the U.S. Commercial Service Market Research Library (enter your country of interest in the "country" field, and enter "Country Commercial Guide (CCG)" in the "Report Type" field. Some market research reports are available only to U.S. companies and U.S. students/researchers that are registered with Export.gov.
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Import Restrictions (Korea-South)
|Imports for retail sale are banned in the case of spun silk and silk yarn. Fabrics with a content of silk less than 85 percent may be imported but only with a bank approval and with the approval of the Korean Export Import Association of Textiles, which has been delegated control of trade in silk products. See the Korea Post for a list of prohibited imports.
|U.S. Export Restrictions:|
The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in the U.S. Department of the Treasury administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions against targeted foreign countries, terrorists, and international narcotics traffickers and their agents in accordance with U.S. foreign policy and national security goals. The OFAC website includes summaries of sanctions programs for various countries and the “Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons” (SDNs) list of entities and individuals with whom U.S. persons may not conduct business and whose property must be blocked if under the control of a U.S. person.
The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) in the U.S. Department of Commerce is responsible for implementing and enforcing the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), which regulate the export and re-export of most commercial items. BIS maintains the Denied Persons List, which consists of individuals, and companies that have been denied export and re-export privileges by BIS, and the Entity List, which consists of foreign end users who pose an unacceptable risk of diverting U.S. exports and the technology they contain to alternate destinations for the development of weapons of mass destruction
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Standards - Korea-South
|The Korean Agency for Technology and Standards - KATS is the nation’s standardization agency. The Korean standardization system has a dual structure, consisting of technical regulations (mandatory standards) developed by ministries and government agencies, and voluntary standards set by KATS. The Korean Standards Association - KSA is the official distributor of Korean Industrial Standards (KS), which can be purchased through the Korean Standards Service Network - KSSN website.|
The Korean Certification mark ("KC" mark) is a compulsory certification market that must appear on textile products as specified in the Self Regulatory Safety Confirmation Act or the Safety Quality Mark Act of the Quality Control and Safety Management of Industrial Products Law.
Textile products for infants (under 36 months) and accessories for children are subject to the Self Regulatory Safety Confirmation Act. Manufacturers and importers of these products must have them tested by an authorized testing and inspection institution. The products must meet the corresponding standards to qualify for the KC Mark and to be imported or sold in Korea.
Textile products that come in contact with the skin, leather products and carpets fall under the Safety Quality Mark Act. In order to sell or import these products and to receive the KC Mark, the manufacturer or importer must indicate that the product meets the corresponding safety requirements. Although this is a self declaration of conformity from manufacturers or importers and it is not necessary to conduct testing, if the product does not meet the KC requirements during a Korea Consumer Agency sampling/investigation, then the manufacturer/importer can be penalized.
Textile footwear is covered under the Textile requirements, which is specified by infant, children, or adult. Leather footwear is covered under the Leather requirements.
KATS issues the "KC" mark for items that fall under its jurisdiction. For more information, see the KATS webpage on the “KC" mark.
Local standards organization and other resources:
Korean Agency for Technology and Standards - KATS
Korean Laboratory Accreditation Scheme - KOLAS
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Labeling - Korea-South
Textile products, apparel and apparel accessories, home textiles, leather goods, and shoes must be labeled with the required information to be cleared at the Customs. Country of origin should be marked in Korean or English as "Made in (country name)" or "Product of (country name)". All other requirements must be labeled in Korean.
Textile labeling requirements are covered in the Safety and Quality Labeling for Textile Products, Korean Agency for Technology Standards under Ministry of Knowledge Economy and include the following.
--Country of manufacture
--Manufactured date (suggested)
--Care instructions (see Korean symbol system in Korean Industrial Standard - KS K 0021)
--Name of manufacturer or importer
--Address and phone number of manufacturer or importer
See the Korean Customs Service webpage - Labeling System on Country of Origin. For imported fabrics, the country of origin marking must be affixed or permanently incorporated at both edges, or on the end of piece goods, or on the roller by weaving, leaf, printing, label or tag, or other permanent marking. Country of origin marking can alternatively be incorporated with other information sewn into the fabric edges. For wool or wool blend fabrics, the country or origin must be marked at least every two meters on the edges of the fabric bolt with fabric content and the name of the manufacturer or importer.
Korean language labels, except for country of origin markings that must be shown at the time of customs clearance, can be attached locally on products in the bonded area either before or after clearance. Country of origin labels may not be corrected in bonded areas; however, except for the country of origin marking, Korean-language labels may be attached after the goods have been imported.
Korea expanded mandatory biotechnology labeling requirements in 2007 for products that contain biotechnology cotton.
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Intellectual Property Rights - Korea-South
In Korea, a U.S. company can register their trademark and patents with the Korea Intellectual Property Office - KIPO. The trademark, design and patent registration system in Korea is based on “first-to-file,” or more accurately, first to successfully register with KIPO. All copyright responsibilities fall under the Director General at the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism - MCST. The Design Law provides protection for 15 years from registration and prohibits copying the shape of goods, such as textiles and clothing, produced by another person. The registered owner has the exclusive right to work a registered design commercially and industrially. The design registration system is based on substantive examination. Reportedly, examinations are accelerated for articles with short life-cycles, such as textiles and clothing.
See the Korea IPR toolkit on the STOPFAKES.gov website.
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Market Information - Korea-South
Government Procurement-- See Global Procurement Opportunities for U.S. exporters.
Government procurement is administered by the Public Procurement Service - PPS. Central government agencies must use the PPS to procure goods and services above W 100 million. Below that threshold individual government agencies can conduct their own purchasing directly. Defense-related procurement is conducted by the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).
The PPS manages and operates the Korea On-line E-Procurement System - KONEPS (Korean only), which is a single window for procurement, has digitalized the purchasing process, including registration, public notice, bidding, contracts, and payment. The procuring entity must publish information on bid opportunities in at least two sources: the daily newspaper Seoul Shinmun (daily newspaper) and the Korean Government Gazette. While these sources are published in the Korean language, any given tender announcement is accompanied by a summary in English.
The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA:is responsible for Korean defense procurement and was established to ensure transparency in the process. DAPA consolidates eight procurement and technology development organizations under the Ministry of National Defense (MND and various military services. Companies wanting to supply their products/systems to Korea’s military are required to register with DAPA; this is a 10-day process. U.S. defense industry equipment standards are accepted in Korea as most Korean defense systems are based on American standards.
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