Market Reports/Tariffs
Textiles, Apparel, Footwear and Travel Goods

Korea-South

Import Tariffs
Documentation/Procedures
Restrictions
Standards
Labeling
Intellectual Property Rights
Market Information

Last updated on 12/12/2012

If you have any questions about the following information, please contact Maria D'Andrea 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
HS Chapter/Subheading
Tariff Rate Range (%)
Yarn
-silk
5003-5006
2 - 8
-wool
5105-5110
0 - 8
-cotton
5204-5207
0 - 8
-other vegetable fiber
5306-5308
8
-man-made fiber
5401-5406/5501-5511
0 - 8
........................
Woven Fabric
-silk
5007
13
-wool
5111-5113
13
-cotton
5208-5212
10
-other vegetable fiber
5309-5311
2 - 8
-man-made fiber
5407-5408/5512-5516
8 - 10
........................
Knit Fabric
60
10
........................
Non Woven Fabric
5603
8
........................
Industrial Fabric
59
8 - 10
........................
Apparel
61-62
8 - 13
........................
Home Furnishings
including: bed, bath, kitchen linens, etc.
63
8 - 13
.................
Carpet

Footwear

Travel Goods
57

64

4202
10

8 - 13

8

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.

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.

For information on how to determine tariff rates, see the Export.gov webpage on Tariffs and Import Fees.

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Import Documentation/Procedures (Korea-South)

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.

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

The National Center for Standards and Certification Information (NCSCI) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the U.S. Department of Commerce provides information on U.S. and foreign standards, technical regulations, and conformity assessment procedures for non-agricultural products. NCSCI staff responds to requests for information by identifying relevant standards and regulations, and by referral to the appropriate standards-developers or private-sector organizations. Under copyright restrictions, NCSCI cannot provide copies of standards, but NCSCI does provide sources for accessing standards.

U.S. companies can register for the Notify U.S. service to learn about and comment on proposed changes to foreign standards, technical regulations, and conformity assessment procedures that may affect U.S. access to global markets.

Additional resources:

Examples of voluntary formaldehyde labeling programs

American Apparel and Footwear Association's Restricted Substances List

American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

International Organization for Standardization (ISO)


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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.
--Fiber content
--Country of manufacture
--Size (suggested)
--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.

For information on protecting your trademarks, patents and copyrights:

Export.gov --Protecting Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Abroad

StopFakes.gov


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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.

U.S. companies may contact the U.S. Commercial Service for information and personalized counseling at every step of the exporting process. Find a U.S. Export Assistance Centers near you or contact an international office.

Other sources for market information and data:

The U.S. Commercial Service Market Research Library contains more than 100,000 industry and country-specific market reports, authored by specialists working in overseas posts. Some market research reports are available only to U.S. companies and U.S. students/researchers that are registered with Export.gov. Available reports are listed below.

  • Republic of Korea: Apparel (10/2010)
OTEXA Export Market Report (U.S. export data for textiles, apparel, footwear and travel goods)

Export.gov Trade Data & Analysis webpage

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service

U.S. Department of State - U.S. Embassies, Consulates, and Diplomatic Missions and
U.S. Department of State Country Background Notes

U.S. Office of the Trade Representative

Local Industry and Trade Associations

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Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA)
U.S. Department of Commerce
Washington, DC 20230
Phone: (202) 482-5078  |  Fax: (202) 482-2331
OTEXA@trade.gov