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

Korea-South

Import Tariffs
Documentation/Procedures
Restrictions
Standards
Labeling
Market Information

Last updated on 08/16/2017

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
HS Chapter/Subheading
Tariff Rate Range (%)
Yarn
-silk
5003-5006
2 - 8
-wool
5105-5110
0 - 8
-cotton
5204-5207
1 - 8
-other vegetable fiber
5306-5308
8
-man-made fiber
5401-5406/5501-5511
1 - 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 Korean Customs Service - KCS website or the Current Situation of Schedules of WTO Members page on the World Trade Organization website.

To obtain tariff information for U.S. products exported Korea under the KORUS FTA, see 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.

If your product is primarily made in the U.S. of U.S. originating components it may qualify for duty-free entry into countries with which the U.S. has a free trade agreement (FTA). The U.S. currently has FTAs with the following countries: Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Jordan, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, Oman, Panama, Peru, Singapore and South Korea. See the FTA Tariff Tool, to determine the duty-free status or reduced duties that apply to products eligible under these free trade agreements.

Additional resources for tariff information:

Return to Top

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 country-specific information on import procedures and documentation requirements, see the
Country Commercial Guides (CCG) on the export.gov website.

Return to Top

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

Return to Top

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).

KC mark--The Korean Certification mark (KC mark) is a compulsory certification mark indicating compliance with mandatory requirements. The KC mark must appear on textile/apparel items (including footwear and leather products) to be imported or sold in Korea, as specified in relevant regulations. KATS issues the KC mark for items that fall under its jurisdiction. For more information, see the KATS webpage on the KC mark.

All infant and children’s textile and leather products are regulated under the Special Act on Safety Management of Children’s Products and are subject to common safety standards for children's products.

Textile products for infants--Under the Special Act on Safety Management of Children’s Products – Enactment of Common Safety Standards of Children’s Products and Safety Confirmation Act Annex 1 (Textile Products for Infants), products must be tested and certified by local authorized Korean testing and inspection institutions and a KC mark must be attached on the products before distribution to the Korean market. Product coverage includes outerwear, innerwear, sleeping gear, shoes, socks, gloves, headgear, bags and baby goods.

Infant and children’s leather products and children’s textile products—Under the Special Act on Safety Management of Children’s Products – Enactment of Common Safety Standards of Children’s Products and Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity Act Annex 1 (Leather Products) and Annex 15 (Textile Products), the manufacturer/importer provides a self-declaration of conformity to corresponding safety requirements in order to receive the KC mark and to sell or import these products. Product scope for infant leather products includes outerwear, innerwear, sleeping gear, shoes, socks, gloves, headgear, bags and baby goods. Product coverage includes innerwear and midwear with direct skin contact, outerwear without direct skin contact, bedding, etc.

Textile and leather products designated for ages over 13 years--Under the Quality Control and Safety Management of Industrial Products Law – Safety Quality Labeling Act Annex 1 (Household Textile Products) and Annex 3 (Leather Products), the manufacturer/importer provides a self-declaration of conformity to corresponding safety requirements in order to receive the KC mark and to sell or import these products. Product coverage includes innerwear and midwear with direct skin contact, outerwear without direct skin contact and bedding and carpets.

Textile material used in leather products, including textile footwear, must comply with applicable safety requirements of restricted substances specified in the Safety Quality Labeling Act Annex 1 – (Household textile products) and Self-Regulatory Safety Confirmation Annex 4 for Infant textile products. For shoes, the safety requirements of restricted substances are applicable to the uppers, lining and insoles in case of children and adults products, and to all parts of products in case of infant products.

Depending on the product, testing or restrictions may include:
  • Formaldehyde (textiles-KS K ISO 14184-1 / ISO 14184-1, leather-KS M ISO 17226-1)
  • Organotin compounds (KS K 0737)
  • Azo dye
  • Phthalates (Self-Regulatory Safety Confirmation Standard Annex 35)
  • Flame retardants (PentaBDE, OctaBDE: KS C IEC 62321; TDBPP: Self-Regulatory Safety Confirmation Standard Annex 4)
  • Dimethyl Fumarate (Self-Regulatory Safety Confirmation Standard Annex 4)
  • Total lead (Self-Regulatory Safety Confirmation Standard Annex 35.A)
  • Total Cadmium
  • Cords and drawstrings (infant and children's products)
  • Small parts (infant's products)
  • Magnets (infant and children's products)
  • Sharp points/sharp edge (infant and children's products)
  • Allergenous disperse dye (KS K 0736)
  • pH value (ISO 3017)
  • Pentachlorophenol-PCP (KS K 0733)
  • Chromium VI (KS M 6902 / KS M ISO 17075)
  • Arylamines (leather products) (KS K 0147 / KS K 0734 / EN 14362-1 / EN 14362-2)
  • Nickel release (Safety standard of self-regulatory safety confirmation 35.B)
Other textile related standards:
  • Flame Retardancy for carpets and curtains under the Enforcement Decree of the Fire Service Facilities Installation, Maintenance and Safety Management Act by the National Security Agency (Central Fire Department)
  • Safety devices and protective equipment safety certification for safety gloves under the Enforcement Decree of the Industrial Safety and Health Act by the Ministry of Employment and Labor
  • Applied KC mark for textile cover goods for textile cover munitions under the Enforcement Regulations of the Defense Business Act by the Defense Business Agency

Local standards organization and other resources:


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.


Notify U.S. - Member countries of the World Trade Organization (WTO) are required under the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Agreement) to report to the WTO all proposed technical regulations that could affect trade with other Member countries. Notify U.S. is a free, web-based e-mail subscription service that offers U.S. companies an opportunity to review and comment on proposed foreign technical regulations that may affect their access to international markets.

Additional resources:

Examples of voluntary formaldehyde labeling programs

American Apparel and Footwear Association's Restricted Substances List

American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

ASTM International

International Organization for Standardization (ISO)


Return to Top


Labeling - Korea-South

Under the Safety and Quality Labeling Requirement, textile and leather products imported into Korea should be labelled with the KC mark and required information written in Korean. Labels should be permanently attached on the products.

Labeling information for textile products include:

  • Fiber content
  • Country of origin
  • Size (suggested)
  • Manufactured date/lot number/style number/barcode, etc. for traceability of product
  • Care instructions (see Korean symbol system in Korean Industrial Standard - KS K 0021)
  • Name of manufacturer or importer
  • Address and phone number of the seller
Labeling information for leather products include:
  • Product name
  • Types of materials
  • Size
  • Production date
  • Name of manufacturer
  • Name of importer (for imported products)
  • Address and telephone Number of the certifier
  • Country of origin
  • Care instructions
See the Korean Customs Service webpage - Labeling System on Country of Origin.

Various warning statements also may be required, as follows:
  • Warning regarding “Small Part” in textile and leather products for infants or children
  • Warning regarding rust and contact with skin related to metal accessories
  • Warning regarding flammability
  • Warning regarding soft or foamed synthetic resin shoes for infants or children
  • Warning regarding phthalates in children’s products

Return to Top


Market Information - Korea-South


No specific information is available.




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.

For information on protecting trademarks, designs, patents and copyrights, see the STOPFAKES.GOV website. STOPFAKES.GOV is dedicated to helping U.S. companies protect their innovations and safely market their products at home and overseas. Find guidance and resources on how to register your company's intellectual property and protect it from counterfeiting and piracy. Also find IPR toolkits for select countries, as well as other country-specific information.

For information on selling to foreign governments, see the Global Procurement Opportunities website.

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.

  • The U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement:
Opportunities for the U.S. Consumer Goods Sector (05/29/2012)
  • The U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement:
Opportunities for the U.S. Footwear and Travel Goods Sector (05/29/2012)
  • The U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement:
Opportunities for the U.S. Textiles and Apparel Sector (05/29/2012)

OTEXA Export Market Report (U.S. export data for textiles, apparel, footwear and travel goods)

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service

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

U.S. Office of the Trade Representative

Local Industry and Trade Associations


Return to Top