More than 150 British companies are already doing business in South Korea and the South Korea-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is estimated to be worth over £500 million to British business each year
Sources: Bank of Korea, Bloomberg, GOV.UK
For more detailed information when trading with South Korea, download our South Korea Fact Sheet.
Read more detailed
information about South Korea
Gateways into the Country: 1
Number of Service Centres: 22
DHL Delivery Zone: 8
Vehicle Fleet: 426
|South Korea: Country Profile|
|Capital:||Seoul||EXPORTS FROM SOUTH KOREA|
|Population:||49 million||Exports from
|US$ 557.3 billion (2013 est.)|
|Area:||99,720 sq km||Export Commodities:||Semiconductors, wireless telecommunications equipment, motor vehicles, auto parts, computers, display, home appliances, wire telecommunication equipment, steel, ships, petrochemicals|
|Currency:||1 won (KRW) = 100 jeon||Top Export Destinations:||USA, China, Japan, Hong Kong, Russia, Germany|
|GDP:||US$ 1.666 trillion (2013 est.)||IMPORTS INTO SOUTH KOREA|
|Time Zones:||UTC+9:00; no daylight savings time observed||Imports into
|US$ 516.6 billion (2013 est.)|
|Languages:||Korean, English||Import Commodities:||Machinery, electronics and electronic equipment, oil, steel, optical instruments, transport equipment, organic chemicals, plastics|
|Ethnic Groups:||Homogeneous, exempting 20,000 Chinese||Top Import Origins:||USA, China, Germany, Hong Kong, UK, Japan, Italy, Taiwan|
|The times provided for
are based on the time
expected for Customs
in South Korea to clear
the shipment. This is
contingent upon the
value of the shipment.
|Destination||Non-Dutiable Shipment||Dutiable Shipment|
|Seoul||3 days||3 days|
|Busan||3 days||3 days|
|Gwangju||4 days||4 days|
|Ulsan||3 days||3 days|
|Sokcho||5 days||5 days|
The UK-South Korea Free Trade Agreement allows for a reduced or nil rate of duty for UK origin goods. For further information on what documentation you need to provide to support the claim for duty relief, visit hmrc.gov.uk.
E-commerce shipments (B2C) are declared as formal entry regardless of invoice value. De minimus clearance is not permitted. This includes articles of paper, printed books, apparel and clothing accessories, footwear, CDs/DVDs, furniture, lamps and lighting.
Korea Customs Service is very strict on undervalued shipments, vague descriptions (e.g. sample, spare parts) and inaccurate company name/address, all of which can result in additional delays and penalties.
General correspondence (business or private) is under strict Customs supervision to detect illegal goods concealed as document shipments.
Certain items, as specified below, are subject to quarantine inspection by South Korea’s Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency (QIA); approval by South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS); approval by South Korea’s Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW); or approval by South Korea’s National Radio Research Agency (RRA).
Formal import: subject to quarantine inspection by QIA; receiver must have import licence. Samples imported by licensed companies for private consumption: 1 bottle can be imported without quarantine inspection, though formal clearance is required. Receiver needs to pay liqueur tax regardless of invoice value. Total amount should not exceed US$ 400.
Animal products, including cosmetics with bovine components
Unprocessed: Subject to quarantine inspection by QIA. Shipper to provide quarantine inspection report on collection at country of origin. Bovine products: receiver to provide Certificate of Non-BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) Product from MFDS. Licensed importers: provide recommendation from related organisation.
Subject to quarantine inspection by QIA.
Artwork including drawings / proofs / layouts
Artwork including drawings: ship as goods. Artwork including proof/layout: ship as documents.
Biological Substance Category B, UN3373
Adhere to the International Transport Association’s (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulations.
Circuits & circuit boards, communications & telecommunications equipment, computer components & parts, electronic equipment including MP3 players, printers & IT equipment, phones / modems and radios including radio equipment/parts
RRA certification required. Certain items will require certification by South Korea’s Law of Electrical Appliance Safety Management or Law of Electrical Communications Apparatus; contact DHL Customer Services before shipping for more information.
Consumable finished goods including footwear, clothes and bags
If value exceeds US $100: state trademark/brand name on the invoice.
Drugs: prescription & non-prescription
Health products and vitamins: 6 bottles permitted per Waybill. Other drug products: provide component analysis table. Attach additional prescription for personal use. All importers other than individuals should be licenced and receive import approval from MFDS or MOHW.
Subject to quarantine inspection by QIA, unless canned or tinned. If value exceeds US$ 150: provide Certificate of Origin. Jerky: Certificate of Origin required regardless of value.
Non-hazardous chemicals & liquids, oil products including bunker oil samples (for analysis) and substances containing sodium/calcium cyclamate
Provide component analysis table. Adhere to the International Transport Association’s (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulations.
Magazines, periodicals, journals, newspapers
If free of charge and not for resale purpose: send as documents.
Acceptable only for military bases or military officers.
Photographs, including photographs as part of business reports
Ship as goods regardless of use or purpose.
Plants & plant products
Subject to quarantine inspection by QIA. Soil must be completely removed, or the shipment will be destroyed (charge: US$ 90) or returned to origin. Contact DHL Customer Services before shipping to ensure the plants are not restricted..
Seeds, including cotton seed
Subject to quarantine inspection by QIA. Seeds for cultivation purposes: provide original phytosanitary certificate from country of origin
Ship spares for ships in transit
Show full description, quantity and name of vessel on invoice. Penalties may be incurred if manifest is unclear.
Subject to quarantine inspection by QIA.
For medication from China, perishables and x-ray machines please contact DHL Customs Services before shipping.