For companies exporting to the Republic of Korea, the following shipping documents are required to clear Korean Customs:
COMMERCIAL INVOICE: An original invoice and two copies must be presented with the shipping documents and must include total value, unit value, quantity, marks, product description and shipping from/to information.
CERTIFICATE OF ORIGIN: Prior to implementation of the KORUS FTA, a Certificate of Origin, in duplicate, was required for some products. Exporters are encouraged to discuss shipping document requirements with their respective importer.
Self-certification of origin by the producer or exporter is normally the basis for deciding that the good qualifies for preferential tariff rates. 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, including at least the following information:
Name and contact information for the certifying person
Harmonized System Tariff classification and description of the good
Information demonstrating that the good originates from the United States. This can be satisfied by either:
The producer’s written or electronic certification that the product meets KORUS FTA origin requirements; or
The producer’s or exporter’s knowledge that the good meets KORUS FTA origin requirements.
Date of the certification
In the case of a blanket certification, the period that the certification covers.
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 Click Here
PACKING LISTS: Two copies are required.
BILL OF LADING: A clean bill of lading identifying the name of the shipper, the name and address of the consignee, the name of the port of destination, description of the cargo, a price list of freight and insurance charges (CIF), and attestation of carrier’s acceptance on board for the goods is sufficient. There are no regulations pertaining to the form of the bill of lading nor the number of bills of lading required to clear customs. As bills of lading are for ocean and overland cargos, the airway bill of lading replaces the bill of lading for air cargo shipments.
MARITIME INSURANCE: Under the Incoterms (shipping terms) agreed to by the parties in a transaction, if the exporter is responsible for insurance, a marine insurance policy or insurance certificate is required.
IMPORT DECLARATION: An import declaration, normally prepared by the importer in Korean, is required to clear customs.
See example: Click Here
SPECIAL DOCUMENTATION: Information related to the need of special documentation for food and agricultural commodities, including sanitary-phytosanitary certificates and other agricultural documentation, can be found on the USDA/Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) website at: Click Here
An overview of Korean import requirements for food is contained in the FAS Korea annual agriculture export guide at: Click Here
Additional detailed information about import requirements and documentation needs for agricultural and food products (including biotechnology products) are included in the USDA import requirements report at: FAIRS Country Report Click Here
The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) provides information on maximum residue levels and import procedures on the MFDS website at Click Here
Current information on which U.S. livestock and poultry products are eligible for export to the Korean market can be found on the website of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (Click Here) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This website also provides guidance on the documents Korea requires for livestock product shipments destined for Korea.
Subject to special registrations and import approvals for categories like pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and cosmetics. The Government of Korea has stipulated requirements and procedures for importing certain products including registration, standards and safety, and efficacy testing to ensure the protection of public health and sanitation, national security, safety, and the environment. Typically, health or safety-related products, such as pharmaceuticals and medicines, require additional testing or certification by the relevant organizations before clearing Customs. In addition, special items defined by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) in its Annual Trade Plan require approval by the Minister. In most cases, the supplier’s qualified local agent completes the registration process
Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting Click Here.
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