By law, alcoholic beverages imported into Korea must present a label, in Korean, with the following information:
Importers must obtain an import certificate prior to the importation of any alcoholic beverages. In order to complete this process, the import should follow the steps below:
The Korean Customs Service utilizes an electronically-based import clearance system, which allows the importer to complete declarations electronically up to five days prior to the arrival of a shipment by carrier or one day prior to a shipment arriving by air (this process is referred to as a “prior-entry import declaration”). The importer should file the import declaration in the Customs office located in the region where the shipment will arrive. The declaration form (stating the description of the goods, quantity, value, and other pertinent information) should include the documents mentioned in the Required Documents section of this file. Once the shipment has arrived, it should be stored at a bonded storage location meanwhile Customs verifies that the importer has completed all certifications (i.e. import certificate obtained from KFDA, see Licensing section above). Customs will then “accept” the declaration if all requirements have been met and grant the importer a certificate proving that the declaration has been accepted. Any applicable customs duties should be paid at this time, along with taxes or other tariffs required. The shipment may then be released from a bonded storage location and enter free circulation.
Please note that all imported foods and alcoholic beverages are subject to random inspections by the Korea Food & Drug Administration (KFDA) once they have entered Korean Customs.
Registration Requirement Under Korea’s Special Act on Imported Food Safety Management
Read the April 5, 2016 TTB Announcement, Registration Requirement Under Korea’s Special Act on Imported Food Safety Management, for more information about how to register with the Republic of Korea Ministry of Food & Drug Safety.
There are a number of taxes and tariffs that apply to liquor products sold in Korea. However, alcohol beverage tariffs apply only to imported beer and distilled spirits products. The import tariffs on wine was eliminated as of March 15, 2012 as part of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement. Although beer and distilled spirits are still subject to a conventional tariff, these tariffs rates are scheduled to reduce yearly and phase out completely. The beer tariff is scheduled to end in 2018 and tariffs on distilled spirits ends in 2016.
For the most current tariffs and taxes applied to imported products for this country, please visit the Online Tariff Database provided by Tariffic. Please ensure you have a 10-digit HS classification code in order to obtain tariff information. Also see the Census Bureau’s Schedule B search function (http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/schedules/b/index.html), which allows you to classify your product according to United States export codes. Simply click "Search" and enter the keyword (i.e. beer) that best describes your product.
Korean Customs Service
U.S. Office of Agricultural Affairs
The information in this guide was obtained from external sources, including the web sites of various governmental agencies and organizations, direct contact with those agencies and organizations, and from Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Attaché reports. Consequently, the accuracy of this information depends upon the accuracy of the sources.
TTB is not responsible for the content of external web sites.
Page last reviewed/updated: 04/13/2012.