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Check marking of origin of imports

The Country of Origin means the Nationality of the Goods.

  • The country of origin refers to the country where the goods are extracted, produced, manufactured, or processed, and is different from a country of capital investment, a country providing technology, or a country owning the trademark.
  • In general, the country of origin is a country with a political entity, but can refer to a region which is not an independent country*.

Special zones with an independent customs territory or autonomy, such as Hong Kong, Macao, Guam, and Samoa Islands may be a country of origin. However, regional or economic alliances, such as the EU, NAFTA, and ASEAN, are not recognized as countries of origin (Article 8 of the Notification on Operation of the Country of Origin Scheme).

Check whether marking of the country of origin is required and how to mark the country of origin

  • Goods subject to the description of the country of origin and the marking methods are as follows:
    Goods subject to description of the country of origin and the marking methods are as follows:
    Goods Subject to Marking of the Country of Origin Marking Methods
    • Imports listed on the Annex 8 of the Decree of Foreign Trade Management
    • About 55 percent of all imports - 674 out of 1,224 items in the four-digit HS Code (501 industrial products and 173 agricultural and fishery products)
    • Choose one of the following ways to mark the country of origin on the goods in Korean (including with Chinese characters) or English:
      • "Country of origin (in Korean, 원산지): country name (in Korean)“, " country name (in Korean) produced (in Chinese character, 産)”, “Made in country name”, “Product of country name”, “Made by the name, address and nationality of the manufacturer” or “Country of Origin : country name”.
    • Put it in a legible font for end buyers in a place which can be easily located in the process of normal purchase and
    • Use printing, copying, branding, molding, etching, back-stitching and other similar methods.
  • Determining country of origin is divided into 'a good wholly obtained criteria' and 'substantial transformation criteria'
    There are complete production standard and real modified standard in the criteria for judgment of origin.
    Wholly Obtained Criteria Substantial Transformation Criteria
    • Where the import goods are wholly extracted or produced in one country
    • Where the country of production is the country of origin:
      • Agricultural products, mineral products or fish catch in most cases
    • Where at least two countries are involved in the production, manufacturing and processing of the import goods
    • The country where "substantial transformation" took place is recognized as the country of origin
      • The change in tariff heading method
      • The country where only simple processing is performed is not recognized as a country of origin.
        * Article 85 and Annex 9 of the Decree on Foreign Trade Management

Violations in Marking the Country of Origin and Sanctions against them are as Follows:

  • Violations in marking the country of origin (in clearance and distribution)
    • False descriptions of the country of origin or descriptions that can mislead end buyers
    • Damaging or changing descriptions of the country of origin
    • Failing to mark the country of origin and
    • Any violation of the methods of description of the country of origin under the Foreign Trade Act.
  • Sanctions
    Substantial Transformation Criteria
    Phases Sanctions Description
    Clearance Restriction on Clearance and Corrective Order
    • In case of one of the above-mentioned types of violations in marking the country of origin

      For a minor violation, clearance is granted after correction is made.

    Distribution Order for Carry-in to the Bonded Area
    • Where no longer than 3 months have passed from the date of acceptance of the import declaration and,
      • Constitutes one of the above-mentioned types of violations in marking the country of origin; or
      • Has a description of the country of origin different from the one at the time of acceptance of the import declaration

        The release is permitted after corrective measures are taken.

    Clearance and Distribution Surcharge (Up to KRW 300 million)
    과징금 부과 내용
    Types of Violation 1st Violation 2st Violation 3st Violation
    Falsification, damage and change in marking
    • (Clearance) Corrective Order
    • (Distribution)
      • Unsold goods : Corrective Order
      • Sold goods : Surcharge(A 30% reduction)
    Corrective order, surcharge Corrective order, surcharge(A 50% increase)
    Misleading marking Corrective order Corrective order, surcharge(A 30% increase)
    Violation of the marking methods
    Non-marking
    Clearance and Distribution Charge and Prosecution(no more than 5 years in Prison and KRW 100 million in Fines)
    • Where the country of orign is falsely marked, damaged or changed.
    • Where the country of origin is misleading with respect to Annex 5-2 of Notification
    • Where there is an objective data for a falsified description of country of origin
    • Where the customs house head's corrective orders are not followed and
    • Where a certificate of origin or relevant document is completed or prepared, falsely or in any other illegal manners.
    Distribution Fines(up to KRW 10 million)

    In case of rejection, intervention or evasion for an inspection by customs to description of country of origin

    At the distribution stage, inspections of violations in description of country of origin are conducted by public officers of cities and provinces, the National Agricultural Products Quality Management Service, and the National Fishery Products Quality Management Service as well as the Korea Customs Service.

For more information

Korea Customs Service, the Passenger and Simplified Clearance Division , 042-481-7855