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QuestionIf goods whose country of origin is China are imported into Korea via Hong Kong by considerations related exclusively to transport requirements, are they subject to preferential tariff treatment under the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA)?
(Transportation via a third country) If goods whose country of origin is China are imported into Korea via Hong Kong by considerations related exclusively to transport requirements, are they subject to preferential tariff treatment under the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA)?
AnswersWhether such goods are subject to preferential tariff treatment
○ When any goods are imported by being transported through a third country on account of the geographical vicinity or the convenience of transport, if they simply pass through the country of transit without undergoing any trading or further processing there, then such goods can be regarded as subject to preferential tariff treatment under the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement because the transit entry is justified for geographical reason or by considerations related exclusively to transport requirements as set out in Rule 5(b)(i) of the Rules of Origin for the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement.
○ However, whether such goods have undergone any trading, consumption or further processing or not in the country of transit will be determined by fact-checking conducted by the relevant customs office.
Question(Approved exporters) Differences between the company-specific approved exporter and the product-specific approved exporter
What are the differences between the company-specific approved exporter and the product-specific approved exporter?
Answers○ The company-specific approved exporter system is a blanket authorization system where the procedures for issuing a certificate of origin are operated in a simplified way for all the free trade agreements and all the export goods.
○ The product-specific approved exporter system is a system where the procedures for issuing a certificate of origin are operated in a simplified way after granting authorization as an approved exporter for each relevant FTA and the six digits of each relevant HS code.
Question(Approved exporters) Are the procedures for issuing a certificate of origin (C/O) simplified for all the export goods?
Are the procedures for issuing a certificate of origin simplified for all of an approved exporter’s export goods?
Answers○ In the case of an company-specific approved exporter, once a company has been authorized as an approved exporter after the examination of its origin management ability, the procedures for issuing a certificate of origin are simplified for all the free trade agreements and all the company’s export goods.
○ However, the product-specific approved exporter system is a system for authorization by FTA and by item in which authorization as an approved exporter involves prior examination of whether the relevant item (six digits of the HS code) satisfies the criteria for the determination of origin (rules of origin) prescribed in the FTA, and thus the procedures for issuing a certificate of origin are simplified with respect to the relevant FTA and the relevant six digits of the HS code for which the relevant company has been authorized as an approved exporter.
Question(Korea-EU) Whether a company needs to be authorized as an approved exporter when exporting a good to the European Union
Can a company issue a certificate of origin only after being authorized as an approved exporter when exporting a good to the European Union?
Answers○ Even a company which is not an approved exporter can issue a certificate of origin when exporting a good whose value does not exceed 6,000 euros. However, only an approved exporter can issue a certificate of origin when exporting any good whose value exceeds 6,000 euros.
Question(Approved exporters) Scope of application of the effectiveness of authorization
If a company has been authorized as an approved exporter, is such authorization applicable to all the free trade agreements?
Answers○ In the case of a company-specific approved exporter, once a company has been authorized as an approved exporter, the procedures for issuing a certificate of origin (C/O) are simplified for all the export goods of the approved exporter.
○ However, in the case of a product-specific approved exporter, the procedures for issuing a certificate of origin (C/O) are simplified only for the respective items for authorization by FTA and by item (six digits of each HS code), and thus neither the effectiveness nor the benefits of such authorization are applicable to all the free trade agreements. Therefore, if a free trade agreement or an item (six digits of the HS code) for which a company has been authorized as an approved exporter has become different, the company must obtain an additional authorization as an approved exporter, and if the company fails to obtain an additional authorization as an approved exporter, it cannot receive the authorization-related benefits granted to an approved exporter.
Question(Approved exporters) Exemption from the obligation to preserve documents
Is a company authorized as an approved exporter exempt from the obligation to preserve documents?
Answers○ The approved exporter system provides exporters capable of proving the respective origins of their export goods with the benefit of the simplified process of applying for a certificate of origin by allowing them to omit the submission of attached documents, which is required whenever they apply to an issuing authority for the issuance of a certificate of origin.
○ However, they are not exempt from the importer’s, exporter’s and producer’s obligation to preserve necessary documents (refer to Article 15 of the Act on Special Cases of the Customs Act for the Implementation of Free Trade Agreements and Article 10 of the Enforcement Decree of the Act).
Therefore, even if a company is an approved exporter, such company must preserve and manage the relevant documents evidencing the origin of its export good for five years in preparation for any ex post facto origin verification which may be performed by the country to which such good is exported.
○ As a reference, the relevant documents even in the case of self-issuing a certificate of origin must be preserved without fail.
QuestionWhat documents must be and low long do they have to be preserved and managed for certifying the origin of a good?
Answers○ The relevant importer, exporter and producer have the obligation to preserve the necessary documents for ascertaining the contents of the certificate of origin, such as a copy of the certificate of origin, the origin verification questionnaire, the (blanket) certificate of originating status, etc. for five years in order to confirm the origin of the relevant good, carry out ex post facto verification of the application of preferential tariffs, etc. whenever necessary.
○ For the kinds of evidential documents for the confirmation of the country of origin, please refer to the provisions of Article 10 (Documents Evidencing Origin to Be Preserved) of the Enforcement Decree of the Act on Special Cases of the Customs Act for the Implementation of Free Trade Agreements, in which they are listed in detail.
Question(Approved exporters) Whether a company which does not produce any product can be authorized as an approved exporter
Can a company obtain authorization as an approved exporter even if such company does not produce any product but purchases and exports a product?
Answers○ It is possible if the company obtains from the final good producer a “certificate of originating status” which makes it possible to ascertain whether the export good satisfies the criteria for origin determination (rules of origin), submits it when applying for the status of approved exporter and then obtains a confirmation that the good satisfies the rules of origin.
Question(Approved exporters) Whether it is necessary to obtain re-authorization as an approved exporter when producing a new product after being authorized as an approved exporter
An exporter has launched a new product after being authorized as an approved exporter. Does it have to obtain re-authorization as an approved exporter?
Answers○ In the company-specific approved exporter system, a company’s ability to certify the origin of goods is examined, and once the company is authorized as an approved exporter, such authorization covers all its export goods. As this is a blanket form of authorization remaining valid for five years, even if a new product has been launched, the company does not need to obtain any separate authorization as an approved exporter.
○ The product-specific approved exporter system is the concept of blanket authorization for the goods which have the same six digits of HS code. If the HS code (six digits) of the new product is different from that of the goods, the exporter must obtain an additional authorization as an approved exporter. Therefore, if the new product has the same tariff classification number as that of the good for which the exporter has obtained authorization as an approved exporter although their models and sizes are different, the exporter does not have to obtain any additional authorization as an approved exporter. In addition, if any existing authorization matters have been modified, such modified matters must be reported to the Commissioner of the Korea Customs Service or the head of a customs office without delay.
Question(Approved exporters) Method of obtaining authorization as an approved exporter in case an FTA partner country uses different HS codes from the ones Korea uses
An FTA partner country uses different HS codes from the ones Korea uses. How can an exporter obtain authorization as an approved exporter in this case?
Answers○ In the case of the six digits of the HS code for an approved exporter, you usually refer to the tariff classification number on the relevant export permit (EP) through a procedure under domestic law, and it is usually the HS code used by the importing country that is written on a certificate of origin.
○ If different HS codes are applied to the same item by different FTA contracting countries, it is necessary to check to ascertain the accuracy of Korea’s tariff classification, the evidential documents for the application of different HS codes by an FTA partner country (for example, cases of such partner country’s determination of tariff classification (authoritative interpretation), certificates of import declaration issued by such partner country, etc.)
○ If both the grounds for Korea’s tariff classification and the grounds for an FTA partner country’s tariff classification are correct and satisfy the criteria for the determination of origin for each party’s HS codes, it is possible for an exporter to obtain authorization as an approved exporter by means of two different HS codes.
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