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Guide to Customs Administration

Confirmation of Required Conditions for Export and Import

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What is the system of confirmation of goods for export and import by the head of a customs office?

Export and import items subject to confirmation by the head of a customs office: In the process of examining the submitted export or import declaration data, the head of the relevant customs office must confirm whether the relevant goods for export or import meet the conditions of permission, approval, labeling and others (required conditions for export and import).

Relevant regulations
  • Article 226-2 of the Customs Act and Article 233 of the Enforcement Decree of the said Act
  • Amendment to the Public Notification of the Designation of Goods Subject to Confirmation by the Head of a Customs Office and the Methods of Confirmation (February 1, 2011)

Understanding CITES

As a lot of species of wild animals and plants are in danger of extinction because of illegal transactions and excessive international trade in wild animals and plants, CITES was concluded with the participation of 81 countries in Washington, U.S.A. as part of international efforts for environmental protection in 1973.
※ CITES : Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild Fauna and Flora

What is CITES?

  • It is a convention intended to protect wild animals and plants in danger of extinction by limiting international trade in endangered wild animals and plants through certain procedures.
  • Our country, Korea, joined this convention on July 9, 1993 in order to participate in the international trend called the international protection of wild animals and plants in danger of extinction through restrictions on international trade in such animals and plants and also protect excellent animal and plant resources in our country.
  • As overseas travelers continue to carry endangered wild animals and plants into Korea because of our traditional trend of pursuing body rejuvenation, it is causing our country to face increasing international criticism and also provoking trade frictions other countries. Therefore, Korean people’s change of awareness towards and their efforts to protect endangered wild animals and plants are seriously called for.

Customs’ protection of endangered wild animals and plants

  • CITES designates internationally protected animal and plant species and imposes restrictions on export and import of such animals and plants by causing exporters and importers to meet certain requirements and undergo certain procedures, including confirmation of export and import certificates. The member countries of CITES operates this convention through their export and import permission departments, export and import permission confirmation departments (customs offices, etc.) and crackdown departments (customs offices, police, etc.).
  • Korean Customs is contributing to international protection of wild animals and plants in danger of extinction by confirming whether the relevant exporter or importer has obtained an export certificate or a permit certificate when exporting or importing endangered wild animals and plants and also comparing and checking them against actual goods, thereby detecting and punishing smuggling disguised under the cloak of legality, etc.
Customs’ protection of endangered wild animals and plants
Classification Animals and Plants Subject to CITES Restrictions Export and/or Import Restrictions
AnnexⅠ species Internationally endangered animals and plants;
556 species including lions, tigers and agaves
International trade in such animals for commercial purposes is prohibited.
Obtainment of an export certificate or an import permit is required.
AnnexⅡ species Animals and plants which are not in danger of extinction now but are feared to fall in danger of extinction in future;
262 species including deer, owls and cactuses
International trade in such animals and plants for commercial purposes is permitted.
However, obtainment of an export certificate or an import permit is required.
AnnexⅢ species Animals and plants designated by individual countries concerned in order to protect their own animals and plants;
241 species including Indian vipers and Nepal poppies
International trade in such animals and plants for commercial purposes is permitted.
Obtainment of an export certificate, an import permit or a certificate of origin is required.

Species subject to CITES restrictions are shown in Attached Tables Ⅴ, Ⅵ, Ⅶ and Ⅷ of the Integrated Notification of the Ministry of Knowledge Economy. Therefore, you can check to ascertain whether certain wild animals or plants are subject to CITES restrictions when exporting or importing them.

Required documents to be submitted for endangered wild animals and plants
  • Required documents related to species under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Environment, such as wild birds and beasts, amphibians, spiders, insects, plants and marine organisms (including cetaceans)
    • An export and import license issued by a regional environmental management office
    • An export certificate issued by the exporting country if importing such animals or plants
      * However, an export certificate if importing CITES Ⅲ species from a designating country; a certificate of origin if importing CITES Ⅲ species from a non-designating country
    • An export and import permit issued by a city mayor or a province governor in the case of species which are subject to restrictions under the Protection and Hunting of Wild Birds and Animals Act but not subject to CITES restrictions
  • Required documents related to drugs under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, raw materials for which are internationally endangered animals and plants such as rhinoceros horns, tiger bones, bear gallbladders, and musks
    • An export and import permit issued by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety
    • An export certificate issued by the exporting country if importing such animals or plants
      * However, an export certificate if importing CITES Ⅲ species from a designating country; a certificate of origin if importing CITES Ⅲ species from a non-designating country

Examples of goods subject to CITES restrictions being illegally shipped or carried into Korea

  • The frequent illegal shipment and carrying of endangered wild animals and plants into Korea because of our traditional trend of pursuing body rejuvenation causes our country to face international criticism.
  • As international interest in environmental protection was growing, CITES intended to restrict international trade in endangered species was concluded in order to protect wild animals and plants in danger of extinction. The Customs is controlling export and import of endangered species and detecting and punishing illegal transactions in such animals and plants.
  • Major endangered animals and plants illegally shipped or carried into Korea and detected by the Customs
    • Tiger bones and flesh
      • Tiger bones and flesh
      • Tiger bones and flesh
    • Tiger skins
      • Tiger skinsr
      • Tiger skins
    • Ivories
      • Ivories
      • Ivories
      • Ivories
      • Ivories
      • Ivories
      • Ivories
    • Bear gallbladders
      • Bear gallbladders
      • Bear gallbladders
    • Pangolins
      • Pangolins
      • Pangolins

Punishment in case of any CITES violation

Smuggling

Any person who ships CITES species into or out of Korea without filing an import or export declaration will be punished under Article 269 (Offense of Smuggle) of the Customs Act.

Inbound shipment under the disguise of legality

Any person who prepares false required documents for customs clearance of species subject to CITES restrictions and gets them cleared through customs by fraudulent means or any other illegal means will be punished under Article 270 (Offense, etc. of Evading Customs Duties) of the Customs Act.

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