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Guide to Customs Administration

Bonded area

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What is a bonded area?

A bonded area is a place designated or licensed by the head of a customs office because of the necessity of efficient cargo management and customs administration. It is a place used for the storage of exported, imported or returned foreign goods intended for customs clearance; manufacturing, processing or other similar work using foreign goods or foreign and domestic goods as raw materials; exhibition of foreign goods; construction works using foreign goods; sale of foreign goods; inspection of exported or imported goods, etc.

Classification of bonded areas

Bonded areas are classified into designated bonded areas, licensed bonded areas and general bonded areas.

Classification of bonded areas
Classification Concept Type Purposes of Establishment Feature
Designated - Designating any land, building or other facilities owned or managed by the State, a local government or a corporation in charge of administering airport (harbor) facilities as a bonded area
- Designator: Head of a customs office
- Designated storage place
- Customs inspection place
- For the convenience of customs clearance, temporary storage, and inspection
- For the public purposes of administration
Passive
Licensed - Applying for a license for establishing and operating a licensed bonded area on any privately owned land or building
- Licensor: Head of a customs office
- Bonded warehouse
- Bonded factory
- Bonded construction site
- Bonded exhibition place
- Bonded store
- For storage, manufacture, exhibition, construction, and sale
- Pursuit of private profits
Active
General - Designating a general bonded area from among particular areas
- Licensor: Commissioner of the Korea Customs Service
- General bonded area - Exportation and promotion of logistics
- Private and public profits
  (harmonization through investment promotion, etc.)
Active

In order to ensure the smooth distribution and swift clearance of bonded goods for the owner, a period of storing the goods is set and operated in a bonded area. In order to secure duty claims, maintain order, etc. in the bonded area, the cargo manager is responsible for keeping goods in custody in a designated bonded area and the operator is responsible for keeping goods in custody in a licensed bonded area. When shipping goods into or out of a bonded area, if its cargo manager or operator intends to file a shipment declaration or carry out the bonded work, he or she must fulfill the required customs formalities including obtainment of permission from the head of a customs office.

In addition, in the case of a bonded area recognized as free from any impediment to customs monitoring and the control of goods, direct customs restrictions are eased, thus making it possible to carry out customs administration duties efficiently and maintain order, by implementing the self-managed bonded area system which entrusts the management of goods to the operator or cargo manager so that he or she may manage goods autonomously.

What is a bonded goods caretaker?

This self-managed bonded area must by all means employ a bonded goods caretaker as a professional cargo manager in charge of managing goods stored in the bonded area.

A bonded goods caretaker performs such duties as monitoring and confirming bonded cargos and domestic goods shipped into or out of a bonded area, etc. To qualify as a bonded goods caretaker, one must be a person who has served as a general public official in charge of customs administration affairs for five years or more or a person who has passed a qualification examination in the management of bonded goods. Any person who has passed the test will be issued with a bonded goods caretaker certificate in the name of the Commissioner of the Korea Customs Service.

The bonded goods caretaker qualification examination covers five subjects: export and import clearance procedures, management of bonded areas, management of bonded goods, self-management and customs penal provisions, and export and import security management. Under the criteria for passing the multi-choice written examination, you must get an average of not less than 60 points out of 100 in all subjects with not less than 40 points out of 100 in each subject.

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