Export to South Korea

South Korea is a leading supplier of LCD screens, memory chips and mobile phones and the world’s twelfth-largest economy; by 2019, the country is set to be the tenth largest contributor to world growth. To achieve this aim, South Korea’s government has initiatives underway to promote sustainable growth.

South Korea has a strong economic relationship with Ireland; in 2009, trade stood at €592 million The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the EU and South Korea brings further benefits for Irish exporters as it eliminates almost all import duties.

Sources: Bank of Korea, Bloomberg, GOV.UK

For more detailed information when trading with South Korea, download our South Korea Fact Sheet.



South Korea Fact Sheet (2 MB)

Read more detailed
information about South Korea

DHL Facts

Locations: 69

Gateways into the Country: 1

Number of Service Centres: 22

DHL Delivery Zone: 7

Vehicle Fleet: 426

South Korea: Country Profile
Population: 49 million Exports from
South Korea:
US$ 557.3 billion (2013 est.)
Area: 99,720 sq km Export Commodities: Semiconductors, wireless telecommunications equipment, motor vehicles, auto parts, computers, display, home appliances, wire telecommunication equipment, steel, ships, petrochemicals
Currency: 1 won (KRW) = 100 jeon Top Export Destinations: USA, China, Japan, Hong Kong, Russia, Germany
GDP: US$ 1.666 trillion (2013 est.) IMPORTS INTO SOUTH KOREA
Time Zones: UTC+9:00; no daylight savings time observed Imports into
South Korea:
US$ 516.6 billion (2013 est.)
Languages: Korean, English Import Commodities: Machinery, electronics and electronic equipment, oil, steel, optical instruments, transport equipment, organic chemicals, plastics
Ethnic Groups: Homogeneous, exempting 20,000 Chinese Top Import Origins: USA, China, Germany, Hong Kong, UK, Japan, Italy, Taiwan
Transit Times
The times provided for
dutiable shipments
are based on the time
expected for Customs
in South Korea to clear
the shipment. This is
contingent upon the
value of the shipment.
Destination Non-Dutiable Shipment Dutiable Shipment
Seoul 2 days 3 days
Busan 2 days 3 days
Gwangju 4 days 4 days
Ulsan 2 days 3 days
Sokcho 5 days 5 days
  • Further Information

    DHL can assist you with trading with South Korea. Contact the DHL Express team on 1890 725 725

    DHL Customer Services is also available on 1890 725 725

  • Duty Free Allowance

    US$ 100

Essential Customs Information

For an estimate of landed costs (duties, taxes and other import fees) for shipments going to South Korea use the free and interactive DHL Express Trade Automation Services (TAS) tool, TAS also provides information on regulations compliance and trade documentation.

The EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement allows for a reduced or nil rate of duty for Irish origin goods. For further information on what documentation you need to provide to support the claim for duty relief, visit

E-commerce shipments (B2C) are declared as formal entry regardless of invoice value. De minimus clearance is not permitted. This includes articles of paper, printed books, apparel and clothing accessories, footwear, CDs/DVDs, furniture, lamps and lighting.

Korea Customs Service is very strict on undervalued shipments, vague descriptions (e.g. sample, spare parts) and inaccurate company name/address, all of which can result in additional delays and penalties.

General correspondence (business or private) is under strict Customs supervision to detect illegal goods concealed as document shipments.

Certain items, as specified below, are subject to quarantine inspection by South Korea’s Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency (QIA); approval by South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS); approval by South Korea’s Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW); or approval by South Korea’s National Radio Research Agency (RRA).

Prohibited items specific to the Indonesia:

The list below is in addition to DHL’s standard list of prohibited items.

  • Antiques
  • Asbestos
  • Cancelled cheques (NI) if in a bearer form
  • Dangerous goods, hazardous or combustible materials
  • Goods from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), including propaganda
  • Firearms, parts of
  • Pornography
  • Soil & soil samples
  • Toy guns

Restricted items specific to the Indonesia:

Alcoholic beverages
Formal import: subject to quarantine inspection by QIA; receiver must have import licence. Samples imported by licensed companies for private consumption: 1 bottle can be imported without quarantine inspection, though formal clearance is required. Receiver needs to pay liqueur tax regardless of invoice value. Total amount should not exceed US$ 400.  

Animal products, including cosmetics with bovine components
Unprocessed: Subject to quarantine inspection by QIA. Shipper to provide quarantine inspection report on collection at country of origin. Bovine products: receiver to provide Certificate of Non-BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) Product from MFDS. Licensed importers: provide recommendation from related organisation.

Animal skins
Subject to quarantine inspection by QIA.

Artwork including drawings / proofs / layouts
Artwork including drawings: ship as goods. Artwork including proof/layout: ship as documents.

Biological Substance Category B, UN3373
Adhere to the International Transport Association’s (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulations.

Circuits & circuit boards, communications & telecommunications equipment, computer components & parts, electronic equipment including MP3 players, printers & IT equipment, phones / modems and radios including radio equipment/parts
RRA certification required. Certain items will require certification by South Korea’s Law of Electrical Appliance Safety Management or Law of Electrical Communications Apparatus; contact DHL Customer Services before shipping for more information.

Consumable finished goods including footwear, clothes and bags
If value exceeds US $100: state trademark/brand name on the invoice.

Drugs: prescription & non-prescription
Health products and vitamins: 6 bottles permitted per Waybill. Other drug products: provide component analysis table. Attach additional prescription for personal use. All importers other than individuals should be licenced and receive import approval from MFDS or MOHW.

Subject to quarantine inspection by QIA, unless canned or tinned. If value exceeds US$ 150: provide Certificate of Origin. Jerky: Certificate of Origin required regardless of value.

Non-hazardous chemicals & liquids, oil products including bunker oil samples (for analysis) and substances containing sodium/calcium cyclamate
Provide component analysis table. Adhere to the International Transport Association’s (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulations.

Magazines, periodicals, journals, newspapers
If free of charge and not for resale purpose: send as documents.

Military equipment
Acceptable only for military bases or military officers.

Photographs, including photographs as part of business reports
Ship as goods regardless of use or purpose.

Plants & plant products
Subject to quarantine inspection by QIA. Soil must be completely removed, or the shipment will be destroyed (charge: US$ 90) or returned to origin. Contact DHL Customer Services before shipping to ensure the plants are not restricted..

Seeds, including cotton seed
Subject to quarantine inspection by QIA. Seeds for cultivation purposes: provide original phytosanitary certificate from country of origin

Ship spares for ships in transit
Show full description, quantity and name of vessel on invoice. Penalties may be incurred if manifest is unclear.

Subject to quarantine inspection by QIA.

For medication from China, perishables and x-ray machines please contact DHL Customs Services before shipping.