South Korea – an amazingly vibrant market

South Korea is an amazingly vibrant market for many successful export businesses, and the value of trade this year is expected to exceed £4billion.

South Korea is Northeast Asia’s third largest economy after China and Japan. Roughly the same size as England, the country has a high-tech industrialised economy and joined the trillion-dollar club of world economies in 2004.

South Korea is a liberal, open market economy and boasts a highly educated and diligent workforce. The country ranks 27th globally and seventh regionally in the Index of Economic Freedom and has signed Free Trade Agreements with 24 countries around the world.

The current free trade deal began in July 2011, and has helped remove approx.  €1.6 billion of tariffs per year. It was the first deal of its kind between an Asian market and the EU, and over 150 UK companies are successfully exporting there.

If you looking to you research demand for your products and plan your route to market, there is plenty of support available from the Department for International Trade and the accredited Chamber of Commerce in Seoul.

However, some exporters may not be prepared for the customs requirements for preferential origin goods. This principle allows importers to get a ‘preferential’ rate of duty (reduced, or even zero) as long as the goods meet the preferential rules of origin (Notice 828).

UK exporters must obtain ‘Approved Exporter’ status from HMRC in order to receive a Customs Authorisation Number. This should be included on an invoice declaration to facilitate the preference scheme.

This was the first trade deal to go ‘paperless’ for preference exports, Canada has followed in a similar vein.

Dorset Chamber can offer training and guidance for this customs procedure, along with many others to help sustain your exports.


Rob Booth

Head of International Trade

01202 714804 /

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