Most of the products can be imported today in South Korea without any license. A declaration of importation replaced the former system of license and has to be filled in by the importer. There is also a system of control of the goods on arrival on the territory. According to the classification of the importer by the Customs ("honest", "quasi-honest", "under general supervision" and "under special supervision") the goods will be more or less controlled. If the importer has already been caught in a situation of non conformity, his products have strong chances to be systematically controlled. The procedures of controls do not only consist in checking the equivalence of the goods imported with the presented documents, but also in checking the correspondence of products with the Korean rules (standards, phytosanitary rules, fumigations). When importing foodstuffs, the detail of the conponents of the product (percentages of every ingredient) must be joined to the declaration of import.
Only some products included in a " Negative list " (Export and Import Note) are either regulated, or forbidden. Licenses for these products are delivered on a case by case basis, after a study achieved by the competent Ministry and the consultation of the corresponding professional associations. It can happen that these associations are constituted by rival local companies of the imported products, what does not simplify the import.
The marking of the origin of the products is also compulsory and should be indicated either in Korean, Chinese or English. The name of the country of origin, preceded by"made in" or "product of" should be quoted in such way that the final user can read it and understand it easily. Depending on the product, this marking should be quoted either directly on the product, or on the packaging. However, even if there are some exceptions in this obligation, it is advised to enquire beforehand with the Korean services of customs.
It is important to take into account the own peculiarities of the country as regards to the distribution networks and the techniques of sales promotion. For example, numerous intermediaries do intervene in the distribution networks what increases considerably the final prices. The majority of the imports are carried out by commercial intermediaries, either agents or trading companies.