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Main Points of Revised Customs Act

Some of the main points of the revised Customs Act, as amended on December 19,

1. Purpose of revision:

As a condition to entry into the WTO, China agreed to allow WTO member states to
take provisional emergency steps to restrict certain imports from China. So, the
revisions are intended to provide a legal basis for Korea to impose emergency
tariffs on certain products imported from China and other countries. Also, in
preparation for the launch of e-government systems, regulations on electronic
delivery of official documents and the designation of operators for electronic
document relay business have been arranged. In addition, some improvements were
made in the existing regulations. For example, procedures concerning the return
of excessive personal items brought in by travelers have been tightened to
discourage them from bringing home large numbers of personal items. At the same
time, more items have been added to the list of imported goods that are exempt
from customs duties.

2. Major contents of revision:

a. Emergency tariff could be imposed (a) if a surge in the import of specific
goods were to cause material injury or have caused material injury to the
domestic industry, or (b) if Korea's import surges as a result of a WTO member
state's actions against specific goods to redress the material injury or prevent
the material injury of its domestic industry. (Section 2 newly added to Art. 67)

b. The following goods are newly added to the list of imported goods exempt from
customs duties; items brought in by participants in international competitions,
goods imported for construction, maintenance or decoration of national
cemeteries, personal items of the legal receiver of the inheritance from an
inheritor who is a local resident. (Paragraph 2, and Paragraphs 17 and 18 added
to Art. 93)

c. Personal belongings of travelers prescribed by the Commissioner of the Korean
Customs Service shall be returned in the manner and during the period designated
by the Commissioner of the Korean Customs Service. (Section 3 of Art. 241 and
Section 1 of Art. 243 newly added)

d. The Commissioner of the Korea Customs Service shall compile customs
statistics including specific statistical information related with customs
clearance. The commissioner must allow the inspection of such information or
copies of such information to anyone who wants them, except in cases prescribed
by Presidential Decrees. (Art. 322)

e. The Commissioner of the Korea Customs Service can deliver documents
electronically using data-processing facilities and equipment. Electronic
delivery is regarded as complete when the requested documents have been input
into the computer designated by the person who required the information.
Electronic delivery is conducted when the person who requested the documents
requests they be delivered electronically. (Sections 1, 3, 4 through 6 of Art.
327 newly added)

f. Those who want to operate electronic documents relay business, including
declarations using data processing facilities, are required to be designated as
an electronic document relay business operator. (Section 2 of Art. 327 newly

3. Effective date:

These revisions shall become effective from January 1, 2003.

※ These translations have been prepared for proper understanding of the Korean
Legal System by English-speaking readers. It is not an official translation by
the Korean Government, and should be of reference only.

List(English Notice)