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Subsidised container inspections for South Korean SMEs

Korea Customs announced on 17 June 2020 that the government will subsidise the cost of inspecting import and export containerised cargoes to help small and medium enterprises (SME).

Effective 1 July, the subsidies are to help SMEs struggling with reduced shipment volumes during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Announcing the subsidies during an inspection at Busan New Port, Korea Customs commissioner Roh Seok-whan said, “The subsidies will be supported by a budget to enhance the vitality of SMEs that are burdened by customs inspections.”

To be eligible, companies have to be defined as an SME under South Korea’s SME Basic Act.

Cargoes are randomly selected for inspections to detect drugs, dangerous goods, and counterfeit products. The inspection costs comprise transportation charges for moving containers to a separate inspection site, loading and unloading charges, and loading and exit fees. Importers and exporters bear the costs, regardless of the company’s size.

The subsidies will apply to inspections on containerised goods that are imported through the ports, without passing through a bonded area, as well as containerised goods that are placed on the loading site of ports, following the submission of export declarations.

It is estimated that the subsidies will cover up to 90% of the inspection costs, and the final amount payable by shippers will be within a range that does not exceed the amount determined by Korea Customs, taking into account the container specifications and inspection methods.

Korea Customs will issue guidelines regarding the subsidies and application methods for the SMEs’ guidance. The guidelines will also be published on websites of related trade associations in order to better reach out to local SMEs.

Martina Li
Asia Correspondent

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