THE CUSTOMS LAW OF THE DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE'S
REPUBLIC OF KOREA
Adopted by Resolution No. 7 of the Standing
Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly on October 14, 1983,
amended by Resolution No. 1 of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s
Assembly on February 26, l987,
amended by Resolution No. 24 of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s
Assembly on May 17, 1990,
amended by Resolution No.41 of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s
Assembly on November 17, 1993,
amended by Decree No. 382 of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly
on January 28, l999, and
amended by Decree No. 2468 of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly
on July 26, 2001
Chapter 1. Fundamentals
Article 1. The Customs Law of the Democratic People’s Republic
of Korea is intended to ensure a strict order and discipline in customs clearance
and inspection and imposition of customs duty to contribute to strengthening
customs inspection and implementing correctly the policy of customs duty.
Article 2. The customs formalities are compulsory to institutions,
enterprises, associations and citizens to whom this law is applied. The State
shall, in line with the development of the actual situation, set specific customs
procedures to be followed and ensure their proper implementation.
Article 3. The State shall improve the methods of customs inspection
and modernize the means of inspection so as to strengthen the inspection on
cargoes, international postal matter, personal effects and transport means which
move across the border.
Article 4. The State shall apply either zero or low tariff
on materials whose import and export are encouraged and high tariffs on materials
whose import and export are discouraged.
Article 5. In the DPRK guidance on the customs affairs shall
be given in a unified way by the central customs guidance organ.
Article 6. The State shall promote exchange and cooperation
with other countries and international organizations in the area of customs
Article 7. This law shall be applied to institutions, enterprises,
associations and citizens that are in charge of cargoes, commodities and transport
means moving cross the border of the DPRK.
This law shall also be applied to the permanent representative offices of foreign
countries and international organizations accredited to the DPRK as well as
to citizens of foreign countries who travel across the border of the DPRK.
The procedure of customs work in a special economic zone shall be defined separately.
Chapter 2. Customs Formalities
Article 8. The customs formalities shall be applicable to
institutions, enterprises, associations and citizens that bring cargoes, commodities
and transport means into or take them out of the DPRK.
The institutions, enterprises, associations and citizens in question shall submit
to the customs documents needed for procedures.
Article 9. A citizen who enters or leaves the DPRK shall, on
arrival at a border route, a trade port or an international airport, declare
to the customs his personal effects, currencies, securities and luggage.
Article 10. The completion of customs formalities on transit
cargoes which pass border stations and trade ports of the DPRK shall be performed
by the institution which is responsible for the transshipment of the cargoes.
In order to transship cargoes which are not allowed to enter the DPRK, approval
shall be obtained from the Cabinet.
Article 11. Customs procedures for the cargoes on a foreign
ship which transits a trade port of the DPRK shall be completed by its master.
In this case, the master shall produce the list of cargoes aboard to the customs.
Article 12. Cargoes, commodities and transport means moving
across the border of the DPRK shall be brought in or taken out only through
the places where a customs is located.
In case, for unavoidable reasons, the movement is to be conducted at a place
where the customs is not located or when materials are to be exchanged with
a foreign country within the territorial waters of the DPRK, approval shall
be obtained from the relevant institution before the customs procedures are
Chapter 3. Customs Inspection
Article 13. The customs shall inspect cargoes, international
postal matter, personal effects and transport means which are brought into or
taken out of the DPRK.
Cargoes, international postal matter, personal effects and transport means which
have not been inspected by the customs shall not be allowed to enter or leave
Article 14. Customs inspection shall be done at border routes,
trade ports, international airports, international post offices and other specified
places. Customs inspection on personal effects of citizens may be done in a
train or on a ship.
The customs may, as stipulated, provide mobile inspection service or inspect
cargoes of a foreign country which pass the territory of the DPRK.
Article 15. The customs may request the relevant institution
at the place of destination to inspect large-sized equipment and containers
that are imported. In this case the owner of the said cargoes shall declare
them in time to the relevant institution upon their arrival.
The institution which has been requested to perform customs inspection shall
inspect in a responsible way the cargoes declared and report the result to the
Cargoes whose customs inspection has been requested shall not be unloaded in
the middle of their transportation nor their destination be changed.
Article 16.The customs may inspect cargo compartments, passenger
compartments, crew’s quarters and other places in the transport means, which
need to be inspected.
If articles which are not allowed to enter the DPRK and controlled articles
are found during inspection, the customs may put them in a cargo compartment
and seal it.
The seal shall not be broken without the consent of the customs.
Article 17. The customs shall strictly supervise and control
the transportation of materials to ensure that such contraband goods as weapons,
ammunition, explosives, poison and drugs, controlled goods not approved by relevant
institutions, and materials which are not included in the State foreign trade
plan or for which license of import or export and license of taking into or
out of the country have not been obtained are not brought into or taken out
of the DPRK.
Article 18. The customs shall strengthen links with relevant
specialized inspection institutions including foreign goods supervision institutions
and quarantine institutions located at border routes, trade ports and international
The customs may, if necessary, ask relevant specialized inspection institutions
for an expert opinion.
Article 19. The customs shall constantly check the cargoes
in the custody of the border stations, trade ports and bonded or duty-free warehouses
to ensure that they are not damaged or lost.
Any cargo which has not been collected within the specified time limit or for
which no claim has been made may be disposed of by the customs according to
Article 20. Cargoes of a foreign country which have arrived
at border stations, trade ports and international airports without any agreement
reached with a foreign trade agency of the DPRK shall not be discharged without
the consent of the customs.
Article 21. Cargoes of a foreign country and international
postal matter which have been brought into the DPRK as a result of a wrong delivery
and articles whose owner cannot be identified and extra goods can be disposed
of only with the consent of the customs.
Article 22. Institutions, enterprises, associations and citizens
that are subject to the customs inspections shall provide necessary conditions
and be present at the place of inspection.
Article 23. In order to move or take to another place cargoes
and transportation means in the custody of the customs, institutions, enterprises,
associations and citizens shall obtain approval from the customs.
Approval of the customs is also required in case of unpacking or repacking.
Article 24. In case cargoes in the custody of the customs happen
to be unpacked or any other accidents occur, the cargo carrier or keeper shall
immediately inform the customs of the accidents.
Article 25. Institutions, enterprises, associations and citizens
shall not enclose currencies, securities or goods in letters and publications,
letters or currencies in parcels that come in or go out of the DPRK.
Article 26. Citizens who travel across the border of the DPRK
may take with them articles needed for business and life, and souvenirs.
A citizen who makes business trips across the border of the DPRK may take with
him only office articles and daily necessaries.
Article 27. Household goods and property inherited may be brought
into or taken out of the DPRK without permission.
In case any items of the household goods or property inherited fall under the
category of controlled articles, these items shall be allowed to bring in or
take out only with the consent of the relevant institution.
Article 28. It is not allowed to bring in or take out materials
through international mail for the purpose of sale.
Article 29. Customs inspection shall not be done on personal
effects and hand luggage of members of Party, State and government delegations,
members of international organizations and officials who are specially designated
as well as on diplomatic postal matter and correspondence.
Notwithstanding the previous provision, customs inspection may be performed
on those items when there is evidence to believe that they contain controlled
and contraband articles.
Article 30. The customs may unpack the cargoes, international
postal matter, and personal effects of citizens passing across the border for
Transportation means, the sites where cargoes are placed in custody and citizens
suspected to be used for smuggling may be searched.
Chapter 4. Customs Duty
Article 31. The customs shall properly impose the customs
duty and supervise and control its payment.
The customs may, if necessary, check up documents and papers of institutions,
enterprises and associations related to the payment of customs duty.
Article 32. The standard price on which customs duty is levied
shall be the price of arrival at border in case of materials brought in by institutions,
enterprises and associations, the price of delivery at border in case of materials
taken out by them and retail price in case of international postal matter and
materials which are brought in or taken out by citizens.
Tariff rate shall be set by the Cabinet.
Article 33. Calculation of customs duty shall be done in Korean
won according to the tariff applied at the time when the relevant materials
pass across the border.
Conversion of foreign currencies into Korean won shall be subject to the then
exchange rate specified by the foreign exchange control organ.
Article 34. No customs duty shall be levied on the following
1. Gifts sent from a foreign country or an international organization to an
2. The traveler’s articles whose quantity does not exceed the specified limit,
3. Materials brought in by a foreign-invested business for the purpose of production
and management and materials produced and exported by a foreign-invested business,
4. Materials brought in for the purpose of processing trade, entrepot trade
5. Materials for which no customs duty is payable pursuant to a treaty concluded
with a foreign country, and
6. Materials which are separately specified by the State.
Article 35. Article 34 of this law shall not be applied in
the following cases;
1. In case a member of a relevant delegation, an official with a diplomatic
passport or a permanent representative office of a foreign country or an international
organization brings in or takes out materials in larger quantities than the
2. In case a foreign-invested business sells its products in the territory of
3. In case materials which have been brought in for the purpose of processing
trade, entrepot trade and re-export are sold inside the territory of the DPRK,
4. In case bonded materials are not delivered within the specified time.
Article 36. Where materials have been degenerated, damaged
or lost, the customs may exempt wholly or partly the relevant duty according
to the extent of degeneration, damage or loss.
Article 37. In case a treaty concluded between the DPRK and
a foreign country contains a provision for preferential treatment in terms of
tariff, the preferential tariff shall be applied.
Where no preferential treatment has been provided for in terms of tariff, ordinary
tariff shall be applied.
In case the treaty specifies a tariff separately, this tariff shall be applied.
Article 38. For an article or item for which the tariff has
not been set, the tariff for another article or item which is similar to the
article or item in question shall be applied.
Article 39. Institutions, enterprises, associations and citizens
shall pay customs duty according to the notice of customs duty payment.
The notice of customs duty payment shall be issued by the relevant customs
Article 40. International postal matter and baggage of a citizen
whose quantities exceed the specified limit shall be delivered only after customs
duty has been paid.
In this case customs duty shall be paid within the set period of time.
Article 41. Institutions, enterprises, associations and citizens
shall pay customs inspection fee, custody fee, commission and the like in time.
Customs fee and commission shall be decided by the relevant institution.
Article 42. Institutions, enterprise, associations and citizens
that have paid the customs duty exceeding the amount payable by them may request
the customs within 1 year from the day of payment to refund the surplus.
In this case, the customs shall settle the case within 15 days.
Article 43. Where the amount of customs duty which has been
levied is less than the amount payable or no customs duty has been levied as
a result of miscalculation of the customs duty, the customs may impose the amount
still outstanding within 1 year from the day when the material in question has
Where the amount of customs duty which has been levied is less than the amount
payable or no customs duty has been levied as a result of intentional miscalculation
on the part of an institution, enterprise, association or citizen, the amount
outstanding may be levied within 3 years from the day when the material in question
has been cleared.
Article 44. Institutions, enterprises, associations and citizens
shall use the materials for which customs duty has been exempted only for specified
In case they are planning to sell materials for which customs duty has been
exempted, they shall declare it to the customs and pay the relevant customs
Materials for which customs duty has not been paid shall not be sold or purchased.
Article 45. No customs duty shall be levied during bonded period.
Bonded period shall be 2 years in case of a bonded factory and bonded warehouse
and be set by the customs in case of a bonded fair.
Article 46. The owner of a cargo who wishes to have the bonding
period extended for unavoidable reasons shall submit to the customs a written
application for the extension of the bonding period 10 days before the termination
of the original period.
The customs may allow the bonding period to be extended by up to 6 months.
Article 47.Institutions, enterprises and associations wishing
to take bonded materials out of a bonded area for the purpose of processing,
packing and assembling shall put under the custody of the customs a security
which is equivalent in value to the customs duty.
If the materials are brought in within the specified time limit, the customs
shall return the security.
If the materials fail to be brought in within the specified time limit, the
security entrusted to the customs may be used as a substitution for the payment
of customs duty.
Chapter 5. Sanction and Petition
Article 48. In case customs duty has not been paid within
3 months after the issuance of the notice of customs duty payment, materials
which are equivalent in value to the customs duty may be disposed of as a substitute
for the payment of the customs duty.
In case no materials are available for disposal as a substitute for the payment
of the customs duty, the customs duty may be withdrawn from the bank account
of the institutions, enterprises, associations and citizens in question.
Article 49. Cargoes, international postal matter, personal
effects of citizens and transportation means which are brought into or taken
out of the DPRK in violation of the customs law and regulations may be detained
In case of severe offence, administrative or criminal proceedings shall be instituted
against the responsible person.
Article 50. Any dispute arising in relation to the customs
procedures, inspection and imposition of customs duty shall be settled through
In case it is impossible to settle the dispute through consultation, complaint
may be laid with the customs office superior to the office in question.
The customs office which received the complaint shall settle the case within
20 days from its reception.
Article 51. A person who is not satisfied with the result of
the settlement by the superior customs office may bring the case to a court
within 10 days after the day of settlement.