Glassware, Gift Packs & Recycling

There are several new and older regulations that cover the import of gift sets and additional packaging. These can occasionally have an impact on where and how the products are sold in South Korea. Moreover, local recycling laws can also have an impact on what documentation may or may not be needed when importing into South Korea.

Gift Packs & Merchandise

Gift packs include merchandise and glassware are a great way to promote your brand to Korean consumers, especially around the holiday seasons of Seollal (Korean New Year) and Chuseok (Autumn Eve & Harvest Celebrations). But there are several rules and regulations covering the import of such products. Firstly, if your gift pack contains additional merchandise (glasses, cups, beakers, hip flasks etc.) that are manufactured by a third party this third party manufacturer will most likely also need to be registered as a Foreign Food Facility with the Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS). This will require a separate application, with the forms required needing to be filled out by the manufacturer of the merchandise included in the imported gift pack. For example; ‘Company A’ makes Gin. This Gin is distilled and bottled by ‘Company A’ and is packaged in a gift pack with Gin glasses made by ‘Company B’ and a cocktail stirrer made by ‘Company C’. In this case, all three, separate companies would need to register their facilities (through Taesan Liquor Inc.) with the MFDS, and in doing so would need to fill out a separate application form each. Moreover, depending on where the merchandise in the gift pack is manufactured, there may be an impact on any origin declarations (See: AE Status Declarations) made on commercial documents (i.e. invoice). For example; if ‘Company A’  brews and bottles a beer in Spain, but sources beer glasses for a gift pack from ‘Company B’, which is based in China, this must clearly be stated as per the declaration of preferential origin on a commercial invoice.


Imported glassware, whether sold as a standalone product or as merchandise support for a beverage, must come with supporting documentation detailing that the levels of Lead (Pb) and Cadmium (Cd) meet the specified ISO and manufacturing standards to ensure consumer safety. This specifically relates to products that come in to contact with foodstuffs (i.e. beverage glasses, decanters etc.)  and relates directly to the mitigation of Lead (Pb) and Cadmium (Cd) leaching. It is imperative that these standards are met in exact accordance with the relevant regulations laid out by the MFDS. This supporting documentation can be provided via a declaration of conformity by the manufacturer, with supporting scientific testing carried out by an independent accredited laboratory also being preferred.


The Korean regulatory environment can occasionally resemble the shifting of sands the Sahara desert; with regulations being quickly introduced and then repealed as rapidly as they were imposed. This is something that all companies wanting to export to Korea should be aware of. Although Korea has very robust regulatory systems and a stable administrative system in place, regulations can occasionally be more quickly introduced when comparing to other nations. Recently there has been a push to control imported waste and ‘over packaging’ of products. These regulations will likely continue to evolve. But as a prerequisite to import any products with additional packaging (E.g. gift boxes etc) will need to be sent for analysis by the local authorities before going on sale. The amount of packaging used may impact where items can be sold, with products deemed as being ‘over packaged’ potentially prohibited from sale at larger stores or shops. Additionally, a declaration from the manufacturer or company may also be required stating the materials used during in the production of the container (i.e. can, bottle etc) or packaging. This may include, for example; a declaration confirming that both the material used in the production of the can and the corresponding ring-pull (ring-tab) are made from the same materials (i.e. Aluminium). Due to the transient nature of the regulatory environment, Taesan Liquor Inc., will endeavour to inform our suppliers of all regulatory changes related to their exports and orders.