Gov’t steps up scrutiny of popular new importsThe government is stepping up its enforcement of customs restrictions on imports like cryptocurrency mining hardware and menstrual cups that have skyrocketed in popularity recently.
The customs agency said the increase in the number of items that will face harsher scrutiny will help prevent the entry of illegal products that threaten the health of the public.
According to the Korea Customs Service on Wednesday, it will add 292 items to its list of imports targeted for high scrutiny. The number of items that are now under tight scrutiny has increased to a total of 7,382.
The extra measures will check whether imports have met safety conditions and received the approval of related government agencies, such as the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.
Menstrual cups are one of the most prominent additions to the list.
Local sales of menstrual cups were approved by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety in December last year after the safety of sanitary pads became a major issue last year.
Other items that were marked for special scrutiny include cryptocurrency mining hardware.
The customs agency found that 454 pieces of cryptocurrency mining hardware were imported to Korea in November and December. The equipment was, at the time, valued at 1.3 billion won ($1.21 million).
Up until the beginning of the year, interest in cryptocurrencies surged as their values rapidly increased, but the market has since stabilized.
Daily home items, including wet tissues, kitchen soap, disposable cups and spoons will also face tougher scrutiny.
The government also stepped up its review of 122 imported chemicals such as phenol and bromine.
However, for the children’s toys that were added to the list, the government decided to delay tougher custom procedures until Nov. 1. The reason given was that many of the importers of toys to Korea are small companies and their imports are usually limited in quantity.
According to the customs agency, last year it found 15,788 items that failed to meet import requirements among the 3 million items that were under intense review. These items were sent back overseas.
“We will continue to check on imported goods if they meet the requirements according to the law that is meant to protect the safety of the public and the environment,” said an official with the customs agency.
BY LEE HO-JEONG [firstname.lastname@example.org]