An increasing number of travelers to EU countries come home laden with luxury goods since a free trade agreement between Korea and the EU took effect in July. According to the Korea Customs Service on Sunday, the number of Koreans who brought in goods worth over US$400 apiece from the region soared 34 percent on-year from 791 in July last year to 1,056.
But the number of travelers to Europe grew only 11 percent on-year to 36,000. The jump in the number of Koreans who exceed the duty-free purchase limit is attributed to the fact that the FTA reduced the prices of high-end items through tariff cuts or exemptions.
For items worth up to $1,000 that Koreans brought in from the EU region, tariffs of 8 to 15 percent are reduced or eliminated if they can produce the receipts.
Watches saw the biggest increase at 157 percent, followed by wallets (100 percent), clothes (67 percent), sunglasses (57 percent) and handbags (49 percent).