The government will raise the duty-free shopping limit per traveler from the current US$600 to $800.
Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho said Saturday the measure aims to support the tourism industry, which has suffered in the coronavirus pandemic.
At present, Korean travelers can purchase up to $600 worth of duty-free goods plus one bottle of liquor, 60 mL of perfume and 200 cigarettes, but purchases above that are taxed.
The limit per traveler has gradually risen from W100,000 in 1979 and stood at $600 since 2014 (US$1=W1,326). The Ministry of Economy and Finance said the increase “reflects changes in national income and support for the tourism industry.” Japan has a duty-free purchase limit of around $1,821 and China of $776.
It is unclear how the tourism industry in general will benefit from the decision, but duty-free shops expect to see their sales grow.
Meanwhile, the government will also seek to exempt investors in Korean sovereign bonds from taxes on interest and other profits in a bid to buffer the won against the dollar.
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