Import prices of these products are around 10 dollars but the very same product on the shelf of a department store carries a price tag four times higher.
That's the case with many imported products after distribution margins and marketing prices are taken into account.
To provide consumers with sufficient information and to stabilize prices the government has added the import prices of ten industrial products like wine, strollers and lipstick to its publicly available list.
The import price list previously included 60 food products.
The customs office said the cheaper the import price of an item, the more expensive its retail price became as a monopoly among domestic distributors meant no price competitiveness.
This gap between the import and retail prices has led more and more Korean consumers to directly purchase products from overseas over the years, mostly online.
Direct overseas shopping tripled from 2010 to a billion U.S. dollars last year.
The beefed-up import price list is only one change the government is making to support consumers.
At an economic ministerial meeting on Wednesday, finance minister Hyun Oh-seok announced that the customs clearance process would be sped up to allow consumers to claim their purchased items more quickly.
They will also be able to return their products purchased overseas with less fuss -- and get tax refunds more easily thanks to simplified procedures.
The government will also encourage free market competition among importers by facilitating parallel imports -- all part of its goal to lower the retail prices of imported consumer goods by up to 20 percent over the next three years.
Song Ji-sun, Arirang News.
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