Culture & People

Introducing Customs Clearance Team: People Responsible from Beginning to the End

By June 25, 2020 July 2nd, 2020 No Comments

Image Download

Through groundbreaking innovations spanning decades, the semiconductor has stood as the No.1 contributors to global economic growth. In the background exists numerous enormous yet invisible efforts, as well as great technical prowess. Import and export clearance tasks are one of these unnoticed elements, which includes the importation of raw and subsidiary materials from overseas for semiconductor production, and the exporting of finished products after manufacturing and processing. By executing both import and export processes smoothly, the value of semiconductors and the competitiveness of the company can be doubled.

From beginning to end, SK hynix’s semiconductors are carefully looked after by the company’s crucial Customs Clearance Team.

From Importing Raw Materials to Exporting Finished Products

Some of the most important items imported by SK hynix are raw materials (wafers, gas, photoresists (PR)) and manufacturing equipment (extreme ultraviolet (EUV) scanners, etchers, and Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD)). As these are mainly imported from abroad for the Korean domestic semiconductor industry, foreign trade dependency is relatively high, which is why prompt import clearance can determine the quality and productivity of our products.

Even in the latter stages, the role of the Customs Clearance Team is critical to success. This is because the team has the great responsibility of supplying accurate export declarations to customs so that finished products can be delivered to customers all over the world. In the semiconductor market, where timing is vital, export clearance has a direct and significant impact on a company’s sales.

In other words, the Customs Clearance Team stands at the beginning and the end of a semiconductor’s journey. The team works around the clock to make sure exports, imports, and return goods pass through customs easily while adhering to the strict procedures of customs regulations.

A Rapid, Accurate Clearance System for SK hynix’s Global Competitiveness

Image Download

* AEO (Authorized Economic Operator): An AEO is a company validated and authorized by the Korea Customs Service in accordance with authorizing criteria of Law Compliance, Internal Control System, Financial Solvency and Security Management

In addition to the major duties depicted above, the Customs Clearance Team has established a “24-hour export clearance system” using the “self-clearance system”. Through SK hynix’s ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system, the team has built a management procedure where export declarations via the Korea Customs Service can be made immediately.

This innovative and beneficial system is exclusive to certain companies. Only businesses officially certified by the Korea Customs Service as an Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) can apply it, and in 2011 and 2016, SK hynix received the highest AAA rating in this certification. This was only possible thanks to the invisible efforts of the Customs Clearance Team. With a timely clearance rate of 97%, SK hynix now boasts a system where all clearance procedures can be completed in almost one day, unless invoice omissions or certain errors in the shipping documents of suppliers occur.

Another job of the Customs Clearance Team is minimizing legal risks within the clearance process. In this process, the Team first needs to examine whether an item is allowed to be imported or exported, and consider the various laws applied to these specific goods. This is an important procedure, as neglecting these laws could result in large fines or additional taxes. To avoid this, the Customs Clearance Team is constantly monitoring its compliance with relevant laws and regulations.

“As a Guard of the Customs Line, a Sense of Ownership and Responsibility is Crucial for the Customs Clearance Team”

Image Download

Q. What is your current role in the Team?
As leader of the Customs Clearance Team, I’m in charge of overseeing the overall duties of my team, from import and export clearance to government relations.

Q. What is the most attractive aspect of working in a customs clearance job?
I’ve experienced many other tasks outside customs clearance, but I think there is no other job that’s clearer. Studying the relevant laws and obtaining your own know-how is not easy, but if you work diligently for two to three years, things will get much easier. Since the objectivity is more prominent in our role, more than any other department, clarity and honesty are the two most attractive features of working in customs clearance.

Q. When do you feel rewarded at work?
That is when my team ultimately contribute to company sales. Thanks to our hard work, the products are produced on time, and are exported through customs clearance procedures. I also felt incredibly proud when my team won the grand prize at the Competition on Best Practices, which was organized by the Korea Customs Service.

Q. What does the Customs Clearance Team mean to SK hynix?
Just like soldiers guarding frontiers, we guard the customs line which is an entire border where a country’s customs law applies. In that sense, I’d like to describe the Customs Clearance Team as a “guard of the customs line”, because the team must prevent unfair trade crossing the customs line and carry out customs clearance quickly and accurately by complying with relevant laws and regulations.

“Customs Clearance is about Seeking Efficiency within the Law, with ‘Legitimacy’ in Mind”

Image Download

Q. What is your current role in the Team?
Park: I’m in charge of import clearance for equipment or goods coming in from abroad. My role is to proceed with the customs clearance to support product production and research activities.

Kim: We operate bonded factory systems at SK Hynix’s Icheon and Cheongju campuses. I’m currently in charge of operating and managing the bonded factories located in Icheon, the import and management of raw materials supplied to Korea, and the export of our finished products.

Q. What efforts are you making to improve your work skills?
Park: Laws related to customs clearance tend to be amended frequently according to trade, economic, and environmental trends. It’s important to learn these revised laws and regulations from time to time and apply them to our work. Also, I’m working to discover irrational issues and try to improve them.

Q. What is the most important quality for a customs clearance specialist?
Kim: I think “being meticulous” is the most important aspect. Although we receive various benefits related to customs clearance from the government, it’s still important to work with a keen eye for detail and stay alert at all times, as taxing authorities can find mistakes through ex post facto reviews.

Q. As a more hands-on member of the team, what element of a customs clearance job attracts you most?
Park: The most attractive part of the job is the opportunity to broaden your perspective by collaborating with different departments. The Customs Clearance Team acts as a hub that connects different organizations related to one another. For this reason, maintaining good relationships is vital. To proceed with export customs clearance, we need to communicate closely with many parties including sales and logistics teams, and overseas local subsidiaries. Import clearance also involves many different departments such as a procurement team, materials team, logistics team, and foreign exchange team. It requires a comprehensive review of all different factors, allowing us to naturally understand the entire process of trade.

Q. When do you feel most accomplished during your work?
Kim: Most of all, I feel the proudest when I see my actions with export clearance increasing the company’s sales, and the products we make are delivered safely to customers across the globe.