South Korea Amends K-REACH

South Korea plans to supplement the requirements of its chemicals law, Korea REACH (K-REACH). The proposals are open to public comment until February 6.

The South Korean Environmental Ministry wants to require the registration of all substances in circulation in quantities greater than one ton by the end of 2018. Companies would be granted a transition period, which would begin at the end of 2018, for preregistration of their substances.

In addition, the use of substances of very high concern (SVHC), which already require authorization, would be regulated more strictly in the future. For example, plans call for expanding the information that must be given to downstream users and for requiring that consumers be given more-exact information. These plans apply to SVHC and to mixtures that contain such substances.

The authorities want to do more than introduce stronger laws. They also want to require more substantial penalties for violations. For example, laboratories and testing facilities that provide false measurements would have to pay fines in the future, as would manufacturers and importers who market substances that have not been registered or that have been inadequately registered.

Yet, the companies face some simplifications along with the stricter requirements. For example, annual reporting as required in K-REACH will no longer apply.

The South Korean parliament approved K-REACH on April 30, 2013, and the law took effect on January 1, 2015. Since then, the Toxic Chemical Control Act (TCCA) that had been in effect since 1991 was divided into two parts:

  • K-REACH covered the registration and evaluation of chemicals
  • The Chemicals Control Act (CCA) covered monitoring and handling of dangerous goods. The law also describes how to avoid chemical accidents and how to report serious incidents.

We recommend expert support for companies that want to supply the South Korean market but do not have a local office. Since many years, we have worked successfully in South Korea with our partner, KTR Europe GmbH. Please contact us at reach@kft.de.

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