South Korea Revises K-REACH Rules

The environment committee of the South Korean National Assembly has approved a draft law submitted by the environmental ministry to amend K-REACH. The committee made two crucial changes to the draft.

First, the fines for non-registration of chemicals have been increased dramatically. Instead of 2% of gross sales (as originally suggested by the environmental ministry), companies must now pay 5% of their gross sales as a fine. In especially serious cases, up to five years of imprisonment is threatened. Second, all substances that pose a danger to the environment and health must be registered if they are imported into South Korea in a total quantity greater than one ton. The emphasis on the total quantity was important to the committee to prevent misuse by splitting imports quantities across shipments.

The regulation is to go into effect on July 1, 2018.

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.

Since the implementation of K-REACH in 2013, the rules in the comparatively new regulation are updated and supplemented on an ongoing basis.

Along with our partner, KTR Europe GmbH, we support companies that operate in the South Korean market. You can reach us with any questions at reach@kft.de.

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