K-REACH is to become almost identical to the EU-REACH as South-Korean Authorities Move Forward with Revision Notices.

The South-Korean Ministry of Environment (MoE) issued a notice on December 28th, 2016 (Notice #2016-869) which, if adopted, would result in drastic revisions of the Act on Registration and Evaluation of Chemical Substances (K-REACH). The key changes to the current version of K-REACH would be the following:

Revocation of the annual reporting obligation

Article 8 states that any person who manufactures, imports or sells a new chemical substance or an existing chemical substance in quantities of at least one metric tonne per year must report their substance’s details (e.g. uses, quantity) each year to the MoE.  With the new notice, this obligation will be abolished. According to the MoE, the annual reporting obligation duplicates the Chemicals Control Act (CCA) existing requirement for statistical survey on chemical substances. In its place, the MoE will establish a pre-registration system for companies planning to register phase-in substances. This will also help simplify the process of joint registration of identical substances.

Important Note: The upcoming deadline for annual reporting in June 30th 2017 remains in force.

Introduction of pre-registration mechanisms

The MoE will require the registration of all substances manufactured or imported in quantities over 1 metric tonne per year. Like the EU REACH, registrants will be able to pre-register their use of a substance prior to registering it. The MoE plans on starting the pre-registration period by the end of 2018.

Implementation of a phase-in registration applied to 7000+ substances

The current system for designation of Priority Existing Substances (PECs) in 3 phases will be replaced by a phase-in registration system applied to 7000+ substances of over 1 tonne per year. The list of substances is currently being revised by the MoE.

Important Note: The June 30th 2018 deadline for the registration of the 510 PECs remains in force.

Implementation of new penalties

The new penalties would fall into two groups. On one end, laboratories that intentionally or inadvertently produce inaccurate hazard data will be penalized. On the other end, any manufacturer or importer lacking proper registration will face penalties based on the revenues made in activities that have had an impact on human health and the environment.

Tighter authorization for uses of specific substances

Chemical uses subject to authorization will be published as well as the uses exempt from authorization. Uses of chemicals that do not fall in these two categories will be strictly banned.

Communication on hazardous chemicals is to be strengthened and expanded.

Manufacturers or importers of hazardous chemicals must supply all required information to their downstream users. Required information includes name, hazard, risk, safe use information, content, and registration status.

Product notification obligations on additional substances

Notification of products containing substances classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic for reproductions (CMR) and those classified as persistent, biocumulative and toxic (PBT) will be strictly enforced. This revision aims to provide more information to downstream users and consumers.

Latest News:

Two weeks ago, the MoE confirmed their plans for K-REACH in a notification to the World Trade Organization (WTO). This notification details the time frame of the revisions and suggests that the revised K-REACH should be adopted by June 30th 2017 and come into force a year later, in June 2018.

The MoE also announced tentative registration phase deadlines:

  • 2021: Substances manufactured or imported in quantities of 1,000 tonne per year and over;
  • 2024: Substances in quantities of 100 tonne per year;
  • 2027: Substances in quantities of 10 tonne per year.


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