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Korea MoE Pledges Support for Industry During Chemical Regulatory Compliance

  •   7 Nov 2019
  •    Nora Wang
  •    579
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    Takehome:

    • In response to media stories claiming that K-REACH regulations are plaguing chemical businesses, the Korea MoE published an explanation to reiterate the government’s support for chemical registration.

    Ever since its introduction and implementation, the K- REACH framework has garnered a lot of negative press and has been heavily criticized by domestic media in South Korea (see ChemLinked News [1]). Recently, some news reports pegged the maximum registration charge for one single substance under K-REACH regulations at around 100 billion won, alleging that chemical businesses are suffering from endless regulatory updates and exorbitant fees.

    In response, the MoE issued an explanation [2] to refute some faulty observations and clarify certain issues.

    According to the MoE, by June 2018, the average registration charge of 61 substances, among all 343 ones which had been registered, stood at 12 million won, and the registration charge for one single substance ranged between 2 million won and 121 million won. Meanwhile, in order to reduce financial burdens on businesses, the Korean government has introduced a set of institutional measures, such as reduced requirements for data submissions, adoption of non-testing data like those generated by modeling approaches and recognition of existing literature or testing data at home and abroad.

    The support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) has been boosted through various initiatives, including quintupling the budget for SME support in 2020, preparation and provision of some testing data at low prices and consulting services throughout the registration process. For instance, as of June 2019, the Korean government had prepared 1,003 pieces of testing data for 149 chemical substances which are urgently needed by SMEs and provided them for such businesses at a marked-down price.

    Some news reports stated that K-REACH was developed referring to EU-REACH which itself is believed to have undermined the competitiveness of the European chemical sector. The MoE rebutted the argument and noted that the European chemical sector has grown substantially after its adoption of a REACH system, quoting the Facts & Figures of the European Chemical Industry Report [3] and a survey [3] conducted by the European Commission to figure out the impact of REACH on the market.

    Besides comments on K-REACH regulations, the media also brought forward some recommendations for the implementation of Chemical Control Act (CCA) rules, such as a tiered management system for enterprises of different sizes. The MoE responded by explaining that such a system has been put in place. Meanwhile, a five-year grace period has been granted to enterprises to handle the existing treatment facilities, and differentiated management measures are taken based on quantity of hazardous substances treated at production sites.

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