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K-REACH: The Act on Registration and Evaluation of Chemicals

By Little Pro on 2015-12-31 Views:  Update:2018-02-09

The Act on Registration and Evaluation, etc of Chemical Substances (K-REACH) was promulgated on 22 May 2013 by the Ministry of Environment in South Korea and comes into force on 1 Jan 2015. The Act is also well-known as K-REACH due to its similarity to the EU REACH regulation.

Main Requirements of K-REACH

Under K-REACH, any person who intends to manufacture or import a new chemical substance or at least one ton per year of a designated existing chemical substance shall register the chemical substance before he/she manufactures or imports ("registration"). K-REACH also sets out requirements for companies to report the volume and uses of substances they manufacture/import("annual report") and notify products containing hazardous chemicals substances("product notification"). Foreign manufacturers who export chemical substances to Korea may appoint a Korea-based only representative to submit annual report or registrations or product notifications.

Like EU REACH, K-REACH also restricts the use of certain hazardous chemical substances in consumer products and articles. [Read more...]

The picture below is an overview of K-REACH.

K-REACH overview

To understand the impact of Korea REACH regulation on your business, you only need to:

  • Check if your products are within the scope of K-REACH;
  • Identity your obligations under K-REACH;

Alert: Major K-REACH Amendments

Jan 2017, K-REACH has recently gone through some major amendments. Some info on this page is no longer accurate. For the latest updates of K-REACH amendments, please click here.

If you manufacture chemicals or import chemicals, you not only need to comply with K-REACH, but also needs to comply with Chemicals Control Act (CCA).

Scope of K-REACH

Within Scope
  • Substance on its own - new substance(1) & existing substances;
  • Substance in a mixture; and
  • Product(2) containing hazardous substance and product of risk concern(3);
Out of Scope
  • Naturally occurring substances;
  • Chemicals subject to other laws: cosmetics, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, fertilizer, etc;
  • Solid articles (4) that do not contain any substances intended to be released.


1.'New substance' is a substance that is not listed on Korean Existing Chemicals List(KECL). More info about KECLcan be found here.

2.'Product' is a unique concept under K-REACH. A product means a mixture or an article used by consumers or a component of the mixture or the article that may expose consumers to chemical substances.

3.'Product of risk concern' means a chemical product annouced by the Ministry of Environment due to its potential to pose risks to human health and the environment. There are two main categories: consumer-use chemicals(detergent, etc.) and biocides(disinfectant, etc.).

4. K-REACH does not specify that articles(car,etc.) are outside of the scope. However, articles that do not contain any substances intended to be released are exempt from most of K-REACH obligations such as reporting, registration and product notification. Article companies need to comply with K-REACH provisions on substance registration and prohibition

Industry's Obligations under K-REACH

Most of K-REACH obligations fall on manufacturers and importers in Korea. Foreign manufacturers may appoint Korea-based only representatives to comply with K-REACH.

Obligation Target Who/When
Annual Report
  • New substance;
  • Existing substance(>=1t/y)
  • Who: M/I/seller
  • First deadline:30 June 2016
  • New substance;
  • Designated existing substance(>=1t/y);and
  • <1t/y existing substance if required by MoE.
  • Who: M/I
  • New substance: No grace period.
  • Designated Existing substance: 3 years grace period since its publication.
Product Notification
  • Products containing more than 1t/y hazardous substance
  • Who: M/I/seller
  • Deadline: to be determined.


Some substances or products are exempt from annual report or registration or product notification. Some exemptions require prior confirmation while some exemptions do not require prior confirmation. For more info about above K-REACH obligations, please click the links below:

How to Comply with K-REACH - for Foreign Companies

Items What to Do
Annual Report
  • Draw up a list of substances exported to Korea including its use & volume;
  • Decide who will do annual reporting : M/I/OR;
  • Check KECI;
  • Track the list of designated existing substances subject to registration;
  • Determine the right type of registration: confirmation on exemption, simplified, or general registration
Product Notification
  • Identify if your product requires notification;
  • Determine who will do product notification: M/I/OR
Product of Risk Concern
  • Check if your product is on the list of product of risk concern;
  • Check if there is any safety & labelling standard for your product;
  • If your product is on the list and there is no existing standard, apply for approval from MoE;
  • Check if your product contains any restricted/prohibited substances (i.e, Formaldehyde).
  • Comply with provisions on restriction.


Comparison between EU REACH and K-REACH

Registration Target
  • New substance(>=1t/y);
  • Existing substance(>=1t/y)
  • New substance;
  • Designated existing substance(>=1t/y);and
  • <1t/y existing substance if required by MoE.
Tonnage Band
  • EU: 1-10t,10-100t,100-1000t,1000t+
  • Korea: <1t/y (for new substances only),1-10t,10-100t,100-1000t,1000t+
  • EU: Registration of monomer
  • Korea: Registration of polymer
Only Representative
  • EU: Yes
  • Korea: Yes
Unique things
  • EU: Late pre-registration
  • EU: SVHC notification
  • Korea: Annual report
  • Korea: Product notification


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 Tags: Topics - KoreaREACH-like Regulation and Registration

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