South Korea Korea revises K-REACH for improved designation of substances requiring authorization

Korea revises K-REACH for improved designation of substances requiring authorization

On October 14, 2021, South Korean Ministry of Environment (MOE) published a revised Enforcement Decree on the K-REACH which stipulates that when designating any substance subject to authorization, the government have to select and announce candidate substances in advance, so that the government can fully examine the availability of alternative substances for each substance and the industry can develop response plans for the designation (as of November 18, 2021, substances subject to authorization have not yet been designated or announced). In South Korea, the term “substances subject to authorization” is defined as “chemical substances that are deemed to pose a risk and can be manufactured, imported, or used with the authorization of the Minister of Environment.” By announcing candidate substances in advance, it is expected that a wider range of opinions from industrial organizations, experts, and civil groups would be reflected in the designation of substances subject to authorization.

The revision has also added some chemical substances for which some of data materials required when applying for registration can be omitted. Specifically, for polymeric compounds that are manufactured or imported in quantities less than 1,000 tons per year; and substances for which data materials have been submitted to obtain approval for biocidal substances under the Consumer Chemical Products and Biocides Safety Act (K-BPR), submission of data materials is partly exempted under K-REACH. The MOE explained that documents to be submitted will be partially simplified for polymeric compounds because they generally have a low impact on the environment and human health due to their high molecular weights. For polymeric compounds of less than 1,000 tons, the required documents are the same as those required for general chemical substances of less than 10 tons.

In addition to described above, a provision has been added stipulating that the MOE may request the Korea Customs Service (KCS) to provide data on import and export of chemical substances so that MOE can check the implementation of the mandated chemical substances registration and notification. The MOE plans to ask KCS to provide information on exported and imported goods for which declaration is made under the Customs Act, and to check whether the mandatory registration and declaration are implemented.


The revised version of the Enforcement Decree on the K-REACH can be viewed at: (In Korean Only)

The press release of the MOE on this revision can be viewed at:

Author / Responsibility


Senior Research Associate, Research & Consulting Dept. EnviX Ltd.

Business Performance

In charge of South Asia (India, Bangladesh, etc.), South Korea, Latin America (Mexico, Colombia, etc.) and Turkey for managing infomation on the environmental regulations


MA, Environment, Development and Policy, University of Sussex