South Korea Korea strengthens the management of hazardous chemicals under Chemicals Control Act

In cooperation with National Tax Service and Korea Customs Service

On November 19, 2021, South Korea Ministry of Environment (MOE) published and enforced an amended Presidential Decree of Chemicals Control Act (CCA) by (No. 32128), which outlines information sharing among government departments to strengthen the management of hazardous chemicals. The CCA stipulates that hazardous chemical business operators must safely dispose of the hazardous chemicals in their establishments in advance when they suspend or close their business and then report to the Ministry. However, according to recent investigation by the MOE, some establishments have been exposed for reporting their suspension or closure only to the National Tax Service and leaving the hazardous chemicals in their premises untreated. Under the circumstances, the MOE plans to obtain information from the National Tax Service on business sites that have been suspended or closed and inspect the sites of business that are suspected of violating the law based on that information.

The MOE also plans to request the Korea Customs Service to share customs clearance data related to import declarant, product names, and quantities of chemical substances in real time, which the Korea Customs Service holds in accordance with the Customs Act. Currently, the CCA requires importers of toxic substances to submit details of confirmation of chemicals and to make an import declaration of toxic substances, so the MOE plans to inspect the implementation of the Act based on the customs clearance data from the Korea Customs Service.

Chemical Control Act, Presidential Decree No. 32128
https://www.law.go.kr/LSW/lsInfoP.do?lsiSeq=236789&viewCls=lsRvsDocInfoR#

 

According to Article 59 of the CCA, imprisonment for not more than three years or a fine not exceeding 50 million KRW is imposed for failure to dispose of remaining hazardous chemicals. An administrative fine of up to ten million KRW is imposed for failure to declare the suspension or closure of the business.

Details of obligatory provisions to be inspected Penal provisions
Where a hazardous chemical business operator intends to close or suspend his/her business or does not operate hazardous chemical handling facilities for a certain time period, he/she shall dispose of hazardous chemicals and report to the Minister of Environment. Imprisonment for not more than three years or a fine not exceeding 50 million KRW
Any person who intends to manufacture or import chemical substances shall verify whether the relevant chemical substances or any ingredient thereof falls under any of the following and submit the details thereof to the Minister of Environment.

  • Existing chemicals
  • New chemicals
  • Toxic chemicals
  • Chemicals requiring a permission
  • Restricted chemicals/Prohibited chemicals
  • Chemicals requiring preparation for accidents
An administrative fine of up to ten million KRW is imposed for failure to submit the details of confirmation of chemicals
Any person who intends to import toxic chemicals shall report the types, purposes, contained amount, and expected import volume to the Ministry of Environment. Imprisonment for not more than one year or a fine not exceeding 30 million KRW is imposed for not making import declaration of toxic substances

 

The press release of Ministry of Environment regarding this article can be viewed at the following URL (in Korean).
http://me.go.kr/home/web/board/read.do?pagerOffset=80&maxPageItems=10&maxIndexPages=10&searchKey=&searchValue=&menuId=10525&orgCd=&boardId=1487780&boardMasterId=1&boardCategoryId=&decorator=