South Korea - Country Commercial Guide
Standards for Trade
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Korea’s standards development follows the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), and the World Trade Organization (WTO) Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement (TBT). Under the WTO, the Korean Government is required to alert the WTO Committee of Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) on any changes in standards with 60 days of notice for comments before implementation.

The Korean Agency for Technology and Standards (KATS) oversees the development of Korean Standards (KS), collecting input from both public and private sectors through its technical committees. Today there are over 20,000 KS. In addition to KS, many other types of standards are used in Korea, including those developed by ISO, IEC, and other international standards developers; regional standards; foreign national standards; and others.

In Korea, the standardization system is becoming more market-driven and bottom-up, allowing standards users to drive standardization activities. KATS has begun designating Co-operating Organizations for Standards Development (COSDs), which participate in the development of national standards and strengthen the capability of the private sector to expand their role in the standards development process.

Details regarding standards and import regulations for food and agricultural products can be found on the Foreign Agricultural Service website and from the FAIRS Country.


The Korean Agency for Technology and Standards (KATS) develops standards for most industrial products in Korea. The agency consults with other private organizations to develop standards and certification requirements.

The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) establishes standards for research, new product evaluation, test method development, product monitoring for food, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and radiation technology distributed within Korea.

The Telecommunications Technology Association (TTA) covers telecommunications, information technology, radio communications and broadcasting. The Association establishes industry standards and has been instrumental in creating the current Korean Information and Communication Standards. TTA also collaborates with international and national standards organizations, such as ITU and other organizations.

Testing, Inspection and Certification

To find out if your products require certification in order to import into Korea, you can search the Korean Customs website via HS Codes ( Korea accepts testing results from Korea-accredited testing agencies in the United States. The tests will have to be based on accepted international testing criteria in Korea.

Product Certification

KATS issues certification marks for new technologies and recognizes quality products manufactured by Korean companies mainly to promote exports and imports into Korea. On July 1, 2009, KATS began issuing the KC Mark for items that fall under its jurisdiction.

Information related to the KC Mark in English can be found at the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) website. The KC Mark is required to reduce and minimize repetitive testing at various ministries and agencies. The consolidation of these marks ensures that companies, both Korean and foreign, will save time and costs due to reduced redundancies introduced into this new system.


Korea Accreditation System (KAS) is a national accreditation body established in 2001 within the framework of Korean Agency for Technology and Standards (KATS) which is a governmental body under the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy (MOTIE). The Administrator of KATS serves as the Head of KAS. Additional information and accreditation bodies can be found under the KOLAS website at

Publication of Technical Regulations

Revised or new standards or technical regulations are published by the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards (KATS). The articles are generally published only in Korean. All proposed or newly revised/established technical regulations are consolidated on this site.

Proposed revisions or establishment of regulations in Korea are made by the Director of Technical Regulations via the KATS website. A public meeting consisting of lawmakers as well as relevant private/public industry organizations is held to comment on proposed regulations. Contact the U.S. Embassy, Commercial Section for assistance with revised or new standards.

The ePing SPS and TBT platform (, or “ePing,” provides access to notifications made by WTO Members under the Agreements on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), distributed by the WTO from January 16, 1995 to present.  ePing is available to all stakeholders free of charge and does not require registration unless the user wishes to receive customized e-mail alerts.  Use it to browse notifications on past as well as new draft and updated product regulations, food safety and animal and plant health standards and regulations, find information on trade concerns discussed in the WTO SPS and TBT Committees, locate information on SPS/TBT Enquiry Points and notification authorities, and to follow and review current and past notifications concerning regulatory actions on products, packaging, labeling, food safety and animal and plant health measures in markets of interest.

Per obligation under the TBT Agreement, each WTO Member operates a national TBT (and an SPS) Enquiry Point.  National TBT Enquiry Points are authorized to accept comments and official communications from other national TBT Enquiry Points, which are NOT part of the WTO or the WTO Secretariat.  All comment submissions from U.S. stakeholders, including businesses, trade associations, U.S domiciled standards development organizations and conformity assessment bodies, consumers, or U.S. government agencies on notifications to the WTO TBT Committee should be sent directly to the U.S. WTO TBT Inquiry Point.  Refer to the comment guidance at for further information. This guidance is provided to assist U.S. stakeholders in the preparation and submission of comments in response to notifications of proposed foreign technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures. Notify U.S., a service formerly maintained by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to provide access to notifications, is no longer operating.

Contact Information 

·        Korean Agency for Technology and Standards (KATS)

·        Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS)

·        Korean Laboratory Accreditation Scheme (KOLAS)

·        Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) are required under the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Agreement) to notify to the WTO proposed technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures that could affect trade.