Describes standards, identifies the national standards, accreditation bodies, and lists the national testing organization(s) and conformity assessment bodies.
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 Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards (FAIRS) report for Korea.
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.
NIST Notify U.S. Service and ePing
Notify U.S. service will be discontinued by the end of this calendar year (2022). The USA TBT Inquiry Point is preparing to rely on ePing for distribution of and access to notifications made under the TBT Agreement. Current active Notify U.S. users will receive notice at least 30 days prior to the discontinuation of notification alerts from the Notify U.S. service.
Anyone who wishes to continue receiving customized e-mail alerts for notifications distributed by the WTO TBT Committee is encouraged to sign up for the WTO’s notification alert service. The recently launched ePing SPS&TBT platform (https://epingalert.org/), or “ePing”, provides access to notifications (https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/tbt_e/tbt_notifications_e.htm) made by WTO Members under the Agreements (https://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/whatis_e/tif_e/agrm1_e.htm) on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), distributed from January 16, 1995 to present. Use ePing 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 (https://epingalert.org/en/Search/TradeConcerns) and to follow and review current and past notifications on products, food safety and animal and plant health measures and/or markets of interest. Register for ePing at https://epingalert.org/en/Account/Registration to receive customized email notification alerts. Further information about ePing is available at https://epingalert.org/en/Resources.
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 (https://unipass.customs.go.kr/clip/index.do). Korea accepts testing results from Korea-accredited testing agencies in the U.S. The tests will have to be based on accepted international testing criteria in Korea.
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 http://www.kolas.go.kr/.
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.
- 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.