South Korea: Standards

A Hot Tip about Customs in South Korea

Posted on: 6 Jan 2010


The Korean Government adopted the ISO 9000 system (modified as the KSA 9000) as the official standard system in April 1992. The Korean Agency for Technology and Standards (KATS) continues to work to make Korean standards consistent with international standards. The Korean Industrial Standardization Act requires 60 days’ notice before implementing new standards. Whenever there is a change in standards, the government is required to notify the WTO’s Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT).

Details regarding standards and import regulations for food and agricultural products can be found in on Foreign Agricultural Service website in the Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards (FAIRS) report for Korea.


Standards Organizations

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

The Korean Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) 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 the ITU and other organizations.


Conformity Assessment

KATS establishes guidelines for government and private sector institutes to perform reliability assessment and certification. It also performs market surveillance on KSmarked products and penalizes products that do not meet KS requirements.

Korea is a signatory to the GATT Standards Agreement. As such, Korea must apply open procedures for the adoption of standards, announces recommended standards, provide sufficient information on proposed standards or alterations in standards, and to allow sufficient time for countries and other stakeholders to comment on proposed standards implementation.


Product Certification

Generally, private industrial organizations oversee import certification procedures. KATS, however, also issues certification marks for new technologies and recognizes quality products manufactured by Korean companies mainly to promote exports. The Korea Standards Quality Certification Association offers consulting advice and preparation for ISO9000, ISO14000, KS, TS16949, HACCP, UL, and CE.

Korea is a member of the ANSI – RAB (American National Standards Institute-Registrar Accreditation Board) Multilateral Recognition Agreement.



Established in December 1992, the Korea Laboratory Accreditation Scheme (KOLAS) is The Korea Laboratory Accreditation Scheme (KOLAS) is the government accreditation body under the KATS Department of Technology and Standards Planning. Additional information can be found under the KOLAS website at


Technical Regulations

Revised or new standards or technical regulations are published by the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards (KATS) and made available on their website at The articles, more frequently than not, are published only in Korean. All proposed or newly revised/established technical regulations are consolidated at this site.

Proposed revisions or establishment of regulations in Korean are made to the Director of Technical Regulations via the website at 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.


Labeling and Marking

Country of origin labeling is required for commercial shipments entering Korea. The Korean Customs Service (KCS) publishes a list of the country of origin labeling requirements by Harmonized System Code number. Click “Country of Origin” for more information on markings.

Further labeling and marking requirements for specific products, such as pharmaceutical and food products, are covered by specific regulations from the Korean Government agencies responsible for these items. Korean language labels, except for country of origin markings that must be shown at the time of customs clearance, can be attached locally on products in the bonded area either before or after clearance.




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Posted: 06 January 2010

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