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The Amendment to the Chemicals Control Act (“CCA”), as proposed by the MOE and promulgated on December 27, 2016, is scheduled to take effect on December 28, 2017 (the “Amendment”).
Through the Amendment, the MOE appears to strengthen the control of hazardous chemical substances marketed as chemical reagents by requiring a person or company engaged in the sale of chemical reagents, but exempted from obtaining the relevant business permit, to report the business of selling chemical reagents.
Also, the Amendment requires distributors to verify the buyer’s identity when engaging in an online sale of hazardous chemical substances, aiming to efficiently cope with the ever-diversifying distribution structure.
Further, in the event of a chemical accident, the Amendment allows an order to suspend all work directly at the site of the accident to strengthen control over chemical handling facilities.
Key aspects of the Amendment:
1) Obligation to report the business of selling chemical reagents, and potential criminal sanctions
A person or company engaged in the sale, retention/storage, shipping or use of a chemical reagent, which corresponds to hazardous chemical substances, for its intended purpose of testing, research or inspection, is currently exempted from obtaining the relevant business permit under the CCA.
However, the Amendment requires a person or company intending to sell a chemical reagent for its intended purpose of testing, research or inspection to report the business of selling chemical reagents to the MOE.
Failure to report will be subject to an imprisonment of up to one year or a criminal fine of up to KRW 30 million.
In addition, the Amendment requires the person or company selling a chemical reagent for testing, research or inspection to notify the buyer that the given chemical reagent must be used for the intended purpose only, and that the relevant hazardous chemical substance handling standards must be complied to when handling it. A violation of this notification requirement shall be subject to an administrative fine of up to KRW 3 million.
2) Obligation to self-certify when purchasing hazardous chemical substances online, and potential criminal sanctions
Currently, the CCA does not regulate identification verification process when purchasing hazardous chemical substance online.
However, the Amendment obliges a distributor who sells hazardous chemical substances online to check the real name and age of the buyer, and to verify the buyer’s identification.
A violation of this obligation shall be subject to a criminal fine of up to KRW 5 million.
3) Official’s authority to issue work suspension order against chemical handling facilities on-site in the event of a chemical accident, and potential criminal sanctions >
The Amendment provides that, if deemed necessary to dispatch an on-site emergency response coordinator (i.e., an MOE official with the requisite qualifications) to a chemical accident site, such on-site emergency response coordinator may order work suspension against the relevant chemical substance handling facilities.
A failure to follow such order shall be subject to an imprisonment of up to three years or a criminal fine of up to KRW 50 million.
Since the Amendment is expected to be materialized in further detail through the lower regulations to the CCA, you may wish to continuously monitor the relevant legislative developments.