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South Korea Addresses Export Difficulties at WTO TBT Meeting
China to Improve Regulations on Imported Food Products
South Korea Addresses Export Difficulties at WTO TBT Meeting
  • By Jung Suk-yee
  • June 24, 2019, 11:49
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The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety located in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province

The Korean Agency for Technology and Standards of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety announced on June 23 that they officially raised objections to obstacles to international trade and reached agreements for deregulation with their counterparts at the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) held in Geneva, Switzerland from June 17 to 21.

At the meeting, the agency and the ministry talked over a total of 28 technical barriers related to energy efficiency and quality and safety certifications with the regulatory authorities of 12 countries and raised Specific Trade Concerns (STC) objections to seven out of the 28 cases with the United States and Japan. The STC relate to negative trade factors that need to be urgently addressed by international coordination.

As a result of bilateral and multilateral talks with the authorities, the agency and the ministry reached agreements for deregulation and postponed implementation regarding 12 cases with China and six Latin American, Middle Eastern and EU countries.

For example, China decided to improve its regulations related to cyber security and imported food products. It reconfirmed the principle of protection of IT product and service suppliers’ intellectual property rights with regard to its Network Security Law and decided to reflect specific provisions for secret leakage prevention in its regulations. In addition, it is going to clarify the scope of key IT infrastructure businesses subject to regulations and come up with detailed guidelines with regard to overseas transfer of personal information and important data. When it comes to food import, compulsory certification by each exporting country is going to be postponed and food import regulations are going to be improved in compliance with international standards.

As for the European Union, energy efficiency labeling will be unified and simplified and labels applied to dishwashers, which currently differ from distribution channel to distribution channel, will be unified. Also, vague items can be excluded from compulsory product information details so that disputes and risks can be reduced with regard to corporate responsibilities.

The Latin American and Middle Eastern countries are going to mutually recognize overseas test results or postpone the implementation of related regulations until testing and certification infrastructure completion. The South Korean government explained that those countries are accelerating the introduction of energy efficiency regulations these days. Peru is not going to apply its energy efficiency regulations on consumer electronics until testing agency designation and is going to clarify its standards related to washing machine temperature tests and follow-up management so South Korean exporters can better respond to certification duties. Costa Rica will accept the results of tests in Mexico regarding the energy efficiency of refrigerators, which is expected to alleviate South Korean exporters’ burden in Latin American markets.

GCC Standardization Organization (GSO) members decided not to apply their Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) to construction vehicles for non-road use. Kuwait stated that energy efficiency regulations on air conditioners will be based on not the date of sale but the date of customs clearance, which means less regulatory burden on inventory products that already cleared customs. Vietnam changed its tire certificate issuance method but extended the effective period of South Korean suppliers’ existing test results by six months, allowing a sufficient period for new test sheets.