Market Access Restrictions in South Korea – An Overview of KC Certification.
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Market Access Restrictions in South Korea – An Overview of KC Certification.

From 01.07.2009 the “Korean Agency for Technology and Standards” (KATS) has introduced a new certification mark with the “Korea Certification” (KC) mark. The new KC mark is intended to combine a total of thirteen different certification marks that have been required by the mandatory certification systems to date.
Since 01.11.2011, certifications prescribed by all Korean ministries have been provided with the KC mark – automotive parts must also be marked with the KC mark.

Importance for the automotive sector

The Republic of Korea has introduced a self-certification system since 2003. Under the self-certification system, the government provides the safety standards for motor vehicles to ensure the safety of vehicles. The manufacturers themselves certify whether the vehicles produced meet the safety standards internally. The government will carry out self-certification audits at a later stage and, if necessary, order a recall if a product does not meet the required safety standards.

In the case of imported vehicles – if the Korean representative of the foreign manufacturer is appointed – it is assumed that the respective manufacturer has the ability to self-certify.

The certification proof should be affixed in the vehicle if the self-certification is carried out by the manufacturer (KC mark).

Automotive-related laws and regulations

The Korean “Motor Vehicle Management Act” specifies the different types of vehicles and their registration, the general provision of safety standards and self-certification of motor vehicles, as well as the way in which the correction of production deficits is to be carried out. Further topics related to the efficient management of vehicles are also part of this framework.
The “Motor Vehicle Management Act” consists of a total of 88 articles, which are divided into over ten chapters and additional articles.

The Korea Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (KMVSS) consist of a total of four chapters, Chapter 1 describing the general rules, Chapter 2 the technical characteristics for vehicles and two-wheeled vehicles, Chapter 3 the safety standards for manufactured vehicles (including spare parts for motor vehicles) and Chapter 4 additional provisions.
The KMVSS is the most important document on technical criteria of motor vehicles and two-wheeled vehicles for the South Korean market.

Relevant product categories for the Automotive Aftermarket

The spare parts categories currently to be marked with a KC mark are limited to the following product categories:

  • Brake hoses (FMVSS 106)
  • Safety belt equipment (UNECE Reg. 16)
  • Headlights (UNECE Reg. 98, 112, 128)
  • Reflector (UNECE Reg. 3)
  • rear underride guard (UNECE Reg. 58)
  • Brake pads (UNECE Reg. 90)
  • Rims (UNECE Reg. 124)
  • Safety glass (UNECE Reg 43)
  • Rear number plates for heavy and long vehicles (UNECE Reg. 70)
  • Reflective paper
  • Reflective tapes (UNECE Reg. 70)
  • Warning triangles (UNECE Reg. 27)
  • Registration plate for heavy and slow vehicles (UNECE Reg. 69)
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Marco Mauler
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