Overview of the UNECE Reg. 90
UNECE R90 provides a unified framework for the approval of replacement brake lining assemblies, drum brake linings, discs and drums for motor vehicles and their trailers.
The UNECE R90, which includes key spare parts for brakes, is closely linked to the UNECE R13/R13-H and R78, which regulate braking systems for commercial vehicles/cars and motorcycles respectively. The provisions concerning the drum brake lining apply in particular to medium and heavy vehicles and trailers.
While this rule concerns specific situations for replacement brake pads, these products may alternatively be approved by UNECE R13/13-H or R78. Consequently, products approved under the above rules do not require subsequent re-approval under UNECE R90 for use in vehicle maintenance.
What does this mean for the Korean market?
On the one hand, the EU-KOREA Free Trade Agreement (legally effective from May 2011 in the Republic of Korea) is set out in Article 3 (a) (ii):
“Korea shall accept any product that complies with the
requirements listed in Table 1 of Appendix 2-C-3 as
complying with the corresponding provisions of the applicable
Korean technical regulations (1)”.
In Annex 2-C-3 (which together indicate which UNECE regulations comply with the Korean regulations) it is stated that UNECE Reg. 13 H complies with KMVSS Article 15 and Article 90 Item 2 for passenger car brakes. The local authorities should accept the UNECE Reg. 13 H type approvals for OEM replacement brake pads, as these are part of the brakes as a system for which the Korean authorities accept the type approvals according to EU Korea FTA.
On the other hand, it is stated in the KMVSS itself that “… the brake hose and brake lining installed in motor vehicles shall comply with the standards of Articles 112-2 and 112-10”.
Article 110-12 states: “(Brake lining) The brake lining used in a vehicle shall comply with the requirements of Table 30-6”.
Comparison of UNECE Reg. 90 and the KMVSS
The above-mentioned Table 30-6 and UNECE Regulation 90 are very similar with regard to the technical aspects of (replacement) brake linings. (see Table 30-06 of the KMVSS and topics 22.214.171.124.1. and 126.96.36.199.2 in UNECE Reg. 90).
With this information, it can be assumed that the local Korean authorities only accept UNECE Reg. 90 for replacement brake pads, as these are not part of a brake system either, but arrive and are imported separately packaged at customs in Korea), and thus UNECE Reg. 90 is most similar to KMVSS 110-12.
The situation depends on two points of discussion: How much do the Korean authorities want to blame foreign importers and car manufacturers for their own interpretation of the regulations and how much weight do they place on the legal aspect of importing replacement brake pads and not on consumer protection or technical aspects?
There are now three ways to meet this challenge:
1. issue a letter of confirmation from the OEM confirming that the imported replacement brake pads meet the technical criteria of Table 30-06 in KMVSS.
2. re-certification of replacement brake pads according to UNECE Reg. 90
3. on-the-spot certification of replacement brake linings in Korea in accordance with Articles 110-12.
This issue is more important than other after-sales products due to the volume of replacement brake pads supplied to Korea and the associated sanctions if the Korean authorities do not accept the documents provided after the self-certification process.