Fast track authorization of toxic chemicals handling facilities (Ministry of Environment - MOE)
In accordance with the Chemical Substances Controls Act (initially enacted in 2013 and revised latest March 2020), toxic chemicals handling facilities must undergo an authorization and permission process during which they are tested on conformity, safety, and off-site consequence analysis. The process generally requires up to 75 days. Recognizing that numerous businesses have supply issues due to COVID-19 shutdown, the ministry has decided to streamline the authorization process for those businesses currently producing or handling materials with unstable supplies. The ministry announced on April 8, 2020, that a semiconductor company located in Jeonbuk became the first case to benefit from this fast track. The ministry has promised to facilitate production without jeopardizing on-site safety. Businesses can apply through designated centers under MOTIE. The ministry had previous experience with fast tracking the procedure during the time of Japan’s export regulations in 2019.
Streamlined administrative procedures for chemicals (MOTIE)
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, chemical imports from overseas became largely restricted, and domestic companies faced supply difficulties. In order to address the issue, MOTIE streamlined administrative procedures for chemicals in short supply and registration procedures for 338 items of toxic chemicals in supply chain management due to the COVID-19 crisis (such as sulfur, copper, and titanium). Thanks to the simplified procedures for exemption from chemical substance registration for 44 COVID-19 related chemicals that have been requested by companies, it takes one day for the whole process to be completed, while it used to take 14 days. This fast track can also speed up the research and development of alternatives for chemicals that are highly dependent on imports. By responding in two tracks to the chemical procedures, the Korean government responded promptly to secure production capacity and the possibility of global supply chain disruption.
Streamlined medical waste disposal containers regulations (MOE)
Medical waste disposal containers are used to store and deliver healthcare waste and prevent infection from such waste. There are two types of containers: boxes and bags. To ensure the stable supply of disposal containers, the ministry has temporally relaxed manufacturing standards. The inspection period is shortened from 14 to 7 days with the cooperation of the Korea Environment Corporation, and temporary storage in warehouses is allowed. When necessary, the ministry will allow short-term storage in warehouses even if they do not have dehumidifiers or sun protection.