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Eco-Laws May Hurt S. Korea’s Electronics Exports
Oct 5, 2004
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South Korea’s electronics and electrical products industry is concerned about a possible drop in exports as other global regions, particularly European Union (EU) member countries, are tightening environmental protection rules.

The eco-regulations most expected to hamper South Korean exports in the near future are the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive and the restriction of us of certain hazardous substances in the RoHS Directive, which will take effect July 1, 2006 in the EU.

Under the WEEE Directive, electronics goods producers have to set up systems for the treatment of waste electrical and electronic equipment. The RoHS Directive restricts the use of six substances, such as lead, cadmium, and mercury, in a wide range of electrical and electronic products.

Electrical and electronics producers outside the EU must also comply with the WEEE and RoHS Directives if the equipment they produce is ultimately imported into an EU member state. Both directives cover more than 200,000 products, including South Korea’s key exports including cell phones, communication equipment, TV sets, air-conditioners, refrigerators, and personal computers.

Officials from South Korea’s Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy (MOCIE) are concerned that local exporters aren’t doing enough to respond to other nations’ increased environmental regulations. According to the MOCIE, the electrical-electronics goods exports to the EU amount to $11.6 billion.

Besides the EU regulations, South Korea’s other two major exporting markets, China and the U.S., have adopted similar environmental legislation. Companies that may possibly experience a drop in imports are said to include South Korea’s two largest electrical and electronics producers, Samsung and LG Electric.

“The government and industry must firm up joint efforts to develop eco-friendly materials and technology in a bid to cope with environment trade barriers,” MOICE officials said. (The Korea Times)

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