Gov’t to seek the power to force product recalls

Home > Business > Economy

print dictionary print

Gov’t to seek the power to force product recalls

After recent incidents in the automotive and electronic sectors, the government is working to expand its power to force companies to recall their products.

The Ministry of Knowledge Economy said yesterday it is drawing up new regulations so that it can order industrial product manufacturers to recall products when defects are found. Currently, there are regulations that apply only to limited products, mostly in the automotive and food sectors.

“Recall” has recently become one of the ugliest words in the industrial lexicon as Toyota underwent a huge recall of vehicles with defective car components in the United States, Hyundai Motor voluntarily recalled sedans with a door lock problem in the United States and Korea, and LG Electronics voluntarily recalled front-loading washing machines sold in Korea to install safer doors.

The Toyota incident, in particular, attests to how damaging and costly it can be to delay a response.

“Because there have been no such regulations that encompass all industrial products, what we did has been mostly just damage control,” said Jang Hyeok-jo at the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards, which operates under the ministry.

One well-known case includes a series of laptop battery blasts that led, belatedly, to a new regulation concerning such products. Under the new rule, the government can enforce a company to recall its products at any stage - shipment, distribution or consumption.

According to the ministry, the new regulation, slated to come into effect next February, will be applied only to industrial products that the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards monitors, but it is expected to soon be expanded to a wider range of goods, and eventually to affect entire industries.

But some industry experts say it is unlikely that the government-initiated mandatory recall will be rampant, considering the situation in United States where mandatory recalls account for just around 10 percent. The remaining recalls are voluntary.


By Kim Hyung-eun, Kwon Ho [hkim@joongang.co.kr]


Related Korean Article

정부, 이르면 내년 2월 시행



정부가 리콜 제도 개선에 나섰다. 28일 지식경제부 기술표준원에 따르면 정부는 문제가 있는 공산품에 강제 리콜 명령을 내릴 수 있도록 하는 내용의 제품안전기본계획법 시행령을 만들고 있다. 현재는 자동차안전관리법이나 식품위생법 등에 일부 품목을 대상으로 한 강제 리콜 제도가 있다. 그러나 각종 신제품이나 저가 수입제품 등은 문제가 생겨도 이를 강제 리콜할 방법이 없다.

기술표준원 안전정책과 장혁조 연구관은 “각종 공산품의 리콜을 포괄하는 규정이 없어 사후약방문식의 조치를 할 수밖에 없었다”며 “관계부처 회의에서도 강제 리콜을 포함한 시행령을 만들기로 의견을 모은 상태”라고 설명했다. 현재는 뒷북 대응이 많았다. 노트북 배터리 폭발 사고가 일어난 후에야 개별법(품질경영 및 공산품안전관리법)의 안전기준을 개정해 관리 대상에 포함하는 식이었다. 석면 성분이 섞인 화장품도 마찬가지였다. 이런 가운데 제품 하자로 인한 인한 소비자 안전사고는 2005년 4175건에서 2008년 9796건으로 매년 큰 폭으로 늘고 있다.


  • 한글 기사 보기

  • More in Economy

    23rd property measure gets a 'not-in-my-backyard' welcome

    All about the Benjamins

    New way for young to buy apartments sparks interest

    Expensive apartment buyers be forewarned, says Hong

    Key face mask material can now be exported

    Log in to Twitter or Facebook account to connect
    with the Korea JoongAng Daily
    help-image Social comment?
    lock icon

    To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.

    Standards Board Policy (0/250자)

    What’s Popular Now