Policy convergence between Korea and the European Union in the field of chemical controls

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This paper analyzes the process of policy convergence between the European Union (EU) and Korea with respect to regulating chemicals. Its framework for policy convergence includes international and domestic influences on why and how policy convergence occurs, what is transferred, and what risks are involved. The following findings flow from the case study analysis. First, policy convergence between Korea and the EU has occurred not only due to external factors such as diffusion and regulatory competition but also due to internal factors including concerns about competitiveness and domestic environmental and health accidents relating to chemicals. Second, policy convergence between Korea and the EU results in many similarities, but differences as well. Similarities between Act on the Registration and Evaluation of Chemicals (AREC) and the Regulation of Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals of the EU (EU REACH) show that chemical control would be strengthened as the end result of policy convergence. On the other hand, the differences between AREC and EU REACH imply that policy from the EU was adjusted in Korea in response to domestic conditions. This policy adjustment creates risks that can weaken the original purpose of policy and possibilities that can strengthen it. Lastly, despite adjustments that weakened some components of chemical controls, policy convergence between the EU and Korea results in Korean society entering a new phase of managing chemicals for a safer society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-412
Number of pages18
JournalAsia Europe Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2015


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