The implementation of Korea's grading standard is on hold until the General Assembly of Korea approves an amendment to the law allowing the Korean Lumber Standard, most likely in the beginning of 2017. NIFoS has also confirmed the acceptance of North American structural lumber on an equivalent design value basis to the Korean Standard's three structural grades, provided our grades exceed the established properties of Korean grades. Pending their review of the specific grade requirements, NIFoS indicated their willingness to include a table recognizing three appearance grades for each grade rule agency that are equivalent to the three appearance grades in the Korean Standard.
NIFoS had previously included only WWPA C Select, No2 Com, and No.3 Com as acceptable, to the exclusion of other species and rules. NIFoS confirmed, in the case of both structural and appearance grade lumber, that the requirements to label each piece in Korean, and to the appropriate Korean grade, will be the responsibility of the importer. The trade-off will be a the necessary provision of information to the importer regarding the equivalent Korean grade. It is unclear how this will manifest in the end, but discussion to date includes use of bundle tags or supplemental paperwork, etc.
A remaining unresolved item deals with the proposed Korean Lumber Standard being considered by the Korean General Assembly. It establishes parameters recognizing a foreign inspection institute or body (FQII). NIFoS indicated the Korean Forest Service's (KFS) position remains that ALSC or CSLAB (Canada) will not qualify as FQIIs, but that each accredited agency would be eligible to apply. However, NIFoS also noted that the amendment, if passed, would allow their input beyond that of KFS, and they agreed that recognition of accredited agencies through ALSC or CLSAB provided a much simpler solution than dealing with all the individual agencies.
NIFoS indicated they would continue to provide any further information they receive and noted they understood the reasons expressed by ALSC and CLSAB for recognition of the systems in whole.
For more information on this issue, please contact SEC.