● The Korean Agency for Technology and Standards (KATS) operates accreditation schemes in accordance with the “Framework Act on National Standards” and ISO/IEC 17011. It steadily participates in ILAC, IAF, APAC and other international conferences related to accreditation schemes, and interlaboratory proficiency tests hosted by APAC.
The Korea Laboratory Accreditation Scheme (KOLAS) is a part of KATS and is in charge of establishment of national standard systems and operation of industrial standardizations. Its work includes matters related to safety and quality as well as measurement of industrial products, examination of and R&D support for industrial technologies, and operation of accreditation schemes for testing laboratories, calibration laboratories, inspection bodies, reference material producers, medical testing laboratories, proficiency testing providers, product certification bodies, biobanks and validation & verification bodies. It governs work related to cooperation and exchanges between countries or international organizations related to standardization. The administrator of KATS acts as the Head of KOLAS.
Since its foundation, KOLAS has established accreditation schemes conforming to international standards, advanced its operational capability for accreditation schemes to an international level, and continuously provided education and training to improve the competence of KOLAS accredited Conformity Assessment Bodies.
Consequently, the credibility of KOLAS accredited testing and calibration laboratories has been acknowledged internationally. To actively respond to TBT (Technical Barriers to Trade) imposed by developed countries, KOLAS signed APLAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) in October 1998, subsequently signed ILAC MRA for testing and calibration in November 2000 and May 2001 respectively, and APLAC and ILAC MRA for medical testing in December 2016. In March 2023, proficiency testing providers and reference materials producers accreditation scopes were added to ILAC MRA of KOLAS.
In April 2021, KOLAS merged with Korea Accreditation System (KAS) and initiated product certification accredited scheme under KOLAS. KAS signed PAC MLA (Multilateral Recognition Arrangement) in July 2007, subsequently signed IAF MLA in October 2007 under the scope of Product certification accreditation scheme. Then, in March 2023, KOLAS signed IAF MLA for GLOBALG.A.P. scheme accreditation scope.
As of 2023, APAC MRA is joined by 55 accreditation bodies from 33 economies, ILAC MRA is joined by 109 accreditation bodies from 116 economies, and IAF MLA is joined by 83 accreditation bodies from 5 recognized regions for mutual recognition of accredited reports and certifications among members.
- Link to ILAC member countries (www.ilac.org/ilac-mra-and-signatories)
* International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC)
- Link to IAF member countries (www.iaf.nu/en/recognised-abs/)
* International Accreditation Forum (IAF)
- Link to APAC member countries (www.apac-accreditation.org/membership)
* Asia-Pacific Accreditation Cooperation (APAC)
● KOLAS secures and executes the budget for its operations in accordance with the National Finance Act. The process is based on the relevant project (Establishment of International Conformity Assessment Infrastructure) of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
● KOLAS compensates for any damage for which they are responsible that occurs during KOLAS accreditation activities in accordance with the State Compensation Act.