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South Korea bans 1700 tech products for using forged test reports

Huawei, Cisco, and Samsung caught out as US-based testing labs allegedly sent work to China

South Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT has revoked safety certification for 1696 communications products after discovering that test results attesting to their safety were misrepresented.

A Ministry annnouncement explains that it received a tip-off that numerous test reports for telecoms and broadcast tech had not been conducted in labs covered by international reciprocity agreements.

The tests are routine affairs to ensure that devices don’t emit harmful radiation, and several nations have signed up to a mutual recognition agreement that allows tests conducted in one nation to be widely accepted elsewhere.

The Ministry claims the tests to which it objects were conducted by a US company called Bay Area Compliance Laboratories (BACL), and paperwork said the work was done in San Francisco.

After investigating the tip it received the Ministry learned that, while BACL did the testing, the work was done in the Chinese city of Dongguan.

China is not a signatory to the mutual recognition agreement regarding this type of testing.

The Ministry has therefore withdrawn the relevant products from the distribution channel and offered consumers the chance to return them.

Some big names have been caught by the incident. Huawei’s network equipment accounts for 136 of the snared products, while Samsung has problems with 23 wireless speakers.

Cisco is in strife over half a dozen wireless phones, and gaming hardware vendor Razer has 32 products — among them laptops and headsets — to sort out.

The Ministry’s actions don’t reflect any enmity towards China or doubts about BACL’s China operations. Rather, the revocations appear to be bureaucracy at its finest — the rules demand that these tests need to be done in a nation covered by international agreements, and China is not one of those nations. ®


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