China forced global cosmetics brands to use animal tests before entering the market, but is now moving to fall in line with cruelty-free cosmetic tests, writes lawyer Mark Schaub at the China Law Insight. “For international cosmetic companies, this may make the Chinese market more attractive for cruelty-free brands. However, issues will still exist but the direction at least should be applauded,” he says.
This is the first time the Chinese authorities have explicitly on the record opened the door to excluding animal testing for imported cosmetics products across the country.
This also further evidence a trend in that the Chinese authorities are s experiencing a strategic shift in regulatory thinking, moving from strict pre-entry control to a more balanced combination of pre-market regulation and active and on-going post-market supervision.
For international cosmetic companies, this may make the Chinese market more attractive for cruelty free brands. However, issues will still exist but the direction at least should be applauded.
For international cosmetic companies already in the China market or imminently entering then the Measures when implemented would allow for a weaning off Chinese partners in that their own representative office could serve as the domestic responsible person. However, existing players will likely need to negotiate the way to freedom or de-coupling from their Chinese partners as the Measures do hint at agreements being required for existing relationships.
International cosmetic companies will likely cheer the NMPA’s quantitative grading system that will result in more attention being paid to untested, inexperienced or non-compliant manufacturers. Most international cosmetic companies will already meet the requirements under Chinese law.
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