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Backing International Regulatory Convergence and Competitiveness

Benefits of international regulatory convergence

Regulatory complexity is an obstacle to the global competitiveness of the European cosmetics and personal care industry. A fragmented regulatory framework can generate additional cost, complexity and duplication, and limit market access.

We work with associations and other partners across the globe to seek regulatory convergence where possible. In particular, we seek to reduce technical barriers to trade and drive for compatible legal requirements, and where appropriate, encourage others to use the EU Cosmetics Regulation as an inspiration for their own legislation, which many emerging markets have, including ASEAN, Russia, Latin America and China.

We believe international regulatory convergence can make European industry more competitive, but also that it can boost innovation, increase safety, and ultimately improve trust and confidence amongst consumers, regulators and other stakeholders.

How we drive international regulatory convergence

Cosmetics Europe operates internationally to proactively address global challenges and drive regulatory convergence, largely through the following means:

  • Continuous best practice development with our international partners, by working on specific modules of regulation and trying to identify best practices
  • Generating incentives to harmonise regulation on the basis of international best practice
  • Jointly identifiying priority issues of regulatory divergence across the main trading regions
  • Addressing these issues in collaboration with the European Commission and the third country authorities
  • Avoiding divergence on new issues
  • Working with local authorities across the world to help develop local industries, support growth and in-market access for companies
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International Cooperation on Cosmetics Regulation (ICCR)

Established in 2007, ICCR is an international group of regulatory authorities from Brazil, Canada, EU, Japan and the United States. Cosmetics Europe is one of seven relevant cosmetics industry trade associations participating in the ICCR work.


The ICCR’s aim is to maximise consumer protection by working towards and promoting regulatory convergence, while minimising barriers to trade. ICCR meets on an annual basis and holds regular teleconference meetings throughout the ICCR cycle.

Achievements to date include 26 joint on key topics for the cosmetics and personal care sector, like international standards, product preservation, safety assessment, allergens, traces and other key issues. ICCR publications provide guidance, points of reference and standards for use by ICCR members and other regulatory authorities worldwide as appropriate in each jurisdiction.

Recently, the ICCR developed the following key documents:

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Current priority areas

Regulatory reform in China

In line with overall reform trends, in 2014/2015 China formally embarked on a reform path to move its cosmetics regulation towards a modern in-market, safety based approach.

Technical collaboration between Cosmetics Europe, the European Commission, and the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA), has been considerable. A formal dialogue was established between the European Commission and the CFDA in 2010, which has since resulted in a Memorandum of Understanding that includes Cosmetics Europe as technical experts.

With this new collaboration we aim to promote international convergence principles leading to more effective, predictable and transparent legislation to the benefit of the industry as a whole. Cosmetics Europe has also signed a collaboration agreement on safety assessment with the China National Institute for Food and Drug Control, the UK Government and European Chamber of Commerce in China, which represents an important step towards future acceptance of alternative methods in cosmetics safety assessment in China.

Positive results that are at least partially attributable to our collaboration so far include:

  • Growing registration of new products (albeit without new ingredients) 
  • Good palette of ingredients (+/- 9000 existing ingredients) available to the industry 
  • Work on improved ingredients registration process has started 
  • Discussion on the development of harmonised requirements for domestic and imported non-special cosmetics (internal proposals how to address being worked on by CFDA)
  • Withdrawal of proposed legislation on labelling that would have hampered imports 
  • Safety assessors’ course implemented in China
  • Openness to consider acceptance of alternative methods to animal testing (mid to longer term)
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US - EU regulatory convergence in TTIP

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the major trade deal being negotiated between the US and EU, provides an opportunity to resolve regulatory divergences that create unnecessary barriers to trade in cosmetics and personal care products between the EU and United States.

So far in the negotiations, actual regulatory change for cosmetics has developed towards a broad “future regulatory cooperation” commitment rather than genuine regulatory convergence. Specifically, this comprises a bigger role for the International Collaboration on Cosmetics Regulation (ICCR) in supporting deeper dialogue between the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SSCS), and other competent authorities on cosmetics and personal care. Cosmetics Europe continues to advocate more specific and dedicated work on US-EU regulatory convergence on cosmetics and personal care products.

Negotiations remain underway.

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EU regulation on alternatives to animal testing (AAT)

Following the introduction of animal testing and marketing bans in the European Union in the specific area of cosmetics, other countries have expressed an interest in similar measures.

It is essential that countries gain an accurate understanding of the current EU regulatory framework if they are to introduce similar measures without incurring risks to safety.

In light of this, Cosmetics Europe is working with its international partner associations to develop explanatory documents about the legislation and its nuanced interpretation by the European Commission.

Read more about AAT in how we promote science and research.

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Learn more
    International Cooperation on Cosmetics Regulation
  • "Global Strategies" from Personal Care Products Council
  • International Cooperation by DG Growth

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