In order to sell a cosmetic product in China pre-market registration is necessary, during which a product is examined and approved, if deemed safe to be sold in the country.
Since September 2008 this registration process has been the responsibility of the SFDA and the body has released preliminary details of a number of changes to the system.
Preliminary online application
According to lawyers at CMS Cameron McKenna one of the main differences with the new system is the introduction of a new step to the process – prior to an application to the SFDA applicants are required to register online.
In addition, local agents representing international players in the registration system, this is necessary as the SFDA will not allow direct applications from international companies, must also register with SFDA before the products registration can begin.
The use of a local agent is an attempt to facilitate the process for overseas applicants by avoiding any language problems, explained Alexandre Vincent at CMS Cameron McKenna.
As a number of documents need to be drafted, and these must be done in Chinese, the use of a local agent is expected to help, he added.
The SFDA also makes clear in the new documentation that it is the sole regulatory body charged with cosmetics products and that this responsibility no longer falls to the Ministry of Health.
However, the lawyers at CMS Cameron McKenna note that the provisions are very general and more details from the SFDA are expected at a later date.