China passes CSAR: Long-awaited cosmetic regulations draft finally formalised

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

China State Council has finally passed the highly anticipated CSAR draft. ©GettyImages
China State Council has finally passed the highly anticipated CSAR draft. ©GettyImages

Related tags Regulation China

The China State Council has finally passed the highly anticipated Cosmetic Supervision and Administration Regulation (CSAR) draft during an executive meeting held on January 3.

The regulation was passed during an executive meeting of the state council hosted by Premier Li Keqiang.

In a statement released by the State Council, CSAR was passed "to better ensure quality and safety and promote industrial development” ​in the cosmetics industry.

CSAR will replace the outdated Cosmetics Hygiene Supervision Regulations (CHSR) which was implemented in 1990 and has been a major hurdle to progress and innovation in the industry.

The rapid development of the cosmetics industry in China has driven the demand to overhaul the 30-year-old regulations and align it with current industry practices.

“The new CSAR regulation is based on risk assessment of the formulations facilitating the introduction of new products and new technologies into the market,” ​explained Alain Khaiat, president of the Cosmetic, Toiletry & Fragrance Association of Singapore (CTFAS).

April Guo, general manager, personal care division, CIRS Group said: “This means 2020 will be a big year of cosmetics regulations in China. The whole industry will be very busy complying with the new game rules.”

She noted changes will involve the classification of cosmetics, pre-market filing work, labelling requirements, efficacy evaluation, new cosmetic ingredient registration requirements and post-market surveillance for both cosmetics and raw materials.

Highlighting changes

The meeting highlighted that cosmetic products and ingredients will now be regulated based on risk.

According to the draft, non-special use cosmetics will now require pre-market notification while special-use cosmetics (SUC) such as sun care and skin whitening products will require pre-market registration.

This change is aligned with best international practices and will help develop the cosmetic market in China​,” said Khaiat.

Guo stressed that the government is trying to strengthen the post-market surveillance for both cosmetics and raw materials enterprises, including overseas site inspection.

The new regulations have also simplified the procedures to make it easier for cosmetic companies to introduce new ingredients.

“This will help innovation and help Chinese local companies be more competitive when they export their products,” ​said Khaiat.

Guo concurred: “It will be beneficial for ingredient suppliers who want to introduce a new ingredient in the China market because the process will be simplified. More and more advanced ingredients can be placed in China market to promote the industrial development.”

The meeting also highlighted more severe punishments for those that flout the laws, noting that fines and penalties will be increased significantly for violators and “relevant responsible persons”.

“Like in all international markets, companies will take the full responsibility of their products and of the compliance. Authorities will focus on high risks products and post-market surveillance. This means that violators will be punished,”​ said Khaiat.

With the formalisation of the CSAR, it is speculated that the final version will be published very soon.

Khaiat said: “Today, the industry is waiting for the final publication of the law and the publication of the texts implementing it. We have to be vigilant to ensure that the spirit of the law is maintained in the implementation.”

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