Opening of the Chinese market for Polish cosmetics

Polish companies are willing to start selling cosmetics in China, however still some formal requirements stand in the way. China has recently changed its cosmetics industry regulations. Until May 1 2021, China required importers to test cosmetics on animals. It was an insurmountable barrier for European producers, because the European Union has been banned from testing cosmetics on animals for many years. Now the Chinese are demanding a certificate of Good Manufacturing Practice. It is to certify that the preparation was developed under the conditions and standards imposed by an international standard. Such certificate should be issued by the supervisory authority. The Polish certificate has not yet been created, although its content was proposed by the Polish Union of the Cosmetics Industry during the summer holidays in 2021. The Union brings together over 220 companies, including manufacturers, distributors, laboratories, consulting companies and teaching centers.

Without a proper certificate and without an efficient procedure for issuing it, the Polish cosmetics industry loses its competitiveness against other Western countries on the world’s largest market.

Experts in Poland emphasize at the same time that the certificate is not everything. It is still necessary to develop an instruction for its issuing, which will go to the poviat (local level) health care centers.

The Polish companies do not hide that they count on the Chinese market. They expect that the abolition of the requirement to test cosmetics on animals will open the door wide. Until now, it was possible to be present in the Chinese market only through sales platforms such as Tmall or AliExpress. To sell through them, it was not necessary to register the products and thus confirm how they are tested. But the scale of sales was small.

Now the producers from Poland have a chance to enter the traditional sales channel.

Despite new opportunities in the cosmetics market, there remain some barriers, particularly related to protectionist restrictions, i.e. customs duties, quotas, complicated procedures related to the certification of products and packaging.

As for the certificates in the cosmetics market, there can be distinguished two of them: the first are needed for a given product to reach a specific market. It is about the compliance of the product with the requirements of local law. They are needed to sell on non-EU markets, i.e. to register a product, like FSC – free sale certificate, product safety (Safety Certificate) or Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP Certificate – Good Manufacturing Practice).

There are also confirmations of a specific product feature, e.g. that the product is natural, organic or vegan. They are used in relations with the consumer. They can be issued by commercial certification bodies. To mark their products with markings that confirm their specific features, the companies must have documentation certifying production in accordance with the criteria adopted by the producer. It is needed, for example, for control by the Polish Sanitary Inspection or the Trade Inspection.