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Cosmetic Products & the Possible Impacts of Brexit

Anyone who has a business selling and/or making “cosmetic products” (as defined) must be aware of, and comply with, the EU Cosmetic Regulations (EC) (No 1223/2009) (“Regulations”), which came into force in the UK in July 2013.

The Regulations govern matters such as the labelling and safety requirements to which cosmetic products sold in the EU must comply. This includes the requirement for companies to hold and maintain product information files (“PIFs”) for each cosmetic product sold on the EU market, which must be made available on request and which must contain the relevant compliant documentation.

The Regulations also deal with what is defined as a “Responsible Person”; this being the person (or company) responsible for putting each cosmetic product on the European market and the requirement to ‘notify’ each such product via an online portal, the Cosmetic Product Notification Portal (“CPNP”).

UK companies that place cosmetic products on the EU market will need to be aware of the anticipated impact of Brexit on their business; firstly in relation to the legislation governing cosmetics and secondly in relation to the importing and exporting of cosmetics to and from the EU.

In relation to the legislation governing cosmetic products, the UK will need to implement its own cosmetic legislation which is expected to replicate the Regulations. While this will mean matters such as labelling and safety requirements will remain largely the same, to ensure compliance with the Regulations and any UK legislation, a UK company will need an EU based Responsible Person, as well as maintain a UK one. Further, products notified on the CPNP will need to be transferred to the EU Responsible Person with a valid EU address as any UK address will ‘deleted’ on Brexit. The approval of a new address is approved ‘manually’ and therefore it is advisable to consider submitting an EU based address in advance of 29th March 2019.

In regards to trade, in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, the UK will no longer be in the customs union and, in the absence of any trade agreement, the standard WTO tariffs will apply. Cosmetics, with some exceptions (for example shaving products and deodorants), generally attract a 0% tariff but there are possible implication of matters such as the additional requirements to prove ‘country of origin’ as well as increased paperwork and general bureaucracy with which to comply. There may also be an impact on those who manufacture their own cosmetic products and who are importing raw materials from the EU.

If you are currently running a business, or are thinking of starting a business, that sells and/or manufactures cosmetic products and require advice on ensuring compliance with the relevant regulatory requirements you can contact me on to discuss how I can help.