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EU puts forward hopes for increased unity in transatlantic cosmetics standards

By Lucy Whitehouse , 21-May-2014
Last updated on 21-May-2014 at 13:33 GMT

EU puts forward hopes for increased unity in transatlantic cosmetics standards

As part of ongoing talks between the US and the EU thrashing out the details of the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the European Commission has released a position paper on cosmetics, which outlines the continent’s hope for greater standardization in trading between the two countries.

Published alongside other position papers covering trade proposals for industries such as chemicals, pharmaceuticals and clothing, the suggestions for cosmetics highlights regulation and testing as two key areas for a potential increase in unity.

The Commission notes that the paper contains only preliminary ideas that can be complemented and refined at a later stage, but the publication is a strong step forward in progress for the TTIP cosmetics agreements.

These proposed items could result in gains not only for industry arising from reduction of diverging requirements, but also in a wider range of cosmetics products more efficient testing, and greater international harmonisation of cosmetics regulations and practices,” the report states.

Standardized guidelines

The EU’s position paper outlines its hope for the TTIP on cosmetics to unify standards between the two countries on the broad topic of regulation.

It suggests mutually recognised lists of allowed and prohibited cosmetic substances, collaboration in good manufacturing practices, and mutual recognition of inspection result and labeling requirements are three key areas in which regulation could align.

Testing standards

Linked with that, the Commission suggested that more can be done to match up the two country’s cosmetics testing standards.

It suggests possible collaboration in, and regulatory acceptance of, validated alternative test methods to animal testing and harmonization of test methods (based on ISO standards) and test requirements.

This,” the Commission puts forward, “could [all] be achieved without compromising the protection of public policy interests such as health or animal welfare.

Wider international unity

The position paper also suggests this kind of unity of standards could be taken up further afield than the TTIP too.

It suggests the TTIP can facilitate this by “strengthening the harmonization work carried at the international level under ICCR”: the International Cooperation on Cosmetics Regulation is a voluntary partnership among the health authorities of several nations.

The paper concludes by suggesting the reinforcement of regulatory cooperation on ‘emerging areas’, for instance, with respect to nanotechnology.

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