EC-US framework points to more cooperation on cosmetics

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Personal care, Cosmetics

A new framework for economic integration between the EU and the US
has been forged this week, which should see greater co-operation on
a number of areas for the cosmetics industry, including animal
testing and slashing trade barriers for suppliers.

Since the Doha trade talks were suspended in July of last year, world leaders, particularly from developing nations, have been at logger heads over fostering greater trade freedom. However, moving on from the stalemate, EU leaders, headed by German chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country is currently heading the European presidency, met with president George Bush's administration this week to discuss greater co-operation on trade, as well as energy, security and foreign policy matters. They agreed upon a framework for economic integration that would lay the foundations for building a stronger and more integrated transatlantic economy. Particular focus is on removing barriers to trade and fostering co-operation on regulations, intellectual property, secure trade and financial markets. The talks also made specific reference to harboring greater transatlantic co-operation on the chemicals and pharmaceutical sectors, areas that will touch on key suppliers to the cosmetics industry such as fine chemicals. But perhaps more specific to the cosmetics industry was the direct reference to further co-operation on animal testing of personal care products. The two sides have said that they want to work together to find alternative to animal testing of personal care products in an effort to harmonise regulations on both sides and cut out animal testing altogether. Currently animal testing of personal care products is outlawed in Europe, and the EU authorities are now also working towards outlawing the testing of all ingredients for personal care products. This has presented problems for US personal care manufacturers, who follow less stringent regulations with regards animal testing. However, the move towards greater co-operation in this area should help to ensure that regulations are more uniform, thus securing greater opportunities for trade in personal care products between the two regions. The EC and US leaders were unable to reach firm conclusions on some other areas that were up for debate however, such as action to combat climate change. Although Merkel said progress had been made and that both sides agreed on the urgency of action, the US continues to refuse to sign up to an EU plan to cut greenhouse gases by 20 per cent by 2020. However the so-called 'open skies' deal to remove restrictions on transatlantic flights was signed; and President Bush said he would heed Merkel's advice to include Russia in discussions over anti-missile defence systems in Poland and the Czech Republic.

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