CIQ sets down rules for importing cosmetic samples in China

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Import

CIQ sets down rules for importing cosmetic samples in China
After announcing cosmetic companies were no longer required to obtain a CIQ label on imported cosmetics for China in March, the Shanghai Exit-Entry Inspection and Quarantine Bureau has now set down specific guidelines to be implemented from the 1st July.  

The new rules are of particular importance to companies who are bringing cosmetic samples to China for testing, exhibition or R&D purposes whereby the samples imported do not require registration with the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA).

However, the China Exit-Entry Inspection and Quarantine Bureau (CIQ) stresses that cosmetic companies will still be required to provide certain documents when applying for custom clearance for imports at the port of entry.

The specifics

Divided into four categories with each containing its own requirements, cosmetic companies can apply for an inspection directly from Shanghai CIQ by providing the following documents illustrated in the table below.


Category of Cosmetic Samples

           Procedure  & Requirements             


Sample to be tested in labs designated by government


  • A statement from the official labs;
  • A statement on the use of imported cosmetics;
  • The quantity of samples shall not exceed the quantity given in the statement of official lab;
  • Hygiene license or record-keeping certificate is not required
  • Chinese label is not required

Sample used for internal research   & development or quality assurance testing

The company who conducts R&D activities or  quality assurance shall register itself with Shanghai CIQ first by providing the following documents, pass CIQ’s on-site inspection and then obtain a record-keeping certificate from CIQ prior to importing any cosmetic samples.

  • A copy of business license with stamp;
  • A statement on the use of imported cosmetics;
  • Operation procedure for R&D or quality assurance;
  • Product categories and estimated quantity within next 2 years;
  • Descriptions of the qualifications of staff or labs;
  • A letter stating that samples will not be sold to the public;
  • Contract agreement with disposal service provider and qualification of the disposal service provider.

After obtaining a keeping certificate for CIQ, the company can import cosmetic samples and apply for an inspection by providing the following documents:

  • A copy of record-keeping certificate issued by CIQ;
  • Application form and list of imported goods;


Sample used for trial on targeted human group

Similar to the process for sample used for R&D except that:

  • Risk management measures is required for such trial;
  • Product formula is required when applying for an inspection

Sample used for exhibition, internal display or training and other samples


  • A copy of business license with stamp;
  • Company description and letter of commitment;
  • Application form and list of imported goods;
  • Product formula.



The new rules have been made in accordance with the AQSIQ Order No. 143 of 2011 - The Administrative Measures on the Inspection, Quarantine and Supervision of Import and Export of Cosmetics that came into force on 1 Feb 2012, outling requirements on the inspection of imported cosmetics.

However, the Order did not explain in detail how cosmetic samples were to be inspected at the port of entry, the rules published by Shanghai CIQ is said to have solved this issue.


In March, the CIQ declared it “will no longer issue labels for imported cosmetics that have passed CIQ's inspections."

The older version of the Order required imported cosmetics to pass the inspection of the AQSIQ while also being affixed with a China Inspection and Quarantine label as without it the product was not allowed onto the Chinese market.

All cosmetics imported to China for the first time still have to pass [the] CIQ's inspection, it is still mandatory​.”

Then, April Guo, CIRS spokesperson told USA "It is easy to buy fake CIQ labels and put them on imported cosmetics, the goal of using CIQ labels to protect consumers can easily be undermined​."

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