Chemicals and cosmetics come up for discussion in TTIP talks

By Lucy Whitehouse

- Last updated on GMT

Chemicals and cosmetics come up for discussion in TTIP talks

Related tags Eu European commission

In the most recent round of transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP) discussions, cosmetics and chemicals were considered.

The TTIP talks are a series of negotiations and discussions surrounding a potential EU-US trade partnership, with the latest round of talks having taken place in Brussels last month (11 - 15 July).

Chemicals and cosmetics came under focus particularly due to the EU proposal that a separate annex should be assigned to the segment within the broader TTIP agreement.

Such an annex would allow the agreement to target specific regulatory differences currently separating the two countries with regard to sunscreens, GMP, alternative testing methods, labelling requirements and more, to strengthen the markets’ alignment on chemicals and cosmetics.

Negotiating cosmetics

The European Commission has explained the current state of trade between the EU and the US on cosmetics, and notes that a TTIP deal would look to speed up the regulation of new innovations in the industry.

TTIP could benefit consumers and industry by enabling regulators to work even more closely with each other - on things like checking the safety of new, better products, so consumers can buy them sooner than at present​,” it notes in its factsheet on the industry.

The key EU goals when it comes to the potential TTIP agreement are:

  • agree to work more closely on scientific safety assessments
  • agree to work on alternative methods to animal testing and to push for the progressive phase-out of animal tests worldwide
  • improve technical cooperation between regulators to facilitate US approval of UV filters already authorised in the EU
  • work together on labelling using international practices
  • collaborate in new areas such as allergen labelling and market surveillance
  • create a basis for jointly developing state-of-the-art regulations on new areas not yet fully regulated.  

Sensitive issues

The EC has noted there are several sensitive for controversial issues up for discussion as part of the TTIP agreement.

The first of these is the issue of banned substances, due to the fact that the Commission intends to change the list of EU banned cosmetics ingredients with the TTIP agreement.

The EU has stated that TTIP will now amend any of the 1372 banned substances, but in the case of new substances, “the EU and the US could benefit from sharing scientific assessments​”. The EU has noted that, “just like any other product sold in the EU, [cosmetics] will have to comply with EU law. No trade agreement can change that fact”​.

However, when it comes to permitted substances, the EU’s list is longer - including some UV filters - than the US one. The EU hopes the US will align with it on this issue.

Lastly, the precautionary principle, protecting consumer rights and safety, will not be affected by TTIP, the EU has asserted.

Related topics Regulation & Safety

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