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Cosmetics Trade Dynamics: France-China Talks Shape the Future of Beauty Industry

French cosmetics trade industry seeks China to lift import rules

The French cosmetics industry (cosmetics trade) is facing challenges due to China’s new import rules requiring the sharing of formulas and manufacturing technology. President Xi Jinping’s upcoming visit to France is seen as an opportunity to address these concerns and find a solution that protects the interests of French companies while ensuring product safety.

The French cosmetics industry association has announced plans for reciprocity with China to ensure high safety standards for Chinese consumers, with the first certification meeting for French cosmetics trade with China already held in December. Further discussions are expected between French and Chinese officials to address these trade issues.

Key Concepts

  • The French cosmetics industry is facing challenges due to China’s new import rules.
  • President Xi Jinping’s upcoming visit to France was seen as an opportunity to address concerns.
  • France is the world’s leading exporter of cosmetics, with significant trade with China.
  • New Chinese security rules require the sharing of production details and factory access.
  • The negotiations between France and China aim to find a solution.
  • The French cosmetics industry association plans reciprocity with China for high safety standards.
  • The agreement involves a French consumer watchdog overseeing the security of manufacturers.
  • The first certification meeting for French cosmetics exports to China was held in December.
  • Further discussions are expected between French and Chinese officials.
  • Elysee Palace and relevant Chinese agencies have not commented on developments.

The world’s leading French cosmetics industry is counting on talks between Xi Jinping and Macron next week to help reduce the impact on French companies of China’s strict new import rules requiring the sharing of formulas and manufacturing technology.

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This is President Xi Jinping’s first visit to Europe in five years and comes amid tense bilateral trade relations, with the European Union threatening to impose tariffs on China’s electric vehicles and green energy industries.

But efforts to reach a deal between France and China on rules for cosmetics, including lipstick and perfume, could be a highlight of discussions in Paris next week.

President Macron’s office said before the talks that cosmetics would be an issue of “great concern” and that they sought “to find a solution that also protects the interests of our companies.”

France is the world’s leading exporter of cosmetics, exporting nearly 2 billion euros of cosmetics and skin care products to China last year, second only to aviation products in importance.

New Chinese security rules scheduled to take effect next year threaten this cosmetics trade.

From May 2025, cosmetics exporters will have to share details of their production processes with Beijing and allow Chinese inspectors access to their factories, raising concerns about a loss of control over intellectual property.

One solution proposed in negotiations between the two sides last year was that French authorities would be responsible for ensuring the safety of some export products without requiring Chinese inspections.

France will allow similar measures on some Chinese products, but it is unclear what will be covered.

“This reciprocity will ensure the highest safety standards for Chinese consumers,” said Emmanuel Guichard, secretary-general of the French cosmetics industry association (FEBEA), adding that plans were likely to be held during talks between Xi Jinping and Macron, as officially confirmed.

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Members of the French Cosmetics Industry Association include L’Oréal, LVMH, and Coty.

Under the agreement, the French consumer and anti-fraud watchdog (DGCCRF) will ensure the security of a number of French manufacturers that qualify for a “white list”.

The agency held its first certification meeting for French cosmetics exports to China in December with China’s National Medical Products Administration (NMPA), the agency said in a report on recent activities released on Friday.

The Elysee Palace did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

France’s consumer and anti-fraud watchdog did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The China National Medical Products Administration was unavailable over the holiday weekend. In China, Sunday is Labor Day, a national holiday.

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