| SHANGHAI/HONG KONG
SHANGHAI/HONG KONG Nov 13 China is considering
a rule change that would allow the sale of some cosmetics
without requiring them to be tested on animals, opening up a
potential route into the Chinese market for international firms
opposed to the practice.
Under the potential changes, "non-specialised cosmetics"
manufactured in China -- such as shampoos, soaps, nail products
and some skin products -- could be sold from June 2014 without
undergoing animal testing, according to the China Food and Drug
This may enable firms which do not allow the practice, such
as British cosmetics retailer The Body Shop, wholly-owned by
L'Oreal S.A., to enter the country's 134 billion yuan
($22 billion) cosmetics market.
"Under the proposal, non-specialised cosmetics produced in
China could avoid toxicological testing when going through risk
and safety checks. This would include animal testing," the CFDA
said in comments emailed to Reuters on Wednesday. They clarified
a statement published on its website last week when it sought
public opinion on the proposed changes.
Imported cosmetics of all types and "specialised cosmetics"
made in China will not be not covered by the proposed change,
the CDFA said. Specialised cosmetics include sun cream,
deodorants, skin bleaching products, hair dyes and hair growth
and hair removal products, according to Chinese regulations.
"The Body Shop welcomes the signals that the Chinese
authorities are adopting a new approach to cosmetic testing,"
spokeswoman Louise Terry said in emailed comments from London.
"We have campaigned against animal testing for over 20 years
and we look forward to selling our products in China one day."
Animal testing is legal in more than 80 percent of the
world, including the United States. But China is the only
country that has laws requiring cosmetic products be tested on
animals before they come to market, according to animal
protection campaigner Cruelty Free International.
Regulations require all cosmetics to go through a lengthy
approval process that includes animal testing, reducing the
variety of products available for sale.
Animal rights groups welcomed the proposed changes, but said
that this would not mark the end of animal testing in China as
ingredients used for cosmetics may still have to go through an
approval process involving animal tests.
"The fact they are looking at these changes and have made
this proposal is really to be welcomed. It's a significant
development," Emily McIvor, senior policy adviser to Humane
Society International, said by telephone from Britain.
The group is meeting the CFDA this week to urge Beijing to
also include imported and specialised cosmetics.
Europe banned the sale of new cosmetics tested on animals in
March and has called for countries such as the United States and
China to follow suit.