Brexit and beauty: the current situation


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Brexit and beauty: the current situation

Related tags: United kingdom, European union

A guest article on the current situation for the beauty and personal care industry in the face of Brexit uncertainty from the Cosmetic Toiletry & Perfumery Association, the UK's major trade group. 

The result of the UK Referendum on European Union membership has led to a great deal of uncertainty and much speculation on both the process and timing of withdrawal from the EU.  It has also resulted in major changes within the UK’s political parties, the Cabinet office and the structure of the civil service.

Although, the Prime Minister’s intention is to invoke Article 50 before the end of March 2017, currently, the UK Government is still debating the Bill to provide the relevant Parliamentary powers. The Bill has now been returned from the House of Lords to the House of Commons with two amendments:

  • the guarantee of the rights of EU citizen currently living in the UK post Brexit; and
  • the Parliamentary approval for the outcome of negotiations with the European Union.

The House of Commons will now consider these amendments made by the Lords. A date has not yet been announced for the consideration of Lords amendments.

Currently: still in the EU

At this stage, it must be remembered that the UK is still in the EU.  Any immediate impact is unknown but it makes clear sense to ensure that going forward the UK legislation is aligned with that of the EU unless producers want to have to manage two different sets of laws and perhaps have to produce two different products with two different labels etc.  

For companies selling both in the UK and in the EU, there is a risk of duplication and unnecessary regulatory complexity unless the UK continues to apply similar regulatory rules to the EU and maintains administrative co-operation with EU Competent Authorities post-Brexit.  

It would therefore be important to ensure that cosmetic products compliant with UK specific requirements can be freely sold in the EU and vice versa (formula, safety assessment, ingredients, labelling etc.).

Likely impact

Working with its members, CTPA has developed a position paper - “Getting the Best from Brexit’​ - providing an assessment of the impact of exiting the EU and the Customs Union on the cosmetics industry and what will be important to achieve post-Brexit. 

CTPA has had discussions on this important issue with several departments at BEIS (Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy) and other key Governmental contacts as well as organisations such as the Confederation of British Industry​ (CBI​), the Chemical Industries Association (CIA) and other national sector and European trade associations. 

This work is vital to ensure a common understanding of the issues involved in something as complex as the cosmetics manufacturing and distribution chain. 

CTPA will also lead an expert panel​ on the implications of Brexit at In-cosmetics global​ in London  on Tuesday 4 April 2017 (11.10 – 12.05).

This session will provide an overview of key challenges and insights into current political thinking, how the Association is responding to those challenges and will take a look at how we are planning for the future.

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