How to avoid Brexit regulatory disruption?

What should your regulatory strategy be for avoiding Brexit disruption? Alex Fotheringham looks at options for every eventuality​

The 29 March 2019 may introduce the greatest challenge to the EU and UK cosmetics industry since the introduction of the Cosmetics Regulation (1223/2009) in July 2013.

As the UK prepares for Brexit all industries are scrambling to develop suitable contingency plans. The t78bn[1] EU cosmetics industry is no different. The UK is currently the EU’s third largest cosmetics market and, as such, the post-Brexit situation is extremely important.

Several post-Brexit scenarios are emerging, as illustrated in figure 1: the UK leaves the EU with a deal; the UK leaves with no deal; or Brexit is aborted and the UK does not leave the EU.

With respect to cosmetics industry regulation, the likely key difference between Brexit with a deal or no deal is that a deal will provide a transition period from 29 March 2019 to the end of December 2020. A no-deal scenario means no transition period and the full ramifications of Brexit would come into force on 29 March 2019.

If Brexit proceeds in any format, new UK legislation will replace the existing EU Cosmetics Regulation EC 1223/2009 within the UK. This will be closely aligned with the EU text with amendments to ensure the text makes sense in the new environment (eg changing ‘Community’ to ‘United Kingdom’). While changes such as these may appear to be small they may have significant impacts on the regulation of cosmetic products in the UK and EU post-Brexit.

New UK legislation

A draft version of the UK Cosmetic Regulation was published in December 2018, and will be reviewed by the UK Parliament in February 2019. Key aspects to be taken into account are:

  • Article 4 – the requirement for a UK-based Responsible Person.
  • Article 11 – the requirement for a UK-held Product Information File.
  • Article 13 – the requirement for products to be notified on a UK Web Portal.
  • Article 19 – the requirement to have the products labelled with the UK RP details. The following sections discuss each of the above.

Responsible Person

Every cosmetic product currently made available on the EU market must have a Responsible Person (RP). This legal entity must be “established within the Community”. Products intended to be sold in the UK and the EU post-Brexit will be subject to two different RP requirements (table 1).

One entity will be unable to fulfil both of these requirements, as a legal entity can only be established in one country. This is a significant issue as the RP has important duties including:

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