Following a governmental bodies' reorganization, the State Food and Drug Administration ("SFDA") has officially taken over the authority from the Ministry of Health ("MOH") to examine and approve all application for cosmetic products registration in China since September 2008. As such, SFDA has just promulgated the Cosmetics Product Administrative Application and Acceptance Rules (the "Rules") on 25 December 2009.

The Rules aim to integrate and supersede the former relevant registration rules and regulations previously issued by MOH and will be implemented as from 1 April 2010.

Behind the promulgation of the Rules, SFDA wanted to clearly state that it is now the sole competent authority responsible for registration of cosmetics.

The Rules apply to the registration of cosmetics raw materials, home-made cosmetics products for special purposes (such as hair growth, hair dye and hair perm products, depilation products, body building products, deodorant products or sun-care products) and imported cosmetics products.

Compared with the former registration system, the Rules introduce a new step in the application process. Prior to submission of any application to SFDA, all applicants will be now required to first fill in an online application after logging in to SFDA's online registration system. It can also be noticed that the power of attorney authorizing a local agent to handle the registration procedure with SFDA will have now to be registered with SFDA before submission of the registration application. Only overseas applicants must entrust a local agent whereas domestic applicants including Chinese subsidiary of foreign investors are allowed to directly apply to SFDA.

The Rules establish a unified regulatory framework for the registration application of cosmetics and cosmetics raw materials. Most of the provisions remain however very general and it is expected that SFDA will arrange a press release to specify the relevant detailed implementation rules for public guidance in the coming months.

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The original publication date for this article was 12/01/2010.