Unlocking the 18 Cosmetics Measures-Exploring Zhejiang Medical Products Administration’s Innovative Approaches for Business Environment Enhancement

With the purpose to improve service quality and optimize the business environment, Zhejiang Medical Products Administration has further innovated regulatory methods and issued the Measures for Implementing ‘No.1 Reform Project’ to Optimize the Business Environment to Promote the High-Quality Development of the Cosmetics Industry in Zhejiang Province (hereinafter referred to as the Measures). This is guided by the needs of enterprises, under the requirement of stimulating vitality, and with the goal of standardized and healthy development. On the one hand, this is propitious to carry out ‘Eight Strengths Eight Measures’ which was raised by President Xi in July 2003 to promote innovation, deepen reform, tackle difficulties, and enhance openness throughout the whole province. On the other hand, it facilitates the implementation of the ‘No.1 Reform Project’ to Optimize the Business Environment in Zhejiang Province. 

Focused on optimizing the government supervision, legal environment, market environment, and economic ecosystem, the Measures proposes innovative approaches, e.g. carrying-out self-testing reform for general cosmetics notification; opening up 'Three Portals’ for imported cosmetics - a ‘Green Portal’ for cosmetics imported to and notified in China for the first time, a ‘Fast-Review Portal’ for cosmetics of low risks, and a ‘Priority Portal’ for cosmetics temporarily suspended due to safety concerns and required supplementary documents; promoting flexible law enforcement; establishing innovative mechanisms such as ‘Entry Signposts’, ‘Accelerate Cosmetics Development under Four Directions’, ‘Hand-in-Hand Growth’, etc. These approaches provide environmental support for the innovative development of cosmetics enterprises and accelerate the progress of Zhejiang cosmetics brands pivoting around ‘High-Quality Zhejiang Cosmetics, Fashionable and Trendy Cosmetics, High Efficacy Special Cosmetics, Eco-Friendly Cosmetics’ (Four Directions). 

The Measures encompasses four major aspects, consisting of 18 measures in total. This article spotlights some of the key points. 

* Optimize notification to improve government supervision

* Upgrade the regulatory system to enhance the legal environment

* Reinforce service and problem-tackling to improve the market environment

* Stimulate innovative vitality to optimize the economic ecosystem

I. Optimize Notification to Improve Government Supervision

1. Establish a Unified Standard for the Notification of General Cosmetics

The Measures develops key points for the dossier and technical review of general cosmetics. It also further standardizes the review procedures and standards, and unifies the technical review criteria for cosmetics, which promotes fair management, non-discriminatory acceptance, and standardized handling of cosmetics notification within the province. Meanwhile, the Measures strengthens the cooperation on the management of cosmetics notification at the provincial, city, and county levels. It deepens the ‘one-to-one’ pairing assistance as well. These approaches provide prompt cooperation to resolve difficult issues and therefore, further improve the quality and efficiency of the review of cosmetics notification.

2. Implement Self-Testing Reform for the Notification of General Cosmetics

The Measures optimizes the testing management measures for general cosmetics notification, allowing cosmetics notification persons or contract manufacturers that meet the requirements to carry out self-testing for all or part of testings. The qualified testing reports can be used for cosmetics notification. This lowers testing costs and shortens the time for products to be placed on the market. 

3. Open ‘Three Portals’ for the Notification of Imported Cosmetics

The Measures advances the ‘1+5’ responsibility system for notification management and develops standards for the dossier and technical review of imported cosmetics. Under the Measures, the government opens a ‘Green Portal’ for cosmetics imported to and notified in China for the first time, a ‘Fast-Review Portal’ for cosmetics with low safety risks, and a ‘Priority Portal’ for cosmetics temporarily suspended due to safety concerns and required supplementary documents. This will accelerate the import of cosmetics. 

II. Upgrade the Regulatory System to Enhance the Legal Environment

4. Strengthen the Promotion and Implementation of Regulations

The Measures emphases the promotion of regulations such as Cosmetics Supervision and Administration Regulationsthe Measures for the Management of Cosmetics Registration and Notificationthe Measures for the Supervision and Administration of Production and Distribution of Cosmeticsthe Measures for the Supervision and Administration of Toothpaste. It also drives the implementation of the Measures for the Supervision and Administration of Enterprises Implementing Cosmetics Quality and Safety Responsibility. This urges enterprises to establish a dynamic management mechanism based on cosmetics risk prevention and control, and enforce accountability for cosmetics quality and safety, which can improve the internal quality control level and ensure cosmetics quality and safety. 

5. Enhance the Rectification of Improper Practices of Businesses

The Measures highlights the rectification of improper practices of business, conducting regulatory inspection centering around key products, key procedure, and key issues. It aims to crack down on illegal practices such as the illegal use of ingredients, unlicensed production, false advertising, etc. It also strengthens the connection between administrative and criminal laws to hold the person accountable for their illegal practices, so as to maintain a legal environment of fair competition and orderly situation. 

Additionally, it emphasizes the promotion of the Measures for the Supervision and Administration of Cosmetics Online Operations. It upgrades the ‘Smart Review’ mechanism for cosmetics placed online. It also establishes a responsibility system for online operators and establishes quality management standards for cosmetics safety online. This will improve the monitoring and closed-loop management of cosmetics online sales, standardize cosmetics online distribution, and therefore, promote the high-quality development of online cosmetics. 

6. Promote Flexible Law Enforcement

The Measures adheres to the principle of combining punishment with education, explores the error tolerance and correction mechanism for minor violations, and implements a "no penalty for the first violation" policy, providing a more inclusive and warmer development environment for market entities. For manufacturers produce cosmetics with defective labels that do not affect quality and safety, distributors distribute cosmetics with labels that do not comply with regulations, parties that do not store and transport cosmetics according to regulations, and those who have not established and implemented an incoming inspection record system as required, if it is a first-time violation with minor consequences and timely correction, they will be educated instead of imposed administrative penalties. 

7. Promote the Supervision of Credit Evaluation

The Measures carries out a pilot project to establish information archives for registration and notification persons. It improves the management system of credit evaluation for cosmetics production enterprises, promotes the rating and classification management for cosmetics distribution enterprises, and optimizes the credit management system for the whole life circle of cosmetics. With the supervision of credit evaluation as the base, ‘Double Random Inspection, Prompt Publication’ as the main method, and strict supervision of parties with non-compliant records as a supplementary management model, it fully implements the supervision and administration of ‘Double Random Inspection + Credit Evaluation’. This, therefore, promotes a culture of integrity through joint incentives for trustworthiness and joint punishment for dishonesty.

III. Reinforce Service and Problem-Tackling to Improve the Market Environment

8. Establish an ‘Entry Signposts’ Mechanism

The Measures requires setting up a pre-consultation service mechanism for cosmetics production licensing to provide 'one-on-one' professional guidance for the plant layout design of newly established or expanded enterprises. This provides ‘signposts’ to expedite the launch of cosmetics by broadening consultation channels for cosmetics notification, establishing open days for notification consultation, improving the procedure for making appointments, compiling Q&A on Cosmetics Notification Policies, and providing consulting services for the definition of new products, new efficacy, new ingredients, etc. 

Furthermore, it builds an interactive mechanism between R&D and the review of cosmetics, extending the review services to the cosmetics research and development stage by assigning dedicated personnel to key projects and products for early intervention, full-process tracking, and proactive services. This will accelerate the research and development process, and promote the conversion of innovation into marketable products. 

9. Accelerate Cosmetics Development under Four Directions

Guided by the innovation and development needs of the product chain, industrial chain, and value chain in the cosmetics field, the Measures complies four lists according to the four developing directions of ‘High-Quality Zhejiang Cosmetics, Fashionable and Trendy Cosmetics, High Efficacy Special Cosmetics, Eco-Friendly Cosmetics’, which promotes the establishment of exclusive service mechanism, and selection of key enterprises, key projects, and key products. Through these active practices such as providing proactive, precise, and integrated services, establishing scientific and innovative platforms, and setting up expert workshops, it provides directions and accelerates the process for the launch of cosmetic products, the growth and expansion of enterprises, and the innovation and development of cosmetics industry. 

10. Establish a ‘Hand-in-Hand Growth’ Mechanism

Local government, relevant departments, and industrial associations shall cooperate to organize ‘Three Matchmaking Activities’ for cosmetics projects, technologies, and talents. This strengthens the cooperation of upstream and downstream industry chains such as research and development, design, production, raw materials, packaging materials, and testing parties. It also encourages the deep integration and cooperation of large, medium, and small enterprises, creating an innovative ecosystem of ‘Industry Leaders + Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises + Service Environment.’

Cosmetics associations are encouraged to organize activities for cosmetics enterprises to learn from advanced ones, and guide them to follow the path of specialization and innovation by strengthening quality management systems, as well as establishing technology research centers, engineering technology research centers, and key laboratories. 

11. Establish an ‘Integrated Service’ Mechanism

The Measures promotes to conduct 'Large-scale Visits, Research, Services, and Problem-Solving' activities, with the aim of accurately connecting industrial parks with major projects, and providing integrated service for inspection, testing, and technical review. 

Additionally, it constructs a new model of ‘Online + Offline’ service. Relying on online platforms/apps such as the Provincial ‘Three Services’ Collaborative Handling Platform, ‘Zhejiang Online Beauty’ Application, Flexible Service Platform for Medical Innovation and Review, etc. it provides services such as safety assessment, efficacy classification, notification guidance, manufacturing specification, research and development standards, etc. 

12. Establish a ‘Technology Empowerment’ Mechanism

With technical strengths such as inspection, testing, and review, relevant departments are encouraged to carry out public training for personnel on cosmetics quality and safety management, registration and notification, inspection and testing, etc, in an effort to improve enterprises’ capabilities on registration and notification, quality control and self-testing. 

Additionally, it implements pilot projects for sharing infrastructure such as inspection and testing within the same group in cosmetics industrial parks, which improves resource utilization and reduces operating costs.

Moreover, it takes measures to boost cosmetics testing capabilities, so as to advance the National Medical Products Administration's key laboratories for cosmetics animal alternative testing, and drug microbial testing and early warning. Meanwhile, it strengthens the regulatory guidance and compliance inspection of third-party cosmetics inspection and testing institutions, promoting their compliant and healthy development. 

IV. Stimulate Innovative Vitality to Optimize Economic Ecosystem

13. Cultivate High-Quality Zhejiang Cosmetics 

Relevant departments and industrial associations cooperate to develop Zhejiang cosmetics factories, cosmetic products under the same manufacturers, the same criteria, and the same quality- ‘Three Same’ brands, Zhejiang high-quality zones of cosmetics, Zhejiang cosmetics landmark business districts, etc. Thus, high-quality development conferences and cosmetics exhibitions are held to promote the reputation of Zhejiang cosmetics brands and ‘Made in Zhejiang’ brands.

14. Cultivate Trendy Cosmetics

The Measures supports cosmetics enterprises to adapt to and take the lead in consumption trend. To achieve this, relevant departments need to cooperate together to integrate cosmetics with culture, tourism, art, entertainment, live-streaming e-commerce, and the internet celebrity economy. This is beneficial to develop cosmetics culture, cosmetics tourism, and cosmetics demonstration bases or other forms in Zhejiang. 

Furthermore, group standards need to be developed for cosmetics gift sets featuring city cultures. This is conducive to encouraging enterprises to develop cosmetic products that reflect Chinese cultures (C-Beauty), such as landscape features, cultural heritage, city characteristics, and regional customs. 

Additionally, it encourages eligible cosmetics registrants and notifiers to participate in personalized cosmetics service pilots, and supports designated enterprises to develop skincare products for specific needs, which meets the public's need for personalized consumption. 

What’s more, it facilitates the development of the cosmetics packaging materials industry by promoting the integration of packaging materials with cosmetics products, cultural creativity, and brand culture. 

15. Facilitate the Development of Special Cosmetics with Certain Efficacy

The Measures supports cosmetics enterprises to cooperate with higher education institutions and research institutes to conduct research, aiming to tackle key scientific and technological issues in cosmetics raw materials, production processes, functions, and efficacy. 

Meanwhile, it gives full play to the pharmaceutical industry in order to promote the development of upstream supply chains such as raw materials with special efficacy.

In addition, it guides and supports relevant testing and medical institutions to improve evaluation capabilities in sun protection, spot removal, and other aspects, so as to make up for the shortcomings in the efficacy evaluation.

Furthermore, in an effort to facilitate the development, registration and market access of special cosmetic products, it leverages the role of the Zhejiang Provincial Cosmetics Safety and Efficacy Evaluation Center, and establishes relevant efficacy evaluation standards.

16. Develop Eco-friendly Cosmetic Products

The Measures encourages to leverage the technical advantages of the Zhejiang Provincial Cosmetics Plant Raw Material Research Center. This requires establishing a database of cosmetics plant raw materials with Zhejiang characteristics and establishing cosmetics raw material quality standards, to guide the development and utilization of cosmetics varieties and raw materials such as gardenia flowers, camellia seeds, pomelo, pearls, dendrobium, silk, etc. This provides a guide for local governments and relevant enterprises to cultivate and develop eco-friendly cosmetic products, extend the cosmetics industry chain, and promote the coordinated development of primary, secondary, and tertiary industries in cosmetics, which will ultimately convert the ecosystem into commercial benefits and embark on a new path to common prosperity, 

17. Support the Construction of Beauty Platforms

The Measures ensures the Implementation Plan for Cosmetics Industry High-Quality Development in Zhejiang Province (2020-2025). With the emphasis on the construction of "One Center, Two Bases, and Three Platforms", it supports local governments to increase policy support, financial investment, and resource guarantee. 

Additionally, it promotes the high-end, intelligent, digital, integrated, and green development of the cosmetics industry by establishing regional public service platforms such as cosmetics inspection centers, plant raw material research centers, safety and efficacy evaluation centers, etc. based on major industrial platforms and parks, and building a regional brand matrix such as ‘Beauty Town’, ‘Hangzhou Trend Beauty’, ‘Jinyi Beauty Capital’, ‘Zhejiang South Beauty Valley’, ‘Beauty E-Valley’, etc. 

18. Emphasize the Cultivation of Talents for Cosmetics

The Measures facilitates the process of connecting companies with suitable candidates. Based on the current development of the cosmetics industry in Zhejiang province, it promotes the construction of cosmetics majors in Zhejiang Pharmaceutical Vocational College that reflect the characteristics of vocational education, pharmaceutical specialty, and regulatory features. It also encourages Zhejiang Pharmaceutical Vocational College to collaborate with enterprises, industrial parks, and local governments to build cosmetics industry colleges, exploring cooperation with well-known cosmetics companies to establish ‘School-Enterprise Cooperation Classes’. These classes, tailored to the needs of companies or for the pursuit of a higher degree, or other specific purposes, can improve the capabilities of talents for the cosmetic industry. 


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