K-Beauty’s Import Barrier to China due to Stricter Regulations

[Image from Yonhap News] Chinese people are enjoying their holiday shopping at The Duty Free Shop in Korea, while traveling during their national holiday on 1 October (The National Day of the People’s Republic of China).  

China and South Korea has a long history regarding politics, security, business, technology, and more. But now it’s shifting over to the cosmetic industry. Why is the Chinese government setting stricter regulations on imported cosmetic products? Read more to discover the truth behind China-Korea and their k-beauty cosmetics.

K-Beauty’s Import Barrier to China

China & South Korea worries about their deteriorating relationship.

The Chinese government is building stricter regulations on their imported cosmetic products, which makes Korean cosmetic industries who depend on China as their big exporter to increase their level of safety management procedures.

China justifies that strengthening the cosmetic regulations will protect their country’s technical contracts, but the current market shows that it’s different – their actual target is on the domestic industries that is rapidly increasing their market share.

Recently, Korean cosmetic industries have been worrying about the Chinese market restricting imports from international suppliers, because there has been a blockage of the Korean peninsula deployment of the terminal high-altitude area defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile system and other conflicts surrounding the two countries.

According to the Korea Testing & Research Institute and cosmetics industry, the Chinese government has been reclassifying ‘whitening cosmetic products’ as ‘special cosmetic products’ through modified cosmetics hygiene supervision.

China’s government is divided into non-specific (registration) and special (examination EPS) management for imported cosmetics. The non-special cosmetics hygiene license requires a period of 7 months, and special cosmetic of approximately 11 months, which makes the reclassification procedure on sanitary equipments much stricter.

The Chinese government is considering on re-classifying even the current non-specialized anti-wrinkle cosmetics into specialized cosmetic products. The industry believes that China will soon re-classify anti-wrinkle cosmetics into specialized cosmetics because they are demanding high measures.

Not only that, China’s currency regulation will also be strengthened. Currently, there aren’t any legal restrictions on Chinese citizens purchasing from international websites, but there could be new rules established to regulate these types of purchases in the future.

Parties in the Korean cosmetic industry points out that “strengthening the regulations on strong anti-wrinkle, whitening effects mean that their sole target might be Korea”.

According to KTR’s research data, the huge Korean wave in China increased their demand for Korean cosmetics. China’s market share for Korean cosmetics is around 9-10%.    

In China, China’s highest preference for cosmetics come from South Korea with 23%. Japan has 21%, France 19%, America 7% and others 29%.

The 2014 Korea cosmetic market report shows that China had approximately 641.4 billion won ($ 533.6 million), and was accounted for nearly 30% of total exports. In Great China, including Hong Kong and Taiwan the total share is over 60%.

Thus, the Korean industries are strengthening their cosmetic safety management procedures to meet the new regulations of China’s cosmetics.

As China’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) came into effect, tariff barriers were lowered while the strengthened regulations as non-tariff barriers caused problems in some industries. Moreover, Korea leaning toward accepting the deployment of the THAAD anti-ballistic missile system, ultimately put their relationship with China in a crucial phase, for China disapproves of this decision about THAAD.


Original Source: Reporter Lee Yumi from Seoul Yonhap News


Jihee Park

Jihee Park is the Lead Beauty Editor of K-Beauty Now. Based in the heart of Seoul, her professional expertise and approach in academic, social media, and lifestyle coverage provide compelling articles the community can trust. Translated from Korean to English, bringing you the latest k-beauty news straight from South Korea.