The big split: Preparing for the end of the Brexit transition period

As the transition period nears its end, it is vital that cosmetic and personal care companies take steps to stay compliant. Alex Fotheringham, Operations Director – Cosmetics at MSL Solution Providers, outlines the required measures to continue trading

The UK may have made its official exit from the European Union (EU) on 31 January 2020; however, 31 December 2020 is the more important date for the €78bn EU cosmetics and personal care industry.

Although the UK is no longer part of the EU, existing EU legislation is currently still in place. This means that cosmetic products are still covered by the EU Cosmetics Regulation (1223/2009) until 31 December 2020, when the transition period expires.

At this point, all UK and EU cosmetic and personal care manufacturers and brands must be prepared for the UK to be outside of the EU regulatory framework and compliant with the future UK regulation.

Many companies are still not prepared for the changes that will come into force on 1 January 2021.

Some have had to refocus their efforts to deal with issues raised by the Covid-19 pandemic, such as furlough and huge fluctuations in supply and demand. Others have waited for the conclusion of the trade negotiations.

Whilst the outcome of these is likely to have significant consequences on the future of the UK, there is not expected to be any impact on the regulatory impact for cosmetics.

Regardless of the Future Trading Agreement, the UK legislation will take effect from 1 January 2021, replacing the existing EU regulation (1223/2009) within the UK.

Notable issues raised involve Cosmetic Product Notification Portal (CPNP) transfers, re-labelling, and the requirement for a suitable ‘Responsible Person’ (RP) as a legal entity to represent UK cosmetic businesses within the EU – or a suitable RP to represent EU businesses within the UK.

Taking responsibility

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”. From 1 January 2021, products intended to be sold in the UK and the EU post-Brexit will be subject to two different RP requirements: EU and/or UK RP.

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