Cosmetics Steering Committee regroups in 2017

Cosmetics-Steering-Committee-2017Despite certain challenges, the Cosmetics Steering Committee (CSC) is realigning its focus to address the many reasons why it was first established in November 2015.

The CSC originally set out to determine ways the cosmetics industry could overcome key constraints and barriers to trade such as ad valorem; the Bioprospecting, Access and Benefit Sharing (BABS) Regulations; harmonisation; metrology; and the draft regulations for the cosmetics industry among others. It also focused on information sharing.

During 2016, various discussions occurred around illegal imports and counterfeit products, as well as the IKS bill. Quarterly statistics on the performance of the industry were also presented at each meeting.

A lot of work has taken place on ad valorem with representatives from SARS attending a number of meetings. Unfortunately, these discussions resulted in frustrations with the pace of delivery being constrained by some of the implementing authorities. So it was decided on 3 March that the CSC will include deliverable objectives and its original terms of reference will be reviewed, to ensure it is more effective going forward.

The BABS headache

BABS not only affects the cosmetics industry, but also has an impact on the food industry, agriculture and pharmaceuticals. The committee believes it would be worthwhile to collaborate with these industries to have a stronger voice at government level.

Although the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) originally stated it would grant bioprospecting amnesty in certain circumstances, a formal commitment on this matter is yet to be received from the department.

A strong case for amnesty is Aloe Ferox. As DEA is yet to establish who holds the traditional knowledge of Aloe Ferox, the permit application process is being hampered, which in turn is affecting cosmetics product development. This is because formulators are not encouraged to develop cosmetics without a valid BABS permit.

While the CSC cannot change the BABS regulations, it will continue to act as a voice for the industry lobbying at government level to reinstate bioprospecting amnesty where necessary. Unfortunately, a DEA representative was not present at the CSC meeting on 3 March so these issues could not be addressed.

Regulations update

With the commentary period having closed on 19 November 2016, industry is eagerly awaiting notification of the next development in the draft cosmetics industry regulations.

A representative from the Department of Health (DoH) explained that the department has collated comments and the review period is currently underway.

She made it clear to CSC members the comments received would be incorporated into the draft regulations and stakeholder engagement is likely to occur. No timelines can be given at this stage.

Furthermore, the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) cosmetics sector desk has indicated it wants to work with the DoH on the rollout of the regulations, to ensure ample consideration of the industry’s business interests.

The way forward

With the next CSC meeting scheduled for 9 June, the committee has allocated various tasks to certain members to ensure a proactive approach. The Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association of South Africa is continuing to handle ad valorem while representatives from the dti are addressing BABS issues with DEA.

SABS and ISO issues are going to be dicussed in the next meeting, as well as barriers to importing and exporting not only finished product, but also ingredients and raw materials. The CSC is planning to have a representative from the border police to address members’ concerns on 9 June, with the goal of developing a more harmonised approach in the future.

Industry players are encouraged to send an e-mail to Dennis Channee or Sinah Mosehla at the dti’s cosmetics sector desk to find out more information about the CSC or to discuss any barriers to trade with the committee.

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