Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) has created a harmonized cosmetic regulatory scheme, ASEAN is a trade group within the Asian region that is made up of ten nations located in Southeast Asia. These countries include; Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, and Vietnam. From the inception of ASEAN, the involved parties have been working in togetherness to create an economy that is competitive through cooperation and sharing of information, knowledge, and experience between the parties.
This body promotes intergovernmental cooperation between member states facilitating in political, economic, security military and education among its members.
In the year 2015, a new body was formed by ASEAN. The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC)was established. Its main aim was to create a common market and encourage trading activities within the countries found in ASEAN and the world.
ASEAN operates slightly different from the EU by its legislation having a binding effect but no enforcement power unless a member country adopts and implements a specific part of the legislation as part of their law.
Cosmetic Framework of ASEAN
The ASEAN cosmetic committee created (ACC) the ASEAN committee on standards and quality (ACCSQ). This body was created to regulate and monitor the cosmetic sector of all member states. The ASEAN Cosmetic committees together with the ASEAN scientific cosmetic body (ASCB) always have meetings throughout the year to discuss and exchange information on a unifying framework.
Published in 2008, the framework known as the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive (ACD) focusses on various issues that concern the import, manufacture, and sale of cosmetic products within the member states. Over the years, it has been amended based on the agreement of all member states through the meetings of the ASCB.
ACD follows many features from the EU’s regulatory framework. One of the most notable is the ingredient lists of all the Cosmetic Products Regulation (CPR). ACD is not applicable in the member states unlike CPR.though all members agree to implement changes in the ACD, there may be an uneven regulatory framework and enforcement because of the time-lag in implementation.
What Cosmetic Products mean
The definition of cosmetic product found in the CPR is more or the less the same as that of the ACD; Any substance or preparation that is intended to be placed in contact with the various external parts of the human body or with the teach and the mucous membrane of the oral cavity with a view exclusively or mainly to clean them, perfuming them, changing their appearance and/or correcting body odors and/or protecting them or keeping them in good condition.
The ASEAN Harmonized Cosmetic Regulatory Scheme
To formulate and strengthen cooperation amongst its members, ASEAN ministers signed the agreement on the ASEAN harmonized cosmetic regulatory scheme (AHCRS) during the 35th ASEAN economic ministries meeting held on September 2nd, 2003. This body was created to ensure the safety, quality and all claimed benefits of all cosmetic products brought in ASEAN. It was set up to also remove the restrictions baring trade if cosmetic products amongst members of ASEAN
The AHCRS stipulates the requirements for cosmetic products for all member states. A product manufactured and marketed in any other member state and has met all the requirements will be allowed to enter other signatory states. The AHCRS has been developed in conjunction with the cosmetic industry and has two schedules as well as a signed agreement.
The most significant part of this harmonized scheme is that ASEAN member states will change from the traditional approach of pre-market approval to a more preferred approach of post-market surveillance for cosmetic products
Schedule A: JOINT ACKNOWLEDGEMENT PREPARATION AND APPROVAL OF THE REGISTRATION OF COSMETIC PRODUCT. The product recognition approval in an ASEAN country is known by all member states.
Schedule B: RULING OF ASEAN COSMETIC PRODCUT NOTIFICATION STIPULATES. The manufacturer who has placed the cosmetic products in the ASEAN Market shall notify the cosmetic regulatory authority of each member state where the product is marketed of where the product is manufactured.
The AHCRS common technical documents are also to be introduced in the meantime. These documents are a result of close collaboration between ASEAN governments and the cosmetic industry at large. The main objective is to harmonize the cosmetic technical requirements among ASEAN member states for the marketing of quality and safe cosmetic goods.