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As China Demands IPR Data Of French Cosmetics, Macron Looks To Xi

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France’s top cosmetics industry is hopeful that the upcoming discussions between Xi Jinping and Emmanuel Macron will alleviate the effects of stringent new Chinese import regulations on French firms. These regulations demand the disclosure of product formulas and manufacturing expertise. President Xi’s visit to Europe, his first in five years, occurs at a time of strained trade relations, with the European Union considering imposing tariffs on China’s electric vehicle and green energy sectors.

But progress towards an agreement between France and China on the regulation of cosmetics, including lipstick and fragrances, could be a bright spot in discussions in Paris next week.

President Macron’s office said ahead of the meeting that cosmetics would be a topic of “great attention,” and that they sought to “find a solution that also protects the interests of our companies.”

France is the world’s leading cosmetics exporter, shipping nearly 2 billion euros ($2.15 billion) worth of makeup and skin care products to China last year, second in importance only to aerospace products.

New Chinese safety rules due to come into effect next year threaten that trade.

From May 2025 cosmetics exporters will be required to share detailed information on their manufacturing processes with Beijing and receive Chinese inspectors in their factories, a measure that raises concerns about losing control of intellectual property.

Under a plan proposed in talks between the two sides in the past year, French authorities would take responsibility for assuring the safety of some of its exports without the need for Chinese inspections.

France would grant some similar measures to China, but it was not clear what areas those would cover.

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“This reciprocity will assure the highest standards of safety to Chinese consumers,” said Emmanuel Guichard, secretary general of France’s cosmetics industry association (FEBEA), adding that the plan could be formalised during talks between Xi and Macron.

FEBEA’s members include L’OrealOREP.PA, LVMH LVMH.PA and CotyCOTY.N.

Under the agreement, France’s consumer and anti-fraud watchdog (DGCCRF) would ensure the safety of a number of French manufacturers that qualify for “white list” status.

The agency said in a report issued on Friday on its recent activities that it held its first meeting on certification of French cosmetics for export to China with China’s National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) in December.

The Elysee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The DGCCRF did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The NMPA could not be reached for comment on a holiday weekend.
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(With Inputs From Reuters)