Tonio Borg, EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy

Borg statement:

“I have just returned from a 4-day visit in China, where I took part in several high-ranking meetings focusing among others, on product safety, medical devices, cross-border health threats and cooperation in the area of animal diseases control and anti-microbial resistance. Overall, China is now the EU’s 2nd trading partner behind the United States and the EU is China’s biggest trading partner. It is therefore in our mutual interest to preserve and nurture our commercial bonds, in full compliance with our respective legislations.

I have used my stay as an opportunity to have an exchange with the Chinese authorities on the European ban on animal testing for cosmetics, which applies fully since 11 March 2013. The provisions apply equally to products imported into the EU from China.

With this ban, Europe positions itself as the strictest cosmetic market in the world in favour of animal welfare. In addition, we also pave the way for alternative methods to be developed and eventually replace animal testing in the field of cosmetics.

I have encouraged the Chinese authorities to avoid unnecessary testing for cosmetics. There are many areas where animal testing can be replaced, for example, where the proof of safety can be based on ingredients. In this case, the respect of animals as well as the costs of animal tests speak in favour of not doing them.

I see first signs of acceptance of alternative methods in China which I welcome very much. Acceptance of validated alternative methods, starting with those that are OECD accepted, is clearly key to limit animal testing for cosmetics internationally.

I invited the Chinese authorities to work in closer cooperation with the EU Joint Research Centre in the area of alternative methods. Here we have already had first promising contacts. In the same vein, I have also welcomed China’s participation as an observer at the next meeting of the International Cooperation on Cosmetics Regulation, aiming for acceptance of validated alternative methods at international level”.

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