The UK Government has recognised the BRCGS Global Standard for Consumer Products provides the robust technical and quality requirements for exporting general cosmetics products to China.

In response to the new Chinese CSAR regulations which came into force on 1 May 2021, the UK needed to establish a GMP certification system which enables UK brands and manufacturers to export without needing to test their products in animals. The UK Department for International Trade (DIT) has been in extensive discussions with the Chinese National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) and has concluded that the BRCGS for Consumer Products can form a key part of the UK’s GMP certification system.

This provides significant opportunities for UK brands and manufacturers as it opens up trade avenues into the Chinese market. The UK cosmetics sector has, for many years, been able to assure the safety of cosmetics without the need to perform tests on animals. Nevertheless until now, animal testing has been mandated by China.

This recognition provides significant growth opportunities for BRCGS certificated sites as it grants access to the world’s second-largest cosmetics market after the U.S. in terms of revenue and consumption value. It is also one of the fastest growing areas of business in China for the near future. As a result of urbanization, growing disposable income, and social media influence, the beauty and personal care market is facing a significant demand for higher quality, ethically-produced, high-end brand products. The market is forecast to be worth $50bn by 2021.

The Department of International Trade recognised that manufacturers with BRCGS certification are operating to sound and well-managed processes, and therefore has confidence that issuing a certificate assuring such good manufacturing practice does not represent a risk to the UK Government. Similarly, a UK Government issued GMP certificate underpinned by BRCGS standards, complies with the principles defined by NMPA to provide them with the required assurance.

A key strength of BRCGS certification is that it provides a more straightforward route for manufacturers. While ISO 22716, a cosmetics standard, is also accepted as part of the application process, it is not an accreditation standard and therefore it is the manufacturer’s responsibility to demonstrate that the certification body has the appropriate accreditations in place. The BRCGS Consumer Products standard meets all the requirements of ISO 22716, and is covered by globally recognised IAF accreditation.

John Tomlinson, BRCGS Global Sales, Marketing & Business Strategy Director said: “This regulatory recognition demonstrates the value of BRCGS Standards in facilitating cross-border trade through the removal of technical barriers and we are delighted to be able to support UK manufacturers’ access to the Chinese cosmetics market. In terms of global trade, DIT and NMPA join a growing number of regulators around the world that recognise the rigour of BRCGS supply chain assurance programmes and how they ensure that products placed on the market are safe for consumers”.

International Trade Minister, Ranil Jayawardena said: “This is great news, both for our iconic British cosmetics brands who are renowned globally for their high standards and ethical production methods, and for global brands manufactured in the United Kingdom.  

The new certification system will enable British manufacturers and exporters to create jobs and take advantage of one of the world’s fastest-growing cosmetics markets, which is forecast to be worth approximately £50 billion in 2021[1], while maintaining our clear position and domestic ban on animal testing in cosmetics.”

The application process for the UK Government-issued GMP certificate for export to China opened on 1 May 2021. Visit the Import Licensing Branch (ILB) website ( to register.

If you are interested in becoming certificated to the BRCGS Global Standard for Consumer Products, visit our website ( and register your interest.


[1] This has not been forecasted by DIT. This is a publicly available forecast, which has been converted into GBP.

According to the following publicly available source: Cosmetics market size in China 2012-2021 ( Release Date: August 2020, Published by Yihan Ma, Dec 17 2020), the Cosmetics market size in China is forecast to reach 455.3 bn RMB.

The forecast has been converted to a GBP value using the most recently available Quarterly Average RMB-GBP exchange rate (July-September 2020) from the Bank of England Daily spot exchange rates.