E N F O R C E M E N T   AND   C O M P L I A N C E

ITA Helps Maintain Market Access for U.S. Companies in the Korean Cosmetics Industry

The Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA) helped the Washington, D.C.-based Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) advocate for better terms under the labeling and advertising provisions in the Korean Cosmetics Act (KCA) which would have otherwise negatively impacted the U.S. cosmetics industry in South Korea.

Why It Matters
Without ITA’s assistance, the trade association and its member companies may not have had adequate time to adjust to Korea’s new labeling and advertising guidelines, which could have delayed shipments and added costs.

Various Cosmetics Courtesy of Personal Care Products Council
Courtesy of Personal Care Products Council

The Problem

In 2011, the Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) issued draft Enforcement Guidelines for labeling and advertising under the KCA. These guidelines included a six-month grace period prior to implementation. U.S. cosmetics companies would have had to delay shipment and incur additional costs in order to fully comply within the short implementation period. Furthermore, it was unclear whether products imported prior to the implementation date needed to meet the requirements as outlined in the KCA and its Enforcement Guidelines.

The Solution

Over several months, ITA and other U.S. Government (USG) agencies pressed the Korean Government to consider the U.S. cosmetic industry’s concerns over the proposed implementation date of KCA. The USG team raised the issue during the U.S.-Korea Bilateral Trade Consultations in Washington and Seoul, and during meetings at the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade Committee in Geneva. In early 2012, the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare promulgated final KCA Enforcement Guidelines, which contained a one-year grace period (until February 2013) to allow cosmetic imports to adjust to the new labeling guidelines. With ITA’s assistance, the U.S. cosmetics industry earned sufficient time to prepare and adapt to the new changes.