The cosmetics industry is well aware that products can be purchased outside of China and resold without consent for a much lower price. These so-called parallel imports do not violate China's trademark laws, according to the National Law Review, although they erode the business and reputation of the trademark holder.
As such, the same source recently highlighted three paths companies can take to secure enforcement against imported foreign cosmetics.
1. China only permits the resale of non-China FDA registered cosmetic imports directly to consumers, not businesses, through designated e-commerce platforms such as Tmall/Alibaba and JD.com/JingDong. These platforms permit only those with proof of trademark registration or licensees to register and sell products.
2. Beyond e-commerce, unregistered foreign cosmetics imported for resale require prior recordation with China's FDA and must follow the related labeling provisions. The importer must show customs that cosmetics have been recorded before they are cleared for delivery to the Chinese buyer; violations may lead to confiscation and fines three to five times that of illegal profits.
3. Finally, imported cosmetics must bear a white, Chinese label on the back of primary packaging that contains mandatory information about the foreign product. Products that do not bear these labels violate Article 35.2 of China Regulations on the Supervision and Regulation of Cosmetics. Such a violation can be reported to the local Market Supervision Administration (MSA), and the products will be confiscated and fines will be issued against the importer.