The cosmetics market is one of the fastest growing markets in ASEAN with a total value estimated at approximately US$16.2 billion in 2013. As early as 2003, the ASEAN Harmonised Cosmetic Regulatory Scheme (AHCRS) was adopted and it was fully implemented by ASEAN Member States (AMS) in 2008. The ASEAN Cosmetic Directive (ACD) remains as the first harmonized regulatory scheme in ASEAN. This directive creates a basis towards global alignment and convergence of regulatory activities in the field of cosmetics. The ACD was meant to align ASEAN with the EU and to provide an extensive market access among 10 AMS, and 27 Member States of the European Union.
The ACD provides a platform for industry players and stakeholders within ASEAN with a more consistent and coherent approach necessary in order to instil the highest level of consumer confidence including keeping abreast with the current developments and technological advancement in the field of cosmetics. Since its adoption in 2008, there has been a high level of adherence by all member states in terms of implementation of national regulations to bring the ACD into effect. The ACD was modelled on EU regulations and prescribes a system based on notification by suppliers followed up by post market surveillance. Under ACD, suppliers are required to notify the regulatory authorities of the products placed on the market in each AMS and to maintain Product Information Files (PIF) containing product manufacturing, safety and quality information. The ACD has removed the need for suppliers to obtain approval of their products prior to being placed on the market. The Directive obliges regulatory agencies to assure safety and protect consumers through post market surveillance.
The ASEAN cosmetics sector demonstrates that regional harmonisation is driven by appropriate industrysensitive and responsive regulation; this ensures consumer safety and regular collaboration at the policy and technical levels between the industry and the regulator and supports the development of a vibrant and competitive sector.