WASHINGTON — U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman told cosmetics and personal-care products executives on Monday the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact will eliminate tariffs on a significant amount of the industry’s exports if it is enacted.
Froman met with members of the board of the Personal Care Products Council, including executives from The Estée Lauder Cos., Revlon Inc., Procter & Gamble, Iredale Mineral Cosmetics, Combe Inc. and Kolmar Laboratories to discuss TPP.
“TPP is the first trade agreement that includes a cosmetic annex,” Lezlee Westine, president and chief executive officer at the PCPC, said on a call with reporters. “It provides a framework for international regulatory best practices and will raise standards and address technical trade barriers.”
TPP includes the U.S., Australia, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Vietnam, Malaysia, Peru, Singapore, Chile, Brunei and New Zealand and aims to remove barriers to trade to encompass nearly 40 percent of the world’s gross domestic product if enacted. Trade ministers signed TPP in early February and it now must be ratified by the 12 countries.
The deal faces opposition from key Democrats in Congress, concerns from GOP leaders, the two presidential presumptive nominees, labor and environmental groups and growing numbers of the public. On the positive side, the deal has support from major business trade groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers.
Froman reiterated Monday the administration is working with members of Congress to resolve differences and said he is optimistic that Congress will vote on it in lame duck session after the November presidential election.
As for the personal-care industry, Froman said TPP would cut 100 tariffs on cosmetics products that can range as high as 30 percent.
“As we heard from some of the [PCPC] members today they’ve had to pull out of markets because tariffs have been so high and they look forward to expanding their sales in the region as those [tariffs] are ultimately eliminated,” Froman said. “In that regard, TPP does include a specific annex on cosmetics that will bring greater transparency on how countries regulate standards in this area.”
Froman said the trade deal would also create greater transparency around “conformity assessments” so companies will know whether they are meeting the standards.
“There are things in the TPP cosmetics annex that will greatly contribute to our companies’ ability to offer their products to consumer throughout the TPP,” said Francine Lamoriello, executive vice president of global strategies at the PCPC. “There is a removal of some burdensome labeling requirements; there is a commitment from countries that they will not require animal testing where validated alternatives are available and there are a number of really important aspects including increased transparency and a commitment to a risk-based regulatory system.”