Published: 24 January 2024  (Updated: 01 February 2024)

What We’re Watching Worldwide in 2024

By Johanna Irigaray, International Affairs Manager, CTPA

At the end of last year, CTPA’s International Seminar offered audiences the chance to traverse the globe in 48 hours (metaphorically speaking) while picking up cosmetics and personal care industry insights along the way.

For my colleague Nico and I, who lead CTPA’s international intelligence-gathering and relationship-building efforts, the event’s packed agenda, healthy attendance levels and high calibre of speakers reinforced why the last couple of years have felt so busy for international industry affairs - and why that trend looks set to continue into 2024.

The Seminar offered a moment to take stock of some of the markets, including the US, India and China, where wide-scale regulatory change could be coming (or could be continuing, in some cases) and where CTPA and its members must keep a keen eye. In the US, for example, while companies had to meet certain new regulatory requirements by 29 December 2023, the FDA remains obliged to develop policies for another two years. It means it could still be shaping the rule-books for companies through to the end of 2025.

Changes afoot within China provided plenty of food for thought across the event, thanks to some excellent presentations and panel contributions from the British Consulate-General in China, Cosmetics Europe and a cross-section of companies that trade in the region. The panel discussion, in particular, cemented how valuable UK Embassies are, especially in areas where regulatory frameworks are very different to the UK. Embassy representatives can help companies to find agents, navigate the region’s rules, and offer market and consumer insights. It’s why strengthening CTPA’s Embassy relationships continues to be a top priority.

Heading south from China to Indonesia, halal was a hot topic for audiences at the event as we edge ever closer to October 2026 when all cosmetic and personal care products that are imported, distributed and traded in the region will have to be either formally certified as halal or bear ‘non-halal’ labelling.

A representative from the UK Embassy in Jakarta offered an update on an agreement that would allow certification bodies in the UK to be registered in the region. It would offer valuable benefits to UK companies because they’ll be able to certify their halal products in the UK, rather than having to request certification from the Indonesian authorities or certification bodies in the country, which could be a lengthy and costly exercise. Meanwhile, the UK-based organisation, Halal Certification Europe, explained the certification process and what companies can expect once the rules come into play. For CTPA members, the clock is ticking to get ready for the change, so this will be a key focus for our team in the coming year.

Much closer to home, we heard from Cosmetics Europe about changes underway that could have significant ramifications for cosmetics and personal care players. For example, the growing focus on environmental sustainability, the introduction of new legislation around packaging and waste, and the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive. As the EU remains the UK’s most important global market, it’s vital for companies to familiarise themselves with the changes now, so that they don’t become costly challenges later down the line - a key message across the Seminar.

Of course, it’s not right to suggest that all change on the international stage is challenging. Change brings plenty of opportunities too for major exporters, like our industry; a point reinforced by the Department of Business and Trade (DBT). While complex to negotiate, Free Trade Agreements offer opportunities to discuss existing issues and barriers to trade with our global neighbours, and explore opportunities for governments to resolve these challenges on a practical level. Australia will be a market to watch in this regard in the coming year, and we look forward to helping to represent the UK industry’s voice.

Personally, I came away from the event feeling very optimistic. Yes, there are major changes afoot in multiple markets. And yes, these are likely to have significant implications for companies’ ability to trade. But there is also a clear consensus on the importance of our UK industry as a global trading force - and a commitment from our government, and international representatives, to find ways to strengthen and support this. At CTPA, we’re looking forward to more conversation and collaboration with our member companies and global neighbours in 2024.

Find out more about CTPA’s international work and the support services available to our members and non-members at:  



Find us on...