How to Import Cosmetic Products in UAEKWS Admin
The UAE continues to grow its Imports & Exports capabilities, firmly positioning itself as a global logistics hub. The beauty and personal care market in the UAE has significantly expanded over the past five years and is projected to enjoy a compound annual growth rate of over 4% between 2018 and 2023, according to TechSci Research.
The personal care sector is strictly regulated in the UAE. This means that it is paramount for all companies looking to import and distribute cosmetic products in the region to understand the regulatory and legislative landscapes.
In this article, we look at the mandatory steps to import and put cosmetics and perfume products on the UAE market.
In the UAE, the Emirates Standardization and Meteorological Authority (ESMA) is the government body responsible to regulate and supervise the personal care sector in the country.
If the products fulfill the ECAS requirements, ESMA issues an ECAS Certificate of Conformity. Ports and custom departments will allow only those imported products that have been issued ECAS Certificate of Conformity to enter the country and be distributed onwards.
After the Certificate of Conformity has been issued by ESMA, imported and locally manufactured cosmetic and perfumery products are required to be registered with the relevant Municipality in the UAE prior to be offered for sale in the retail market.
Note: Only an entity incorporated in the UAE may register such products with ESMA and Municipalities. As such, this means that international companies seeking to market their products in the UAE must either establish a local presence or appoint a local distributor to import, register and distribute the products on their behalf.
Legal Requirements: “Commercial Law” and ‘Fragrances Law” are the legislations which must be complied with by imported products in order to be offered for sale and used in the UAE.
Applicable Technical Standards: The Cosmetics Law and the Fragrances Law set out the technical adopted standards to be fulfilled in relation to safety, packaging, wrapping, labelling and metrology for all cosmetics and perfumery products to be offered for sale and used in the UAE.
Safety requirements: Imported products must comply with the general safety requirements of Standard GSO 1943/2016 set by the Gulf Standardization Organization (GSO).
Packaging and wrapping requirements: Products must be packed in appropriate and clean containers that do not interact with the cosmetic product and vice versa. Containers used for products shall comply with the following requirements,
- Standard UAE S. GSO ISO 22175 relating to packaging and labeling &
- Standard UAE.S GSO 2093 relating to glass containers (in case of glass containers) used for cosmetics.
Metrology requirements: Standard UAE.S GSO OIML R87 is the regulation relating to the quantity of product in containers.
Labeling Requirements: Emirati Standard No. UAE.S GSO 1943 has stipulated general requirements that must be satisfied by labels of products.
Certificate of Conformity
The ECAS Certificate of Conformity constitutes evidence that the product has been approved by the UAE Federal Government through ESMA. The process for obtaining a certificate of conformity is described below:
- Applicant must register on ESMA website.
- Submit application along with supporting documents.
- Conformity assessment of the product with the requirements of the approved standards by ESMA
- If products fulfill ESMA requirements, they are registered on ESMA portal and ECAS certificate of conformity is issued after payment of fees.
- Certificate validity is 1 year and shall be renewed at least one month before the end of validity period.
- Valid UAE trade License: Only a UAE incorporated company can proceed with registration process
- Test Report from an accredited and recognized laboratory according to Gulf standard UAE.S GSO 1943
- A certified document from the manufacturer listing down the ingredients and corresponding percentages
- Free sale certificate issued by the relevant authority in the country of origin
- Representative artwork and label of the product according to Gulf standard UAE.S GSO 1943
- Health and Safety report of the product
ESMA conducts market surveillance and periodic review to ensure product compliance with current technical regulations.
Registration with the Municipality
Cosmetic, beauty and personal care products are required to be registered with Dubai Municipality or Municipality of relevant Emirate in which the products are planned to be sold. To know the details of the process, read here: cosmetics products registration in Dubai.
Distributing Products in UAE
Any international company looking to market its products in the UAE firstly is required to establish its presence by incorporating in the UAE then it can register its products with ESMA and the Municipalities.
International company can form limited liability company or setup business in UAE free zone in order to establish local presence. International company can also choose to appoint an already existing local company to import and distribute its products in the UAE.
Whichever form will be suited most depends upon the circumstances. In any event, it is advisable to obtain experienced local advice such as from KWSME, leading business consultants in Dubai. We help entrepreneurs as well as companies in their business setup in UAE.