Premium Beauty News - How important is the cosmetic industry in the French economy?
Alain Grangé Cabane - In 2010, the cosmetics and perfume industry remains, with its trade surplus, France’s third exporting sector in net balance  ( military weapons excluded) behind aircraft and spacecraft manufacturing and beverages. These excellent results are, among others, due to the attractiveness of French products, recognized for their safety and quality, and for their innovative nature.
Premium Beauty News - Did the block put on the registration of files in China have major economic consequences for French companies?
Alain Grangé Cabane - Undoubtedly, consequences for companies exporting to China are important. The blockage, which began on 1 April 2010, will weigh on sales in 2011 and even in 2012, since exports to China have not yet fully recovered.
Premium Beauty News - While the situation seems to be slowly improving, are there still some regulatory grey areas remaining for companies exporting to China?
Alain Grangé Cabane - Indeed, the situation is still a source of concern. Renewals of authorization for already marketed products, with a nearing expiring time limit (four year validity), are resuming at a regular pace. It is the same for so-called “non specific” products (shower gel, shampoo...) as opposed to products with a “specific” purpose (sun care, deodorant, slimming...) according to Chinese regulations.
For new products and for some of the so-called “specific” products (e.g. products for babies or pregnant women), the situation remains critical, since the notion of “new ingredient” is not clarified to date, with the result that product registration applications are always refused.
Premium Beauty News - What are the most promising export markets for French products? What are the French companies most favoured areas?
Alain Grangé Cabane - Europe remains the main export zone since in 2010 it accounted for 64% of French sales: 53% of our exports go to EU member countries (with a growth of +3.8%), and 11% in Europe to non EU member countries.
The best performance for 2010 concerned the Latin American region, since an increase of 24.5% in exports was recorded. The strong growth of Brazil (+40%) was a pleasant surprise too, as well as the one of other Latin American countries overall (Uruguay, Mexico, Argentina).
Regarding the top 10 “customer” countries of “Made in France” cosmetics and perfumes, they are by order: Germany (a customary leader), the UK, Spain, USA, Italy, Russia, Belgium, Singapore, Switzerland and the UAE. To note however that in the case of Singapore, products are mainly transiting before they reach their final country of destination in Asia.
In conclusion, an overall recovery is clearly noticeable compared to 2009.
Premium Beauty News - What markets are the most difficult to access?
Alain Grangé Cabane - We’ve already mentioned the case of China, of course... Otherwise, we can name Japan, for quasi-drugs, the USA and Canada for OTC/therapeutic products.
Finally, we are closely following the case of Israel, as the authorities have embarked on the drafting of a new regulation, which turns out being for the time being, a clumsy interpretation of the European Regulation. The project, originally scheduled for June 2011, could not be applied by companies, as it stands. The FÉBÉA and the CTPA (Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association which was approved by the FÉBÉA) immediately alerted Israeli authorities. The implementation has therefore been postponed to a later date and discussions with European authorities are underway to shed light on the differences between the European Regulation and the Israeli project.
Premium Beauty News - It’s been nearly a year since you were granted the ISO 9001 certification for the management of the issuing of CFS (Certificates of Free Sale). Have you already reaped some benefits from these lengthy procedures?
Alain Grangé Cabane - Absolutely. After a year of work, we obtained this certification allowing us to guarantee the issuance quality of FÉBÉA-CFS to exporters, bearing in mind that CFS are mandatory to export to 59 countries. But most interesting was the reaction of authorities of countries requesting the CFS. They greatly appreciated this initiative and congratulated the FÉBÉA for the pledge of seriousness it represented.