Guide of Cosmetics business – How to import in Thailand ?
The regulation applicable to cosmetic products in Thailand is “ Cosmetic Act B.E. 2535”. The harmonization of cosmetic regulations between the ASEAN member countries (including Thailand) has issued the ASEAN Cosmetics Directive. Some ministerial rulings and circulars are introduced in each country to follow certain obligations of the Directive.
This is particularly the case in Thailand with the “Food and Drug Administration” circulars on labeling products or the ministerial decree adopting the classification of cosmetics in the Directive (which implies the cancellation of the classification of cosmetic products under specific control or Specially Controlled Cosmetics according to the Cosmetics Act B.E. 2535).
1. Import Procedures
1.1 Registration of importer
The import of cosmetic products is not subject to import license. However, the importer must have an authorized operator number (code) issued by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), an agency that reports directly to the Ministry of Health.
1.2 Import formalities
According to the ASEAN Cosmetics Directive (Internal Circulars only) since 2008, the products Cosmetics do not require registration but preceding notification 15 days before the date of import to the “Cosmetic Control Division Food and Drug Administration”.
The notification to the FDA is made using a specific form and the following information must be provided :
- The name of the enquirer
- The operator code issued by the FDA
- The name of the product and the brand, in the case of a series of products having different colors or perfumes.
It is necessary to :
- specify the name of the product followed by the color or perfume
- the type of product (for example sunscreen)
- the instructions for use and the objectives of use
- the list of ingredients (the names must be given according to the INCI name with the percentages)
- the name and address of the manufacturer in Thai,
- country of manufacturer
- the name and address of the importer
- the name of the person responsible for the placing on the market, the contact details of the headquarters and the Registration number in the commercial register
The free sale certificate is no longer mandatory as before, but in case of doubt, the FDA may request document deliver by the body of competence such as FEBEA or COSMED and which must be endorsed by the Embassy of Thailand.
Once the FDA notification procedure has been completed, the importer will receive an acknowledgment of receipt from the FDA. He will then have to pay the annual fees before the actual importation of cosmetics.
The fee of notification of cosmetic products is 2 000 THB (about 40 €/35$). The notification is valid for 1 year for all imported products and must be renewed annually.
NB: The person signing the notification must speak Thai and the notification must be completed in Thai (also translate the brand).
1.3 Sample Imports
The importation of cosmetic samples not intended for sale is subject to a special procedure.
Indeed, depending on the use of these samples (in the context of research, commercial samples, gifts, etc.), an application for importation from the FDA, which must be accompanied by supporting documents (copy of bill, letter from the importer explaining the reason for the import, list of ingredients, etc.).
2. Documentary Obligations
In order to clear goods arriving in Thailand, the person who will complete the customs declaration should submit the following documents:
- Commercial invoice: It must be in English and mention the country of origin of the goods, terms of sale, details of the goods, the sale price and miscellaneous expenses.
- Packing list: This document is not mandatory, but may be requested by customs.
- Certificate of origin: It must be endorsed by the competent ICC and the Embassy of Thailand in France.
- Usual transport documents (ETA or bill of lading) and insurance
- Receipt of notification deliver by the FDA prior to actual importation. The production of this receipt is necessary for the clearance of goods.
- Certificate of free sale
*It may be requested in case of doubt from the authorities.
3. Principle of taxation
Thailand has adopted the Harmonized System 2007. The first 6 digits of the customs product nomenclatures are equivalent in the majority of countries. The following figures are specific to Thailand.
Customs duties (rate 2015 – EU origin)
- 3303.00.00 Perfumes and toilet waters 30%
- 3304.10.00 Lip makeup preparations 30%
- 3304.20.00 Eye makeup preparations 30%
- 3304.30.00 Manicure and pedicure preparations 30%
- 3304.91.00 Powders, whether or not compressed 30%
- 3304.99.20 Anti-acne creams 30%
- 3304.99.30 Other face or skin creams and lotions 30%
- 3304.99.90 Other 30%
- 3305.10.10 Shampoos : Having antifungal properties 30%
- 3305.10.90 Shampoos : other 20%
- 3305.20.00 Preparations for permanent waving or straightening 20%
- 3305.30.00 Hair lacquers 20%
- 3305.90.00 Other 20%
- 3401.11 For toilet use (including medicated products)
- 3401.11.10 Medicated products 10%
- 3401.11.20 Bath soap 10%
- 3401.11.30 Other of felt and nonwovens, impregnated, coated orcovered with soap or detergent 10%
- 3401.11.90 Other 10%
- 3401.30.00 Organic surface-active products and preparations for washing the skin, in the form of liquid or cream and pu tup for retail sale, whether or not containing soap 10%
*Municipal tax and excise duty, only for perfumes
**They are calculated on the CIF3 value of the goods.
For example, for a product with a CIF clearance value of 100 Baht, the tax is calculated as follows:
- Excise duty of 15 Baht (15%) + a fee of 1.5 Baht (10% of 15%) = 116.5 Baht
- VAT The VAT has a rate of 7%. It is calculated on the value released from the goods including the municipal tax and excise duties.
- Tax on customs formalities
- Customs declaration: 200 baht per entry
- Entry of computerized data by a customs officer: 70 baht per entry
4. Conditions for placing on the market
4.1 Product Definition
*Cosmetics are defined by section 4 of the “Cosmetics Act B.E. 2535 (1992)”
Preparation used by application, friction, dusting, spraying or application on all parts of the body and which is intended to cleanse, beautify and care for the skin, excluding ornamental products of clothing.
According to the ASEAN Cosmetics Directive, the definition is identical to the European definition.
With the entry into force of the ASEAN Cosmetics Directive, the three categories mentioned above were grouped into a single category of notified products known as “Controlled cosmetics”.Cosmetics were previously divided into 3 distinct categories (according to the classification established in the Cosmetics
Act B.E.2535 (1992)):
- Specially Controlled Cosmetics : those containing substances which may be hazardous in case of misuse (toothpaste, solution of oral rinse or floss containing fluorides or cetyl pyridinium chloride, hair dyes and depilatory creams). A particular logo is mandatory on the label.
- Controlled Cosmetics : they must be submitted to the FDA 15 days before their manufacture or import but do not require registration. (Sunscreen, anti-dandruff lotions, talc powder, wipes …)
- General Cosmetics : cosmetics that do not contain prohibited ingredients or possibly harmful to consumers (soap, oral preparation not fluorinated, shampoo …). This category does not require prior registration or notification to the FDA.However, they must follow the labeling requirements.
4.2 Creation of the product information package
According to the ASEAN Directive, the distributor or person responsible for placing a cosmetic product on the market should introduce a product information package, the “Product Information File”, which will contain all technical information relating to the product. This file should be available at the address specified on the product and be presented in case of control.
In order for the dossier to comply with the Directive and to help the authorities along in their work, it must be in the following format:
- Part 1: Administrative documents and product summary
- Part 2: Quality data on raw materials and ingredients
- Part 3: Quality data on the finished product
- Part 4: safety and efficacy data
Although the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive includes lists of prohibited and authorized ingredients, it will be necessary to follow the FDA instructions for the Thai market.
Ministerial orders are currently in force and cosmetic products sold in Thailand conform to the following lists:
- Lists of Prohibited Substances
- List of UV ingredients and their maximum permissible limits
- List of Authorized Conservatives
- List of authorized dyes
- List of substances authorized according to a maximum limit
*The labeling of cosmetic products must conform to the requirements set out in the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive.
The labels must be attached to the products and the packaging of the products in places permitting an easy and complete observation of the contents of the labels without having to be detached from the product.
In the case of outer packaging which must not or cannot be opened, the mandatory particulars must be fixed on the outer packaging.
The following information must be stated in Thai on the packaging of the products:
- The name of the product and its function, unless it is clear from the presentation of the product
- Instructions for use, unless it is clear from the presentation of the product
- The complete list of ingredients and their percentages: the ingredients must be indicated in order decreasing, respect the INCI list
- The country of manufacture
- The names and addresses of the foreign manufacturer, importer and company or responsible person of the placing on the market
- Content given by weight or volume, in metric units, or both metric units and system imperial.
- The batch number of the manufacturer
- Date of manufacture
- The expiry date of the product in clear terms (ie date / month / year). The date must be clearly expressed and consist of either month and year or day, month and year in that order. The words “expiry date” or “best before” could be used. If necessary, this information will be supplemented by an indication of the conditions which should satisfying to guarantee the stability of the product.
- The indication of the expiry date is compulsory for cosmetic products whose stability is less than 30 months.
- Special precautions to be observed must be printed on the labels as other special precautionary information on the cosmetic product.
- Compulsory indication must be in Thai language and must be legible enough. Beyond these compulsory indication, the texts in foreign languages are acceptable.
- The list of ingredients must, however, be indicated in English or Thai.
- Imported products are not required to carry a Thai label on the packaging when entering Thailand, however, the distributor must attach a Thai label within 30 days of customs clearance and before entering market.
Finally, in general, it is forbidden to mislead the consumer, to use bad notice which confuse the actual characteristic of the product (functional or non-functional cosmetics, pharmaceutical product, product Bio …) and which go beyond the scope of the product.