China has the opened the door to its lucrative $60 billion cosmetics market a little wider to companies that want to enter without testing their products on animals.

Chinese authorities have signed an agreement with Cruelty Free International to allow foreign companies with ‘Leaping Bunny’ certified cosmetics to manufacture and market their products in China.

According to Cruelty Free, the “ground-breaking pilot scheme” will enable the companies to avoid testing on animals by producing cosmetics in China that don’t need post-market testing.

Cruelty Free International CEO Michelle Thew said the exciting scheme, which will be run in conjunction with China’s Knudsen&Co (a legal consultancy) and Fengpu Industrial Park, “could benefit animals, consumers and cruelty free companies alike”.

“We know there is demand from consumers in China for cruelty free cosmetics,” she said.

“This is a great opportunity for us to gauge the level of demand from international brands to register their interest in entering the market in China.”

China is the world’s biggest and fastest growing market for cosmetics but many international brands currently do not sell there due to the requirement to test on animals as part of the product registration process.

Foreign companies can however currently sell their products in China via e-commerce stores.

The Leaping Bunny is an internationally-recognised certification for cosmetics, personal care and household product brands which are not tested on animals. Companies are subject to an independent audit of their entire supply-chain monitoring system.

According to Cruelty Free International, more than 80 percent of countries still have no laws against testing in cosmetics and that approximately 500,000 animals are still used in cosmetics testing every year despite the fact “that most countries do not require safety data based on animal tests” and reliable alternatives are available.

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