China eCommerce Positive List: “Import Cosmetics for the first time” & More

TMO Group
positive list China cross border eCommerce

The “Positive List” issued by China government regulates the products one can import to China via the cross-border eCommerce model.

On the surface, this list seems simple to understand. However, many still have questions regarding the “Positive List”. For example:

  • What does this text in the “Remarks” column refer to?
  • Why do I have to check the ingredients for cosmetics products I intend to import?
  • What is the “Catalogue of Import and Export of Wild Animals and Plants” and where can I find it?

This article will explain the “Remarks” from the “Positive List” that we most frequently get questions about.


Cosmetics Ingredients and Approval Documents

Related Products: all kinds of cosmetics products


If you aim to import a new cosmetic product into China market, you may need to go through a few more steps to do so via cross-border eCommerce. This is because new ingredients need approval before importation.

Specifically, the latest policy requires that starting Jan.1st, 2018, only imported cosmetics that have been approved for a Hygiene License can be sold via Chinese eCommerce. There are already more than 136 thousand approved cosmetics products. Therefore, if you want to sell your foreign cosmetics product to China, the first step is to check the approval status of your product and its ingredients.

You can search your product (in Chinese) on China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA)’s official website here.

If your product is listed – congratulations, feel free to use cross border eCommerce to import your product to China!

If your product is not listed – you need to apply for a Hygiene License for your imported cosmetics. See process details the image below:

Import cosmetics to China first time cross border eCommerce TMO Group

Keep in mind that whole application process for first-time imported cosmetics can take 6 months or more.


“Catalogue of Import and Export of Wild Animals and Plants”

Related Products: Eggs, Meat, Seafood, Fur products, Woolen products



“Catalogue of Import and Export of Wild Animals and Plants” lists restrictions on the importation of animal and plant-related items. As a result of these restrictions, the catalogue protects endangered animals, rare plants or their products from importation or sale into China.

Consequently, the catalogue will majorly affect you if you intend to import any kind of meat, animal, or plant products. For the full catalogue, please see the official document from Chinese Customs here (in Chinese).


“Catalogue for the Management of Import and Export Licenses for Dual-Use Items and Technologies”

Related Products: Oil, Vitamin products, Plants



“Catalogue for the Management of Import and Export Licenses for Dual-Use Items” regulates imported chemical related products to China.

Your product will be restricted if it can be used to produce chemical weapons or illegal drugs. The most items most commonly affected by these restrictions include oil products, vitamin products and certain kind of plants. You can download the Chinese version here (PDF).


“Catalogue of China’s Strictly Restricted Toxic Chemicals” and “Management Catalogue of Import and Export Pesticide”

Related Products: Pesticides, Vitamin products, Fungicides



The “Catalogue of China’s Strictly Restricted Toxic Chemicals” outlines what kind of chemical products you can import to China. The document does this specifically by reporting which chemical products and items the government considers safe and high enough quality for import. The “Management Catalogue of Import and Export Pesticide” does the same specifically for pesticides and fungicides.

Therefore if you are wanting to bring in chemicals, pesticides or fungicides into China via cross border eCommerce, you definitely need to check these lists beforehand. The Toxic Chemicals catalogue can be found here, while the Pesticides catalogue can be found here, both in Chinese.


“Import Management Catalogue of Cryptographic Modules and Equipment Containing Ciphergraph

Product related: Printer, Fax machine & other electric devices



Issued by the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, the “Import Management Catalogue of Cryptographic Modules and Equipment Containing Ciphergraph” monitors the import of some goods and regulates the automatic import license administration of goods.

Generally, make sure if you intend to import printers, fax machines, or other digital devices that they don’t include code/password technology. But if you intend to, or are concerned about this issue, check the original document in Chinese here.



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