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

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The “Positive List” issued by the Chinese 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 want to sell your foreign cosmetics product to Chinese consumers, your first step is to check the Positive List. If your product belongs to a listed category already, then congratulations – your product is already approved for import and you can use cross-border eCommerce to do so.

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

The one exception here is if your products contain any ingredients listed in the “Catalogue of Import and Export of Wild Animals and Plants”. In such cases, you will need further approval before you can import these products to China via cross-border eCommerce.

If your product does not belong to any of the listed categories on the Positive List, then you need to import your products through “General Trade”. Furthermore, if this is the first time that this product has been imported to China, you will need to specifically apply for approval.

The flowchart below explains the application for General Trade imports:

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.

This means that your product will be restricted if it can be used to produce chemical weapons or illegal drugs. Consequently, the 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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