Dawn Koepke

Job and trade implications lead to mounting SB 1249 opposition

By Dawn Koepke

Capitol Update, Aug. 3, 2018 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Over the last month concerns have grown over the detrimental impacts SB 1249  (Cathleen Galgiani, D-Stockton) would have on jobs and trade in California and across the country. As you will recall, SB 1249 would ban the sale of any cosmetic and ingredient therein that has been animal-tested. While the cosmetic industry moved away from animal testing in the 1980s and shares the goal of eliminating cosmetic animal testing, as currently drafted, the bill would have significant job impacts in the state and be inconsistent with world trade requirements. 

As a matter of fact, concern regarding the loss of jobs has resulted in labor opposing the bill. The Teamsters Public Affairs Council has taken an oppose unless amended position on the bill, citing the onerous approach the bill takes and urging amendments to address the concerns so as to avoid job losses. In that regard, according to the Personal Care Products Council, SB 1249 would put 415,000 California jobs in jeopardy. California’s lawmakers shouldn’t be in the business of offshoring high-paying manufacturing jobs to get around flawed legislation. Instead, the Legislature should amend the bill to address the concerns and avoid sending personal care products jobs overseas to countries where labor is cheaper and environmental standards are lower. 

Also noteworthy, the provisions of SB 1249 could subject California cosmetic products to retaliatory measures overseas. More specifically, international trade rules mandate that technical regulations, such as SB 1249, be no more trade-restrictive than necessary to achieve a valid policy objective.  To the contrary, SB 1249 would introduce a sweeping ban on importation, in-state sale, and promotion of any cosmetics which use ingredients subject to mandatory testing in other countries. China requires animal testing for most cosmetic products and ingredients that are sold in the Chinese market. In this regard, SB 1249 would prevent Chinese products from being imported and sold in California as well as products from Europe, Japan, and elsewhere that are sold in China and therefore have been tested on animals. They too would be banned from California’s market. Further, the ban would include products with cosmetic ingredients that have been tested on animals for another purpose, such as to satisfy chemical, healthcare or drug regulations in any foreign country. The effect would be significant restrictions on trade in cosmetic products at a time when countries are already imposing tariffs and other trade barriers as a result of federal trade policies. 

To emphasize the point, China – who requires animal testing for cosmetic products to enter the Chinese market – is California’s single largest export market. In 2017 alone, California’s exports to China totaled $28.5 billion. Since the bill also may prevent European, Japanese, and other foreign cosmetics from being sold in California, the potential negative repercussions could go well beyond bilateral trade with China. Also of note, California is one of the top ten economies in the world and international trade plays a significant role in the success and competitiveness of California companies. If passed and enacted, SB 1249 would essentially close off the California market to foreign cosmetic products and in doing so undermine California’s international reputation and result in California manufacturing job losses as a result. 

CMTA is opposed to SB 1249 based on its negative impacts on jobs, innovation and investment, labeling it a “Manufacturing Breaker.”  We urge the Legislature to oppose SB 1249.  The bill is currently pending action in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

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