Letter from the Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt
MP, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
to the Chairman of the Committee
Testing of cosmetic products (22837)
Thank you for your letter of 12 December regarding
the above. I am very sorry indeed that you did not receive my
letter of 22 November explaining why I intended to lift the UK
Scrutiny Reserve on this text at the Internal Market Consumers
and Tourism Council (IMCTC) on 26 November. A copy of my letter
I understand your concerns, but I stand by my decision
to lift the scrutiny reserve in this particular case. A negative
vote by the UK at the IMCTC would have helped to create a blocking
minority and the text would have failed. It is important that
this dossier moves forward in Europe as quickly as possible, so
that the non-WTO compatible full marketing ban which appears in
the existing 6th Amendment to the Cosmetics Directive can be replaced
by a marketing ban linked to internationally validated alternative
tests to animal testing. We believe that this will deliver very
real benefits in animal welfare; for the first time it will commit
all Member States to banning any testing of cosmetics on animals
across the European Union, and enshrine in EU law a firm commitment
to banning sales of cosmetics tested on animals where there are
valid alternative tests.
Unfortunately, I am unable to give oral evidence
to the Scrutiny Committee on 9 January as I am in Japan on an
official visit. However, my colleague Melanie Johnson who is the
Minister with lead responsibility for this area, has agreed to
attend in my place. I understand that my officials have already
spoken to the Clerk of the Committee about this.
Let me also apologise for the slightly delayed response
to Michael Connarty's post-IMCTC Parliamentary Question tabled
on 28 November. I wanted to ensure that the fullest possible response
was given without giving rise to any ambiguity. The response was
tabled on 10 December.
I am copying this letter to Lord Brabazon and the
Clerk to your Committee, Les Saunders, Cabinet Office European
Secretariat and Grahame Dovey, DTI EU co-ordinator.
Once again, please accept my apologies, and my personal
assurance that no discourtesy was intended to you or the Committee.
18 December 2001