MLM Press Room

Avon Products Supports Resolution of Direct Selling Issue in China

NEW YORK, April 16, 1999

Avon Products, Inc. (NYSE:AVP) today welcomed the agreement reached last week between China and the United States to remove all market access restrictions on direct selling in China by January 1, 2003, including the current ban on direct selling imposed last April.

The agreement, announced by the U.S. Government, is contingent upon successful completion of the World Trade Organization (WTO) accession negotiations between the United States and China. The agreement also includes development of regulations for direct selling based on the World Federation of Direct Selling Association's World Code of Conduct.

"We are delighted with China's decision to allow the resumption of direct selling operations," said Charles R. Perrin, Avon's chief executive officer. "As the first direct selling company to enter the Chinese market, Avon remains thoroughly committed to the opportunities this promising region offers for growing our business and providing meaningful earnings opportunities to thousands of Chinese citizens."

Since starting operations in China in 1990, Avon has continued to regard China as a significant growth market and has worked with the government to bring ethical direct selling practices into place. Avon China is based in Guangzhou and operates branches throughout the country. In 1996, the company opened a branch in the capital city of Beijing, becoming the first direct selling company licensed to operate there. And last year, Avon opened a new manufacturing plant in Conghua in Southern China to support its expansion plans. As a result of the direct selling ban last April, Avon has been operating on a smaller scale as a wholesale and retail business in China since being re-licensed last June.

"We enthusiastically support the efforts currently underway for the quick accession of China into the World Trade Organization," said Mr. Perrin. "As the world's most populous nation, China represents enormous business opportunities that will benefit its own growth and development and will serve the best interests of the global economy."

Avon also recognized the efforts of the Clinton Administration, and specifically the commitment of Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky and her staff, for their leadership and support on behalf of the direct selling industry around the world.

Avon is the world's leading direct seller of beauty and related products, with $5.2 billion in annual revenues. Avon markets to women in 135 countries through 2.8 million independent sales representatives. Avon product lines include such recognizable brands as Anew, Skin-So-Soft, Avon Color, Far Away, Rare Gold, Natori, Millennia, Josie, Starring, Avon Skin Care and Women of Earth. Avon is also one of the world's largest manufacturers of fashion jewelry, and markets an extensive line of apparel, gifts and collectibles. More information on Avon and its products can be found on the company's award winning website

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