EU lawmakers will delay a proposed ban on cosmetics tested on animals by four years to 2009, seeking to lessen the impact on the US$50 billion market.
The European Parliament, which voted in June for a 2005 ban, bowed in November to EU government demands to push back the date.
The parliament is likely to formally endorse that compromise today, lawmakers said.
Cosmetic makers including L'Oreal SA, Wella AG and Procter & Gamble Co have spent 500 million euros (US$530 million) to develop new tests and stopped testing finished products on animals, according to the European Cosmetic Toiletry and Perfumery Association.
The law reflects a "balanced consensus" that "establishes a clear route map for business to move toward the elimination of animal testing in the cosmetics sector," Boots Plc, the UK's biggest pharmacy chain, said in a statement.
EU governments sought to appease the US by postponing the ban, contending it could break WTO rules by preventing imports from countries including the US and Japan that require animal tests.
Europe's laboratories use as many as 40,000 rabbits, guinea pigs, mice and other animals for scientific experiments every year, killing one every three seconds, the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection says.
"This is a balanced deal which gives the cosmetics companies time to develop alternative ways of testing," said Phillip White-head, a UK Labour member of the parliament.
The law sets "an end date to take `cruel' cosmetics off the shelves for once and for all, he said"
Only the UK and the Netherlands have banned animal testing on cosmetic and toiletry ingredients, though products tested elsewhere on animals can still be sold there.