Countries of Origin and Export of Destination Regulations

Herbal raw materials and aromatic plants imported into the country, mostly originated from neighboring Asian countries such as China, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and others. These countries had been using traditional raw materials for a very long time. They found many uses for them such as in the preparation of food, traditional medicines, perfumery and cosmetics etcetera. The plants were generally grown at farm levels as well as in plantations. However, many species of plants were collected from wild forests and sometimes native to their countries of origin. There were also raw materials coming from other parts of the world such as South America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Producing countries had instituted regulations, directives and other control measures to ensure product quality and safety. Strict adherences to regulatory standards were followed especially when the products were meant for export to target countries. Often these control measures were implemented through business organizations and trade associations. TCM herbs and herbal products had a huge world market and many of their exporters would ensure that their products passed the assessment of GMP standard, pesticide-free, sulfur-free, heavy metal-free and not subjected to chemical pollution.

Before herbs and herbal products were to be imported into any country, they needed to be legally registered with the relevant authority. Since herbal products were made of natural herbs they can be regarded as food supplements, herbal tea products or cosmetics and not medicines for easy customs clearance.

Besides registration, other commercial practice considerations would follow. This involved a contract between a supplier and an importer in which a precise product description along with brochures and perhaps samples were offered. The importer might want to visit the location and facilities and to confirm other business details of the supplier.