The Natural Products Association (NPA) has announced that it will continue its participation in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s (USDOC) China Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP) through fiscal year 2010. The award was granted to NPA in 2007, as part of the annual Market Development Cooperator Program, which builds public and private partnerships by providing federal assistance to non-profit "export multipliers" like trade associations that are particularly effective in reaching small- and medium-size enterprises. The grant allows the NPA to expand its business in China, one of the world’s fastest growing markets, while also helping to safeguard the global supply chain for natural products.
Jeff Crowther, executive director of NPA-China, said, “NPA is grateful for receiving the MDCP grant. It has allowed the association to be the first and only non-profit trade association dedicated to the natural product industry in China. Over the last three years, NPA-China has established solid relationships with Chinese government agencies and organizations, which have assisted the association in its China endeavors and developed important partners for the association’s members.”
Since beginning its participation in MDCP, NPA and Beijing-based NPA-China have provided nearly a dozen extensive training sessions on quality assurance and U.S. regulations to well over 200 Chinese firms that export raw materials to the United States for use in natural products like dietary supplements and personal care products. China’s oversight agencies, State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) and General Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), have attended the training sessions as well, to become more familiar with U.S. food safety and quality regulations.
"The combination of our NPA-USP China program, our strong history in quality assurance and our prior China experience helped us win this award. We're happy to see it continue and we look forward to having greater success in the upcoming year," said Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., interim executive director and CEO of the Natural Products Association.
Through a combination of its own efforts and MDCP initiatives, the Natural Products Association has implemented other quality, market and supply-chain actions:
- NPA’s raw materials quality assurance program, launched in 2007, was highlighted in the 2008 “Action Plan for Import Safety -- a Report to the President – Interagency Working Group on Import Safety,” which sited NPA’s partnership with U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) to test raw ingredients for identity, purity and safety before export to the U.S. market.
- In 2009, NPA-China published an industry report and priority request to the U.S. International Trade Administration for inclusion in the agency’s U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade talks, the highest level of talks between the two countries on trade.
- The American Chamber of Commerce in China (AmCham-China), a non-profit organization representing U.S. companies and individuals doing business in China, published NPA-China’s annual industry paper on dietary supplements, read by decision-makers in both the U.S. and Chinese governments.
- NPA-China submitted comments and an industry report to the Legislative Branch of the State Council as well as to China’s SFDA. The comments and report were reviewed by USDOC.
NPA’s efforts through the MDCP strengthen this valuable international supply chain and helps improve market access conditions for U.S. manufacturers; safeguard and manage the supply chain, and expose both U.S and Chinese manufacturers to market opportunities through trade missions and trade show participation.
“Currently, China’s health product industry trails the U.S, Japan and the E.U. in sales, but has tremendous potential for sizeable growth,” said Crowther. “With proper regulatory change, China will become the largest market for natural products by 2020. Simply put, China cannot be ignored nor can it lack industry representation.”
About the Natural Products Association
The Natural Products Association (www.naturalproductsassoc.org) is the nation’s largest and oldest non-profit organization dedicated to the natural products industry. The association represents more than 10,000 retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors of natural products, including foods, dietary supplements, and health/beauty aids.