China issues proposal to promote TCM development

Updated: 2012-05-29 13:24


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BEIJING - Chinese authorities have issued a joint proposal created by 14 government authorities to boost the development of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), an assistant minister from the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) announced at a Thursday press conference.

The 14 departments include the Ministry of Commerce, State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Foreign Ministry, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Health, said Qiu Hong, assistant minister of the MOC.

Qiu said TCM is an important component of China's service trade, adding that the proposal is the result of three years of efforts and research aimed at the global market.

According to the proposal, China will spend five years establishing a TCM trade and management system, as well as create a marketing strategy that is in line with the direction of the international market.

China will also encourage qualified TCM institutions and enterprises to set up overseas branches by establishing joint ventures with foreign companies, with 10 TCM institutions expected to establish such branches by 2015 in southeast Asia, Europe, North America and the Middle East.

TCM is practiced in over 160 countries and regions and has become a health care alternative with increasingly local needs, Qiu said.

Also at the conference, Wang Guoqiang, vice health minister and director of the State Administration of TCM, said that early in 2009, the World Health Assembly passed a resolution handed to it by the Chinese government to develop TCM.

To further grow the field, China has drawn up plans to promote the development of trade in TCM services, which has provided those involved with a precious opportunity, Wang said.

According to the vice health minister, "The Outline of the 12th Five-Year Plan for the Development of Trade in Services has identified TCM trade services as a prioritized area with great potential."

Wang also noted a growing number of countries and regions have asked for China's help in the field of TCM.

A total of 96 bilateral governmental agreements concerning TCM cooperation have linked China and foreign countries or international organizations, and another 49 agreements have been made exclusively on TCM cooperation, he said.

"TCM services have been handed legal status in countries such as Australia, Austria, Canada, Singapore and Vietnam," Wang said. "Some countries and regions have also set up industry groups to conduct self-discipline management on TCM services and brought TCM therapies into medical insurance schemes."

China currently has more than 36,000 TCM medical, educational and research institutions, 803,000 licensed or assistant TCM practitioners and 15,000 TCM researchers.