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Chinese Medicine Expected to Benefit from China-Australia FTA
   2015-12-19 07:24:50    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Li Jianhua


File photo of Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng (L2) and Australia's Trade Minister Andrew Robb (R2) signing a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries in Canberra, Australia on June 17, 2015.[Photo:CFP]

The free trade agreement between China and Australia is due to take effect on Sunday.

Chinese traditional medicine has been identified as one of sectors most likely to reap benefits from the trade deal.

CRI's Li Jianhua explains.

 

The bilateral agreement was signed this June after ten years of negotiations.

Chinese traditional medicine was included in the deal despite doubts over its efficacy among some Australian people.

Traditional Chinese medicine manufactures, like the time-honored Tong Ren Tang, are especially expected to benefit, once the agreement comes into effect.

The company already has five branch stores in Australia, and the General Manager of its business in Australia, Ma Anyang, is eager to see the agreement come into force.

"I think with the implementation of the agreement, many medicines, especially some important herbs, good-quality herbs, and those written in the Chinese herbal dictionary, will be approved by the Australian medicine authorities. As a result, we will have an increasingly wider road, and open more and more branch stores in Australia."

Also, as part of the agreement, China will send a certain number of medical practitioners to work in Australia each year.

Australia is the first western country to regard Chinese traditional medicine as having the ability to treat patients.

A national registration and accreditation scheme was launched in 2012 to license Chinese medicine doctors.

So far, close to 4,600 physicians engaging in traditional Chinese medicine throughout the country have been certificated.

Each year, about 4 million people in the country use Chinese Medicine or acupuncture treatment while the total turnover of the sector is around 300 million Australian dollars.

In a joint promotional effort, a research center was established last month by the National Institute of Complementary Medicine of the Western Sydney University and the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences.

It plans to conduct clinical trials on patients who suffer from vascular dementia in Sydney.

Alan Bensoussan, with the NICM team, said the center will invite medics from both countries to carry out a bunch of experiments in search of new treatments combined with traditional Chinese medical therapy and modern medicine.

"We help our Chinese partners to do some strong clinical trials in Chinese medicine on Australian patients. And we actually focus particularly on Chinese medicines. So for many years that's been our main priority."

The professor called for more support to boost the development of the sector in the country.

"We really want to see this grow. This is an enormous opportunity for China. It's an enormous opportunity for western patients, western medical researchers as well. I think that the partnership is ideal, but it will only grow with some really strong support from both governments, from industry, from philanthropy."

Chinese Medicine has been used in Australia for more than a hundred years since the Gold Rush.

Its importance is reflected in the fact that courses in Chinese Medicine are taught in Australian tertiary institutions.

For CRI, this is Li Jianhua.

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