HC Deb 23 May 2000 vol 350 c435W
Mr. Baker

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what steps he takes to ensure Chinese herbal medicines on sale do not contain ingredients derived from endangered species. [122921]

Mr. Mullin

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which regulates and sometimes bans trade in endangered species including plants, is strictly implemented in the UK under both European and National legislation. Medicines derived from species listed on Appendix II or III of the Convention need an import permit issued by my Department before they can enter the country. Permits will not normally be issued for products containing the most endangered species listed on the Convention's Appendix I. Any products that are derived from, or even claim to be derived from, wild taken Appendix I specimens will not normally be allowed on sale in the UK.

The CITES Convention is actively enforced by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise and the Police who work together with my Department, other government departments and certain non-governmental organisations on the Government's Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime. My Department produces general guidance on the Convention and has recently launched a dedicated website on CITES. We have also worked with the enforcement agencies to produce specialist material including leaflets, posters and videos aimed directly at Britain's Chinese speaking community. We are currently working on new guidance, to be produced in English and Chinese, for practitioners and retailers of traditional Chinese medicines and have signalled our intention to work with Middlesex University on new scientific research into the use of alternatives to replace endangered species contained in traditional medicines.