Permit Requirements to Export American Ginseng...

April 12, 2002

12 April 2002

Permit Requirements to Export American Ginseng from Canada

The following information bulletin is from the CFIA.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) of Environment Canada are issuing this information bulletin to clarify the documentation requirements for shipments of cultivated American ginseng leaving Canada. There is some confusion as to what documents are required, especially for shipments to Hong Kong and other countries with similar requirements.

If you are travelling to Hong Kong and bringing cultivated American ginseng with you, you must obtain a valid CITES Export Permit, which can be obtained from the Canadian Wildlife Service (see below). This permit can not be obtained from a CFIA office. Note that this permit must also be validated by Canada Customs officers when you leave Canada.

American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) is listed in Appendix II of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), and is considered an endangered species in Canada by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). The export of wild American ginseng from Canada is completely prohibited.

The export from Canada of cultivated American ginseng, whether grown in Canada or the United States, is not prohibited. As a result of the CITES listing, however, shipments of cultivated American ginseng leaving Canada must be accompanied by a Canadian CITES Export Permit. An application for a permit may be obtained from the CITES office of the Canadian Wildlife Service of Environment Canada at (819) 997-1840, at the CITES Canada Web site at or by calling 1-800-668-6767. This applies equally to commercial exporters, travellers leaving Canada and bringing a small quantity of cultivated American ginseng with them, or anyone mailing quantities of American ginseng to another country.

Please note that all of the above applies only to live plants and whole and sliced ginseng roots, whether fresh or dried. A CITES Export Permit is not required to export ginseng seeds, or manufactured parts or derivates of ginseng such as powders, pills, extracts, tonics, teas and confectionery.

Shipments of ginseng to some countries require a phytosanitary certificate. A phytosanitary certificate is a document issued to certify that plants or plant products being exported are free of quarantine pests and meet the phytosanitary requirements of the importing country. In Canada, phytosanitary certificates are issued by the CFIA, and can be obtained from local CFIA offices.

Certain countries waive the requirement for a CITES Export Permit when the shipment of ginseng is accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate. For example, mainland China, which requires a phytosanitary certificate, will accept the phytosanitary certificate with a CITES Inventory Attachment instead of a CITES Export Permit. The exporter must obtain the CITES Inventory Attachment from Environment Canada, complete it with the necessary information and sign it, and have it stamped by the CFIA at the same time that the phytosanitary certificate is issued.

Shipments of ginseng to Hong Kong do not require a phytosanitary certificate. Therefore, if you are exporting, bringing or sending cultivated American ginseng to Hong Kong, you cannot obtain CITES documentation from a CFIA office.

Ginseng exporters, including retailers, may obtain a "Multiple-Use Export Permit for Cultivated American Ginseng" from the CITES office of the Canadian Wildlife Service. This document authorizes multiple shipments of cultivated American ginseng out of Canada. If you are buying American ginseng from a retailer in Canada, and you are planning to take it to Hong Kong, ask the retailer if he or she has a CITES Multiple-Use Export Permit for Cultivated American Ginseng.

Retailers who have multiple-use permits may copy the permit, fill in the necessary information (including the name of the person who is taking the ginseng out of Canada), and provide y

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Information Source: 
Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
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