WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES, November 13, 2023 – Former Congressman Matt Salmon, Chairman of the American Kratom Association (“AKA”), joined Indonesian President Widodo in requesting President Biden maintain the free trade of kratom shipped from Indonesia to the United States. President Widodo, who joined President Biden in a Bilateral Meeting on Monday at the White House, highlighted the kratom issue as a part of the trade discussions between the two countries.
“The FDA has improperly abused its import alert authority to create a de facto ban on kratom in the United States because the Agency cannot justify domestic scheduling of kratom that requires evidence and data,” Salmon explained. “If this unjustified import alert is allowed to stay in effect, it will have catastrophic economic and climate impacts.”
In a letter to President Biden from the Governor of West Kalimantan on November 6, 2023, the region where kratom farming is centered, Governor Harrison wrote “The Import Alert has harmed the more than 250,000 kratom farmers and their families who have no other reasonable options for a livelihood. In addition, this Import Alert poses a catastrophic climate impact threat because if IA 54-15 stays in place it will inevitably result in the deforestation of more than 21 million kratom trees in the highly sensitive Borneo rainforest.”
The AKA released a report entitled “The FDA’s Import Alert on Kratom Threatens an Unintended, but Devastating Climate Impact on the Borneo Rainforest Region in Indonesia” concludes the import alert on kratom fails to consider any impact “other than pursuing a self-serving expansion of FDA’s self-anointed crusade against a botanical supplement it does not favor.”
Mac Haddow, Senior Fellow on Public Policy with the AKA, cited the evaluation of the FDA’s recommendation for kratom to be classified as a Schedule I substance made by then HHS Assistant Secretary of Health, Dr. Brett Giroir, as “embarrassingly poor evidence and data and a failure to consider the overall public health.” “The peer-reviewed published scientific literature on kratom since 2018 has shown an even stronger case that the FDA is wrong on kratom,” added Haddow.
“The kratom import alert directly contradicts the Biden Administration’s goals for building strong trading relationships with Indonesia to offset the aggressive efforts by China to undermine U.S. objectives in the South Pacific region, and to promote strong climate policies,” Salmon concluded. “For every step forward the Biden Administration foreign policy has taken in this region, the FDA’s kratom import alert pushes us 10 steps back. It is an unexplainable foreign policy blunder for the FDA to significantly undermine U.S. foreign policy priorities on climate change initiatives by imposing an import alert on kratom exported from Indonesia, a plant that supports the livelihood of more than 250,000 poor farmers and their families in the Borneo rainforest area. Worse, the import alert on kratom fails to consider any impact other than pursuing a self-serving expansion of FDA’s self-anointed crusade against a botanical supplement it does not favor.”