The whole world, including the natural and healthy products industry, has its eyes on China and its 1.3 billion people. As the former director of the Natural Products Association’s China office, Jeff Crowther understand the challenges and opportunities facing U.S. companies eager to enter the burgeoning Chinese market. He’s now putting this understanding to work as founder and executive director of a new group called the U.S.-China Health Products Association (U.S.-China HPA).

As Crowther notes, the United States and China are closely interconnected in the realm of natural and healthy products. “The U.S. is the largest producer and marketer of natural health products in the world, and China is the largest supplier of natural health ingredients in the world,” Crowther writes on the U.S.-China HPA website.

Up until recently, China was not considered the most attractive market for U.S. produced natural health products because the country lacked a sizeable middle class—but now that is rapidly changing, Crowther writes. “China’s fast paced economy has given rise to a substantial new consumer base with expendable income and a desire to purchase natural health products that increase health and well being.”

The goals of the U.S.-China HPA—which is in the process of signing on founding industry members now—are to provide regulatory advocacy, increase natural products exports to China, provide Chinese market intelligence and helping to assure quality of Chinese-made products.