Specialty Soya and Grains Alliance Testifies to Trade Policy Staff Committee About Market Opportunity For Farmers

Washington, DC - Identity-preserved (IP) crop farmers were represented at a hearing Wednesday about China’s compliance with its commitments to the World Trade Organization (WTO), regarding China’s current zero threshold presence limit placed on imports of non-genetically modified (non-GM) field crops.

On behalf of the Specialty Soya and Grains Alliance (SSGA) and with coordination and support of the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) and American Soybean Association (ASA), SSGA Executive Director Eric Wenberg provided testimony to the Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) in preparation of the Office of the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) annual report about China’s compliance with WTO rules.

Wenberg was one of six individuals providing testimony on a range of issues, including intellectual property among others.

Non-GM food variety soybeans from the United States have been excluded from Chinese imports, although genetically modified soybeans are allowed for import, due to China’s lack of a nonzero low level presence threshold allowing for biotech soybeans to be mixed in.

“Farmers growing identity-preserved and non-GM crops must abide by stringent standards to produce specific varieties and traits to produce food for customers around the globe,” Wenberg said.

“They deserve an additional market opportunity for their products.

"The soybean industry’s concern about this issue helps draw attention to the need to see a solution to this problem along with the other barriers to U.S. product sales.

"According to customs and trade data, food variety soya exports to all destinations for IP can reach $1.7 billion (2018), but we could sell more if the China market was open to us.”

IP soybeans and specialty grains are grown coast-to-coast, but are predominately exported from North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Arkansas and Wisconsin.

For more information, please contact Katelyn Blackwelder at 507-508-1540 or kblackwelder@soyagrainsalliance.org