WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) has joined 12 other national agricultural producer, biotech, seed, and grain handling, processing and export organizations in urging U.S. President Barack Obama to make market access for U.S. crops and advancing the U.S.-China relationship on agricultural biotechnology and trade "beyond the status quo" as a "top priority" during the upcoming Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders Summit in China next month.

In a letter written under the auspices of the U.S. Biotech Crops Alliance - of which NGFA and the North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA) are founding members - the groups stressed the "incredible importance" of the Chinese export market for U.S. grains and oilseeds to the viability of the U.S. agricultural economy.  The letter noted that China is the largest U.S. export market for soybeans, valued at more than $14 billion in 2013, while U.S. corn and corn product exports were valued at roughly $3.5 billion that year.

"However, the U.S. agricultural crop value chain currently faces serious challenges in providing for predictable and stable trade to China because of the inability to secure timely import approvals for new biotechnology products and a growing concern that factors other than science are being used as justification to reject applications (for approval of biotech commodities intended for food, feed or further processing)," the letter said.  "In some instances, this has created a situation where U.S. exports of agricultural crop commodities (to China) have ceased or are in jeopardy of being rejected."

In addition to the NGFA and NAEGA, organizations signing the letter were:  American Farm Bureau Federation, American Seed Trade Association, American Soybean Association, Biotechnology Industry Organization, Corn Refiners Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Corn Growers Association, National Oilseed Processors Association, U.S. Canola Association, U.S. Grains Council and U.S. Soybean Export Council.