The International Grain Trade Coalition (IGTC) 'was formed in 2001 with the aim of influencing the negotiations on the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety so that the Protocol was not established in a way that undermined the benefits of a low cost bulk handling system to transport commodities for the world's food, feed and processing industries.'
IGTC consists of 17 members that are said to represent commercial grain, feed and processing interests in major exporting and importing countries and regions. The 17 members are also said to represent approximately 1,000 individual companies in more than 80 countries.
Although IGTC claims not to be pro-GM or a biotech industry grouping, key members of the IGTC are from the main GM crop exporting countries - the United States, Canada and Argentina, eg the North American Export Grain Association, Canada Grains Council, US Grains Council, US Wheat Associates, Chamber of Grain Exporters of the Argentinean Republic, and America's National Corn Growers Association.
Some key members are also closely aligned with the biotech industry. For instance, US Grains Council members include firms with biotech interests such as Monsanto Company, Monsanto/Corn States Hybrid Service, Syngenta Crop Protection , Syngenta Seeds, Dow AgroSciences, Pioneer (a DuPont company), AgReliant Genetics, and Archer Daniels Midland. Another member the American Farm Bureau Federation which not only is staunchly pro-GM in orientation but has a stock portfolio that includes Monsanto, Dupont, Novartis and Dow. (Rightwing business in farm overalls )
The U.S. Grains Council's focus includes developing export markets for U.S. grains as part of an effort to promote U.S. agriculture's profitability. Its membership funds trigger matching market development funds from the U.S. government.
Another key member of the key member of the IGTC is the National Corn Growers Association. NCGA is a trade association with a direct financial interest in promoting US farm exports and achieving market acceptance for a key GM commodity (in 2005 it was projected that more than half of the corn planted in the United States would be GM corn).
Syngenta, Monsanto and others contributed about 11 percent of the National Corn Growers Associations $7 million budget in fiscal year 2001. In 2001, the National Corn Growers Association worked with the biotech-industry backed Council for Biotechnology Information and the American Soybean Association to achieve "a unified message about the benefits of transgenic crops." (Source: CropChoice )
The chairman of the NCGA's biotechnology working group has said that, 'Getting information to customers about new biotechnology products and working with regulatory agencies to gain approval of them here and abroad, in order to open markets to U.S. farmers, is an important part of the work of the National Corn Growers Association'. (Source: CropChoice )
NCGA's biotech position includes supporting trade negotiations 'including the specific objective of regulatory synchronization and mutual acceptance of biotech agricultural products'.