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News Updates

Illinois Delegation Heads to Cuba

A high-level, bi-partisan Illinois delegation will visit Cuba Oct. 11-14, 2015. The goal of this mission is to continue opening up agricultural trade with Cuba, which creates jobs and opportunities for Illinoisans.

During the mission, the delegation will meet with representatives from the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Investment and Economic Cooperation, Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cuban Ministry of Agriculture, U.S Embassy, Alimport and business leaders. They also will tour farms, cooperatives and local private markets.

On the final day, the group plans to discuss the future of U.S.-Cuba Agriculture Relations.

The delegation includes:

-The Honorable Cheri Bustos, Congresswoman representing the 17th District in Illinois

– The Honorable Rodney Davis, Congressman representing the 13th District in Illinois

– Todd Maisch, CEO, Illinois Chamber of Commerce

– Craig Ratajczyk, CEO, Illinois Soybean Growers

– Representatives from The Maschoffs, AGCO, ADM, Illinois Farm Bureau, University of Illinois and Illinois Cuba Working Group.

For additional information:
Please contact Sarah Duwe, ISG legislative communications lead, at (920) 205-5495 or sduwe@morganmyers.com; Mike Levin, ISG director of issues management and analysis at (309) 808-3606 or levinm@ilsoy.org; or Amy Roady, ISG communications director, at (618) 535-7937 or roadya@ilsoy.org.

Facts about Cuba:

  • Illinois has been a leader in improving trade relations with Cuba.
    • In 1999, Illinois was the first state to have a sitting governor lead a delegation to Cuba since the 1959 Revolution.
    • In 2013, the Illinois General Assembly passed a unanimous resolution calling for the end to the embargo, improved trade relations with Cuba and the creation of an Illinois-Cuba working group. Resolution:
    • The Illinois Cuba Working Group (ICWG), established as a result of the Illinois resolution, has been a leader in improving trade relations with Cuba.  Illinois agriculture groups are the backbone of the ICWG. They have exhibited at the Havana International Trade Fair the past two years.
  • It is estimated that at least 20 percent of Cuba’s U.S. corn and soy imports originate from Illinois due to the state’s abundance of those crops, our commitment to quality and access to rivers and railroads.
  • Although the U.S. is currently allowed to export ag products to Cuba, the embargo is causing us to lose market share to South American and other competitors.
  • With the exception of sugar and pork, domestic usage of most major agricultural commodities exceeds production in Cuba.
  • Corn, the soy complex, and broiler meat are the only major commodity categories where the U.S. market share has been significant in Cuba.
  • According to the Federation of International Trade Associations, based on World Trade Organization data, Cuba imports about 80 percent of the food it rations to the public.
  • The top five agricultural exports to Cuba from the U.S. in 2014 were frozen chicken, soybean oil cake, soybeans, and corn and mixed animal feeds, according to the U.S-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, Inc.