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Expanding Cuban Trade

Lifting Embargo To Lift Soybean Sales

ISG sees great potential in the island nation of Cuba. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), soy is Cuba’s second largest import from the U.S. In 2015, U.S. ag exports to Cuba were about $200 million, with about half that value coming from corn and soybeans. Recently, a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service economist told members of the U.S. Senate (Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry) that U.S. agricultural exports to Cuba could reach $1.2 billion annually if regulations are relaxed and some trade barriers are lifted.


Illinois – one of the top soybean-producing states in the country – has been at the forefront of expanding trade with Cuba. Here we grow high-quality soybeans our customers demand and we have excellent access to railroads, rivers and shipping containers that allow us to move our soybeans to Cuba quickly and efficiently. It is estimated that at least 20 percent of Cuba’s U.S. corn and soy imports originate from Illinois.

ISG supports lifting the trade embargo with Cuba and has been active in efforts to open trade by:


  • Visiting Cuba and meeting with top officials on a regular basis (ten times since 2012).
  • Promoting Illinois’ quality soybeans at the annual international trade show in Cuba.
  • Educating Illinois legislative and business leaders about the economic value of trade with Cuba.
  • Leading a U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba (USACC) press conference and panel discussion at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.


ISG also is a founding member of the Illinois Cuba Working Group (ICWG), an organization that began in 1999 when Illinois was the first state to travel to Cuba during the embargo. ICWG was created by an Illinois resolution that was unanimously approved in the 2013 Illinois General Assembly. Its initiatives include expanding exports licensed for sale to Cuba and permitting farm groups to exchange knowledge, capital and business management practices with Cuban counterparts.


Expanding Cuban Trade Update October 26, 2016


ISG is pleased that, for the first time in 25 years, the United States abstained in a vote by the United Nations General Assembly as it again adopted a resolution to renew its call for an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba.


Expanding Cuban Trade Update March 21, 2016


The USDA approved the use of checkoff funds for research, information exchange, relationship-building and other efforts in Cuba. Checkoff funds will build upon existing efforts and leverage knowledge to help Illinois and U.S. soybean farmers market their products and compete in Cuba, an important market which is just 90 miles off the U.S. coast. ISG looks forward to advancing two-way trade with the Cuban people and fostering relationships.