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Illinois farm groups foresee market growth in Cuba

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BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) _ Illinois farm groups are looking to Cuba as a growing market for corn, soybeans, pork and other state products.

Tamara Nelson of the Illinois Farm Bureau tells the (Bloomington) Pantagraph (http://bit.ly/1GEzWyW ) the thaw in relations between the United States and Cuba could mean up to $7 million more a year in sales for Illinois farmers in the short-term. She says long-term potential could be $25 million annually.

President Barack Obama announced Wednesday the U.S. and Cuba will begin taking steps to restore full diplomatic relations and he’ll try to persuade Congress to lift the trade embargo.

Agricultural exports have been an exception to the embargo, but they’ve been subject to burdensome rules. Other countries with fewer restrictions and easier financing have gained market share in Cuba in recent years.