- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 6, 2014

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois Corn Growers Association wants President Barack Obama to expand trade opportunities between the U.S. and Cuba.

In a statement Monday, the Bloomington-based organization says Cuba’s location makes it an “excellent opportunity for Illinois commodity and food products.” That’s because the country is located close enough to southern U.S. ports for barge travel.

But the corn growers say federal restrictions on financial dealings with Cuba make doing business difficult.

Gary Hudson is the association’s president. He says Illinois ranks sixth nationwide in lost trade opportunities because of the financial and travel restrictions.

The association is part of the Illinois Cuba Working Group, which the General Assembly formed in 2013.

Among other things, the organization is asking Obama to establish an agricultural trade office in Cuba.

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