Global Markets Fuel Illinois: 3 Trade Facts You Need to Know

May 22, 2024  |  Today's News |  ICMB |  Locks and Dams |  Ethanol |  Exports

International trade drives the United States economy.


The United States is the second largest exporter in the world and thrives with access to export markets. As we celebrate May as World Trade Month, here are three things you need to know about trade and Illinois agriculture.

  1. Trade Agreements Make an Impact
    • Over 95% of the world’s population lives outside the U.S. Throughout the years, free trade agreements (FTA) have placed Illinois products across the world. The U.S. has trade agreements with 20 countries- creating a big impact for Illinois farmers. The U.S. Grains Council (USCG) reports more than half of all U.S. grains in all forms is exported to countries the U.S. has FTAs with.
    • Historically, IL Corn supports a free trade market opposed to fair trade. Free trade is the open flow of goods from one country to another. It limits barriers and tariffs and drives a competitive marketplace. Fair trade promotes ethical trade practices and often places barriers on products or goods because of environmental or humanitarian concern. Fair trade can include taxes on imported goods and creates a larger market for smaller producers of goods. 
  2. Illinois has Unique Trading Potential
    • The Land of Lincoln’s nearly 1,100 miles of navigable inland waterways provide farmers access to export markets. The Illinois Department of Agriculture reports Illinois ranks third in agricultural exports with $8.2 billion in goods shipped to other countries. 48% of Illinois corn is exported out of state via the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers.
  3. There is Room to Grow
    • In March 2023, Japan opened 100% of its fuel market to American ethanol. The shift increased U.S. exports to Japan by 3070% or $434 million annually.  New access to the Japanese market is a prime example of the opportunities available to U.S. farmers. IL Corn works with USGC, the U.S. Meat Export Federation, and the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council to grow demand for grain, fuel, and meat markets. USCG identified Canada, Japan, the European Union, United Kingdom, and India as the top five markets for U.S. ethanol.

IL Corn continues to promote growing markets and encourages trade to better the opportunity for Illinois farmers.