The memorandum of understanding signed recently in the field of agricultural health during U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Cuba paved the way for starting cooperation relations that will be the basis for attaining progress in trade, productivity and food security between the two countries.

According to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsak and Cuban Agriculture Minister Gustavo Rodríguez, the document shows the two parties’ interest in normalizing relations in an economic sector of great importance for the two countries.

The memorandum of understanding signed recently in the field of agricultural health during U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Cuba paved the way for starting cooperation relations that will be the basis for attaining progress in trade, productivity and food security between the two countries.It also aims to ensure food security, sustainable use of natural resources and protecting the territories from the introduction and spreading of plagues and diseases affecting plants, animals and the environment, based on the principles of mutual respect and equality.

Similarly, the memorandum of understanding is intended to take advantage of the two countries’ agriculture and forestry sectors in terms of natural resources and with views to facilitating comprehensive cooperation in affairs related to agriculture and food, agricultural science, technology, environment and trade.

The starting point for this cooperation was the visit made by Vilsak to Cuba in November 2015, when he met with the Cuban agriculture minister and visited some agricultural cooperatives in the country’s west to exchange experiences with Cuban growers.

The document’s objective is to pave the way for U.S. agricultural exporters to seize new trade opportunities in Cuba if the blockade is lifted, noted Vilsak.

The normalization of bilateral trade relations would allow U.S. farmers to take advantage of consequently cheaper transport costs, as compared to the cost of food exports from the European Union and other countries to Cuba, he said.

According to Rodríguez, the measures recently adopted by the United States that modify some aspects of the blockade are positive but will not have a major impact on the sector.

The two parties have agreed to say that, though not free from obstacles, the cooperation in the field of agricultural health enables steps to be taken on a road that is beneficial for the two countries’ farmers and people.

Experts say that the development of those links is another reason for bringing the U.S. economic, commercial and financial blockade to an end.

Another sign of the U.S. interest in the Cuban agriculture were the visits made by the U.S Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan and Horace Clemmons, a representative of Oggun light tractor company to Havana’s International Agri-food Fair, Fiagrop 2016. They both told the press they are interested in making business with that Cuban sector.

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