Cuban President Raul Castro has confirmed his country’s willingness to hold dialogue with the United States on the basis of mutual respect for independence, sovereignty and self-determination, and without conditions.

"We are ready to discuss everything, but not to negotiate our political or social system,” President Castro said at the 3rd session of the 7th National Assembly of Cuba on August 1. He also pledged to defend, maintain and continue to perfect socialism in Cuba .

The leader said Havana and Washington have resumed negotiations on migration in a serious and constructive manner, adding that Cuba will continue to implement the agreements already signed between the two countries in that spirit.

In another move, the US Arkansas state’s Governor Mike Beebe, who has returned from a visit to Cuba, said Arkansas wants to increase agricultural exports to the island country.

According to the governor, there is a chance for Arkansas to boost its trade with Cuba, primarily in rice and poultry exports.

Beebe told reporters at a July 31 press conference that he didn't make any formal agreements with Cuban officials during the trip but that he believes the state could broaden trade exchanges with Cuba .

The official said there have been signs that trade restrictions imposed by the US government against Cuba may ease soon.

Arkansas has limited trade with Cuba under terms of the US embargo. Last year, the state exported just 32,000 USD worth of goods to Cuba, a steep drop from 1.3 million USD in 2007 and 1.4 million USD in 2006./.