Brazil and the United States are countries with vast territories, well-developed agricultural sectors and are major producers and exporters of food, fibers and other agricultural products. Presently, both countries are undergoing a very rapid expansion in biofuel production. They possess large natural resource bases, and recognize that the sustainability of natural resource bases depends on appropriate agricultural practices developed with a sound scientific basis. Challenges and opportunities for agricultural sectors of both countries emerge from increases in global demand for food, fibers, renewable energy sources and other raw materials; expectations of greater risks result from global climate changes, such as changes in the geography of production, unstable production and productivity levels, and changes in the prices of agricultural products; and from growing pressures on natural resources.

International scientific cooperation is essential for institutions willing to have an important role on finding sustainable solutions to the above challenges and opportunities. The Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation - Embrapa, since its establishment, in 1973, has consolidated the "technological revolution" in Brazilian agriculture, jointly with its national and international partners. At the end of the 1990s, Brazil emerged as one of the world leaders in agribusiness. It would not have been possible without the continuous investment in science, technology and innovation. The challenge of being a relevant corporation implies on choosing right priorities and on generating new technology followed by its incorporation in the productive sector. Within this context, Embrapa developed a new paradigm in international cooperation, called Labex - Embrapa's Virtual Laboratory Abroad.