Milei announces Argentina’s policy reversal as it decides not to join the Brics bloc.

Far-right president deems Argentina’s accession to the alliance as untimely

Argentina has officially announced its decision not to participate in the Brics bloc, a group of developing economies. This marks a significant shift in Argentina’s foreign and economic policies under the new populist president, Javier Milei.

In a letter directed to the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – the current members of the alliance – Milei explained that the moment was not opportune for Argentina to fully join. The letter, dated a week ago on 22 December, was released by the Argentinian government on the last working day of 2023.

Argentina had been invited, along with five other countries, to join the bloc in August. The Brics group, consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, would have expanded to include Argentina on 1 January 2024, creating an 11-nation bloc.

This decision comes at a time when Argentina is grappling with a worsening economic crisis.

Milei’s predecessor, the center-left president Alberto Fernández, supported Argentina’s membership in the alliance as an opportunity to access new markets. The Brics nations currently represent around 40% of the global population and over a quarter of the world’s GDP.

However, the economic turmoil spurred a desire for change among many in Argentina, ultimately leading to the election of the unconventional political outsider, Milei, as president.

Milei identifies as an “anarcho-capitalist,” a faction within liberalism that advocates for a stateless society. He has implemented various measures to deregulate the economy, which has experienced significant state intervention in recent decades.

In terms of foreign policy, Milei has aligned Argentina with the “free nations of the west,” particularly the United States and Israel.

During his presidential campaign, Milei criticized countries governed by communism and declared that he would not maintain diplomatic relations with them, despite growing Chinese investments in South America.

Nevertheless, in the letter addressed to his Brazilian counterpart, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, as well as the other Brics leaders – Xi Jinping of China, Narendra Modi of India, Vladimir Putin of Russia, and Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa – Milei expressed a willingness to enhance bilateral ties and expand trade and investment flows.

Milei also conveyed his readiness to hold meetings with each of the five leaders.

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