Argentina withdraws from BRICS membership

The government of Javier Milei has officially announced that Argentina will not join the BRICS, the political and economic bloc formed by Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

Mondino (foreign minister) and Milei (president) of Argentina, who withdrawn from Brics
President of Argentina, Javier Milei, with its Foreign Minister, Diana Mondino. Photo courtesy: Argentine Foreign Ministry

The decision was communicated to the BRICS member nations through letters sent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, headed by Diana Mondino. The letters were addressed to the presidents of each country: Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Brazil), Cyril Ramaphosa (South Africa), Narendra Modi (India), Xi Jinping (China), and Vladimir Putin (Russia).

In the letters, Mondino stated that the current government’s foreign policy priorities differ significantly from those of the previous administration under Alberto Fernández, which had initiated the process of joining the BRICS.

“As you know, the foreign policy approach of the government that I have been presiding over for a few days now differs in many cases from that of the previous government,” Milei wrote.

“In this regard, I would like to inform you that at this stage it is not considered opportune for the Republic of Argentina to join BRICS as a full member from January 1, 2024. Notwithstanding this, I wish to emphasize my government’s commitment to intensifying bilateral ties with your country, in particular increasing trade and investment flows.”

Milei also expressed his willingness to meet with each of the BRICS leaders in person.

The BRICS countries collectively represent around 40% of the world’s population, 30% of the land area, 23% of the GDP, and 18% of global trade. They account for 16% of global exports and 15% of global imports of goods and services. Argentina has trade relations with all of the BRICS member states to varying degrees.

The announcement that Argentina would join the BRICS was made on August 24, 2023, at the group’s last summit in Johannesburg, South Africa. The news was met with mixed reactions in Argentina, with some celebrating the potential economic benefits of membership and others expressing concerns about the group’s political alignment.

The decision to withdraw from the BRICS is not entirely surprising, given Milei’s previous statements on the matter. During his presidential campaign, he had expressed opposition to joining the group, arguing that it would be detrimental to Argentina’s relationship with the United States and other Western countries.

The withdrawal from the BRICS is a significant development in Argentina’s foreign policy. It remains to be seen how the decision will impact the country’s economic and political ties with the BRICS member states and the rest of the world.

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