Argentina will not join the BRICS if Patricia Bullrich wins the elections, the Juntos por el Cambio (JxC) presidential candidate said during the Council of the Americas conference address on Thursday morning.
Her comments came just two hours after President Alberto Fernández announced that the country will join the bloc in 2024.
“Under our government, Argentina will not be a part of the BRICS,” she said during her speech at the Council of the Americas conference in Buenos Aires.
The BRICS is a bloc that focuses on boosting economic and trade cooperation between member emerging economies, which until now has included Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. From January 1, 2024, Argentina will join BRICS along with Egypt, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Iran, the bloc’s leaders decided at this week’s Johannesburg summit.
Bullrich rejected the plans for Argentina to join the BRICS, citing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and diplomatic tensions with Iran over the bombings of the Israeli embassy in 1992 and the AMIA jewish center building in 1994.
“We have made clear our stance against joining the BRICS,” Bullrich said. “The president, who is in a weak position without being able to carry out his role of head of state, has committed Argentina to joining the BRICS while the Ukraine invasion is still ongoing.”
She added that Argentina is set to enter BRICS at the same time as Iran, a country with which she said it has “an open wound for the antisemitic, anti-Argentine terrorist attacks” on the Israeli Embassy and AMIA buildings.
The Argentine judiciary investigated allegations that the bombings were orchestrated by the extremist group Hezbollah, which the government declared a terrorist organization in 2019, with the backing and financing of the Iranian government. However, this was never conclusively proven, and the investigations are still open.
Bullrich came second in the primary elections earlier this month. Javier Milei, the libertarian economist who came first, has said recently that he would cut ties with China, Brazil (which are part of the BRICS) and other countries he deems “communist”.
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The JxC candidate said that, if elected, she wouldn’t cut ties with Brazil or Chile, because they are “strategic commercial allies to Argentina.”
“If we stop trading with Brazil, we would have no more car factories or agricultural machinery factories, our whole country would disappear,” Bullrich said. She added that Argentina won’t leave Mercosur, the economic bloc made up of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay. “We will, however, seek free trade agreements so that Argentina can enter [the markets of] as many countries as possible without tariffs.”
She also reiterated her campaign proposal to eliminate export duties for agricultural products, cutting public spending and reforming labor laws in order to reduce social security spending for small companies, among others. She promised that her government would be the most austere in Argentine history.
She added that her future deputies and senators would “revoke more laws than they will approve” in Congress. “Any law that is an obstacle for production and work, we will revoke it on our first day in office.”