Argentina will join the BRICS bloc, President Alberto Fernández announced on Thursday morning in a pre-recorded video message.
“As part of the Global South, that south full of hope and future, we have joined the BRICS alliance, the most important countries of the emerging economies,” Fernández said in a recorded message broadcast on the Casa Rosada’s channel.
He said that an integrationist approach would help Argentina to develop its markets around the world.
“We want to be part of the BRICS because the difficult world context confers on the bloc a singular relevance and makes it an important geopolitical and financial point of reference,” he said.
BRICS leaders are meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa, for a summit from Tuesday to Thursday. Fernández did not attend the summit in person, but is participating virtually on Thursday.
The BRICS is a bloc that focuses on boosting economic and trade cooperation between member countries, which until now included Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The term “BRIC” arose in 2001 to describe emerging economies with the potential to take protagonism in the global market. South Africa was added in 2010.
On Thursday morning, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in a press briefing that Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates would formally become members of the bloc on January 1, 2024.
“We value the interest of other countries in building a partnership with BRICS,” Ramaphosa said. “We have tasked our Foreign Ministers to further develop the BRICS partner country model and a list of prospective partner countries and report by the next Summit.”
Over 40 countries have expressed an interest in joining, according to South African officials.
Fernández said that in August 2022 he sent an official letter requesting Argentina enter the BRICS to Chinese President Xi Jinping, who at the time was the bloc’s temporary president.
Argentine Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero wrote on the social network X (formerly Twitter) that the country’s entrance into the BRICS bloc is a “historic opportunity,” adding that Argentina maintains a “pragmatic view looking to benefit Argentines, especially those who are most in need.”
“The heart of our foreign policy is to project ourselves to the world as a peaceful, friendly, realist and dignified people.”
During his speech, the Argentina president said that BRICS countries account for 24% of global GDP, 16% of all exports and 15% of global imports of goods and services. He also offered figures showcasing the importance of BRICS members for different sectors of the Argentine economy.
Close to 30% of Argentina’s foreign trade is destined to countries in the bloc, and three of Argentina’s top five trading partners are BRICS countries (China, Brazil and India).
Fernández stated that the BRICS “play a key role in demanding the construction of a financial architecture that takes growth, commerce, investment and social well being into consideration,” pointing to the deceleration of the world economy and the unsustainability of foreign debt, in addition to “widening of the gap between countries of the [global] North and South.”
The President said that, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), BRICS countries are “prepared to lead the eradication and hunger and world poverty in 2030.”
The Argentine president also mentioned the importance of the event in connection to Argentina’s sovereignty claim over the Malvinas Islands.
“We must also highlight that, in this group, there are countries that accompany Argentina’s claim that the sovereignty dispute regarding the issue of Malvinas be resolved in a peaceful and negotiated fashion, as has been called for in several resolutions by the General Assembly of the United Nations.”
Two hours after the announcement, Juntos por el Cambio (JxC) presidential candidate Patricia Bullrich said that if she wins this year’s presidential elections, Argentina will not join the bloc.
“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. She cited Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and diplomatic tensions with Iran, one of the countries that will also join the BRICS next year, over the 1994 AMIA bombing.
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 and other countries he deems “communist”.
Although the UK refers to the territory as the “Falklands Islands,” Argentina strongly contests this name. The Buenos Aires Herald refers to the islands as the Malvinas Islands.