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ECONOMY | 21-05-2022 12:00

With key backers onboard, Argentina moves closer to joining BRICS group

China and Brazil support bid, according to reports; President Alberto Fernández says joining is chance to institutionalise “new world order based on development.”

Argentina is increasingly closer to joining the BRICS group of nations, with entry to its New Development Bank all but virtually sealed following the Sino-Russian tour of President Alberto Fernández in early February, Ambassador to Beijing Sabino Vaca Narvaja confirmed Thursday.

Speaking at a BRICS videoconference summit, the envoy read out a letter by President Fernández saying that the group represents "an excellent alternative of cooperation in the face of a world order which functions for the benefit of a few."

Government sources are confident that its entry into what was formerly known as the BRICS Development Bank could even come to pass in the next few months. The support of Brazil, they said, has been crucial to accelerating the process, with China and India also in support. The positions of Russia and South Africa – the bloc’s other members – are unknown.

The sources consulted assured that Argentina would be joining the political bloc next year.

Any such move is sure to raise eyebrows in Washington, with US President Joe Biden’s administration firmly against any closer ties with Russia in the wake of the decision to invade Ukraine.

BRICS is seeking to expand its cooperation with other countries and even considering adhesion. Led by China, due to its great economic power, the bloc is seeking to open up internationally, not just for economic questions but also in the global context generated by the war in Ukraine with Russia playing a very important role in world diplomacy.

 

‘Decisive grouping’

BRICS was formed in 2009 as a forum for economic and trade cooperation between the world’s main emerging economies at that time in order to resist the international financial and trade organisations headed by Western countries, especially the United States. 

The president said in his letter that "BRICS is beyond doubt a decisive grouping for world economic development. It is clear that global macroeconomic stability and economic growth pass and will increasingly pass through this group of countries."

He concluded: "The new development bank of BRICS in which my country could participate is for me the institutionalisation of a new world order centred on development and far removed from the financial speculation which has caused so much damage to our countries.”

On Wednesday, Argentina’s Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero had confirmed the country’s ambitions, declaring it “has the will” to join the bloc “with an emerging agenda.”

"The BRICS account for 40 percent of the world's population and 20 percent of the world's GDP. Argentina has the possibility of participating with an emerging agenda. This is the task we have set ourselves last year and the president has raised it with Xi Jinping," Cafiero told El Destape Radio.

"For Argentina it is important to move towards greater coordination with the BRICS countries," the foreign minister said.

The minister revealed that the government has been working on the aim since last year and argued that the BRICS group would benefit from “the incorporation of a Spanish-speaking country".

Diplomatic sources told the Télam state news agency on Thursday that the process of signing up is a "lengthy" one, but that the government had received unofficial commitments from Brazil, China and India.

Back in April, Brazilian Foreign Minister Paulo Guedes said President Jair Bolsonaro’s government was ready to promote Argentina’s candidacy for both the BRICS as a whole and the NDB development bank.

 

China eyes expansion

Speaking on Thursday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced that the bloc needs to inject a new vitality in the cooperation of the organisation in the face of the new challenges of the international situation.

The comments were made in the framework of Chinese President Xi Jinping sending a special invitation to Argentina to participate in the BRICS Summit, which began yesterday and will run until June 24.

"Solidarity and cooperation with emerging and developing countries is an excellent tradition of BRICS countries, and it is also an inevitable path for the development and growth of the bloc's mechanism," said the Chinese minister, who said the bloc needed to “demonstrate even more openness and inclusion.”

Beijing “proposes to start the process of expanding the BRICS, discuss the standards and procedures of this expansion and gradually form a consensus," said the minister.

Along these lines, Cafiero met with his colleagues saying: "The successive G20 presidencies of three emerging powers, Indonesia (2022), India (2023) and Brazil (2024), offer us an immediate opportunity to push a new focus and bring the world’s attention to the needs of developing countries."

Cafiero recently met up with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, receiving his support for Argentina joining BRICS.

"For Argentina it’s important to advance towards a greater coordination with BRICS. That’s why we value this invitation and place ourselves at their disposal to keep building bridges between Argentina and BRICS," he outlined.

The minister underlined that "only via the greater coordination of developing countries in such forums as the G20, the World Trade Organisation, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund will we be able to consolidate an agenda where emerging economies must be the motor of an inclusive and sustainable economic recovery."

 

– TIMES/PERFIL/NA

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