Two sister peoples are meeting again tomorrow (January 23) in Buenos Aires for the first presidential encounter between Brazil and Argentina in over three years. It will immediately be followed by the VII Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac in its Spanish acronym), a forum bringing together 33 of the region’s countries which has been under an Argentine presidency since last year. This event will mark Brazil’s return to this mechanism of dialogue and regional coordination - a relationship which should never have been interrupted and which the history of Latin American fraternity has succeeded in renewing.
Both meetings mark a new beginning, precisely in the year in which we will be celebrating the bicentenary of our diplomatic relations. In Buenos Aires we will be re-launching this strategic bilateral relationship with the revival of various areas of cooperation and dialogue. We will again be working together in multiple areas important for the quality of life of our peoples, such as the struggle against hunger and poverty, health, education, sustainable development, climate change and the reduction of every form of inequality. For once and for all, history will be written by our peoples.
We will boost the role of civil society, state and municipal governments and parliamentary institutions as players in this rapprochement. We know that the dream of being united is now a real possibility.
The links between Argentina and Brazil are cemented in the consolidation of peace and democracy. We want democracy forever, dictatorship never again.
We condemn all forms of anti-democratic extremism and political violence.
The re-industrialisation of our economies will deserve a special mention with the creation of quality jobs and investments in innovation. The trade between Argentina and Brazil already has a strong participation of industrialised products in strategic sectors. The integration between our productive chains helps to mitigate external shocks, such as those produced during the pandemic. We cannot depend on external suppliers to be able to access inputs and goods essential for the welfare of our populations.
We can count on a dynamic and entrepreneurial private sector whose contribution to the process of bilateral integration is increasingly necessary. We share the firm purpose of boosting the already solid commercial ties and we will hold a business seminar within the framework of the presidential visit.
Our countries will continue playing a fundamental role towards food security in a world affected by geopolitical risks and serious interruptions in supply chains. We are committed to applying high standards of sustainability to our agriculture and cattle-rearing while maintaining their high levels of productivity.
We wish to push infrastructural projects. A central issue of our new times is energy integration. The interconnection of the national grids of our countries is already a reality and gas integration has the potential to convert itself into one of the strategic projects of the bilateral relationship with lasting benefits in terms of attracting investments, job creation and contributions towards our energy security.
We will consolidate our position as owners of nuclear technology towards peaceful ends, strengthening the Brazilian-Argentina Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (ABACC in its Latin American acronym), giving continuity to ambitious projects like multi-purpose reactors. With the revival of the Joint Working Group for Space Cooperation we will send into orbit satellites for coastal and oceanographic studies.
The fluid and dynamic relationship between Brazil and Argentina is fundamental for the advance of regional integration. Together with our partners, we want Mercosur to constitute a platform for our effective integration with the world via the joint negotiation of balanced trade agreements which respond to our strategic development objectives.
We intend to overcome the barriers to our interchange, simplifying and modernising the rules and encouraging the use of local currencies. We have also decided to advance in the discussions towards a common South American currency which can be used for both financial and commercial flows, reducing the operating costs and our external vulnerability.
We will work jointly towards rescuing and updating Unasur on the basis of its undeniable legacy of achievements. Argentina and Brazil are decisively committed to constructing a strong, democratic, stable and peaceful South America.
We need to face an increasingly complex and challenging world with a broad convergence as to our multilateral agenda. Effective political will is needed to face the current dilemmas and major crises: climate change, pandemics, wars, hunger and immigration. The United Nations and the G20 must contribute towards filling the leadership vacuum with a view to effecting change. Both forums can push inclusive agendas, sending out clear signals for entities like the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank to act. We will work collaboratively towards peace and development.
The fairer world with more solidarity to which we aspire will only be viable if we have the courage to build a common future. That is the strategic sense of bilateral integration.
There is no greater emancipation than the fraternity of the peoples which comes from the dawn of our history to take possession of its future.
by Alberto Fernández and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva