The signs of rapprochement between Brazil and Argentina

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The signs of rapprochement between Brazil and Argentina

The governments of Brazil and Argentina are showing signs of rapprochement after months of friction between their two presidents.

At the end of 2023, the relationship between the two nations became more tense after right-wing libertarian Javier Milei took office in Argentina.

During the 2023 presidential campaign in Argentina, Brazil’s left-wing president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva openly supported the then ruling alliance’s candidate Sergio Massa. Meanwhile, Milei criticized the Mercosur trade bloc – formed by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay – on several occasions during his election campaign, threatening to review the country’s membership.

Now, the two governments are getting closer.

This week, Argentina’s foreign minister Diana Mondino visited Brazil and held meetings with her local counterpart, Mauro Vieira.

Mondino’s first official visit had “very important political meaning, with intense, in-depth dialogue on a set of topics of greatest and most immediate interest to both countries,” Vieira said in a speech.

The Argentine official also met with business leaders at São Paulo industries’ association Fiesp.

During the meeting, Mondino ruled out the possibility of a break with Mercosur and called for the bloc to be modernized.

“Mondino is the person responsible for reestablishing ties between Brazil and Argentina. These ties will be reinforced within the scope of the second level of government and business leaders as the direct relationship between Milei and Lula is not likely to be close because they have major political differences,” Welber Barral, founding partner of BMJ Consultores Associados and a former Brazilian foreign trade secretary, told BNamericas.

“One of the most important initiatives between the two countries currently is associated with [shale gas formation] Vaca Muerta. The Argentine government seeks to take the gas produced at Vaca Muerta to Brazil and this will have positive implications for both countries. In the case of Argentina, it will represent more revenue from gas sales and for Brazilian industries this will be an alternative to the gas that comes from Bolivia and will probably reduce prices,” said Barral.

During her time in São Paulo, Mondino also held a meeting with state governor Tarcísio de Freitas.

“We are following with great enthusiasm the economic policy in Argentina, which has already achieved significant results. We have an important trade relationship worth more than US$8bn. When Argentina does well, Brazil and the state of São Paulo also win,” said Freitas in a statement.

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