Argentina Rejects BRICS Membership, Pursues Closer Ties with the West

Newly elected far-right President Javier Milei fulfills campaign promise to align Argentina with Western countries.

In a move that marks a significant shift in Argentina’s economic and foreign policy, newly elected far-right President Javier Milei has announced that the country will not join the BRICS bloc of developing economies. This decision fulfills a campaign promise made by Milei, who has pledged to pursue closer ties with Western nations. The rejection of BRICS membership comes as Milei aims to distance Argentina from the previous administration’s efforts to build relationships with other developing countries. Instead, he intends to align the country’s foreign policy with the free nations of the West. However, Milei’s radical economic reforms and deregulation policies have sparked controversy and faced opposition from powerful organized labor groups.

Milei’s Different Approach to Foreign Affairs

President Milei’s approach to foreign affairs differs significantly from that of the previous government, as stated in a letter addressed to the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. In the letter, Milei highlighted that the timing for Argentina’s membership in the BRICS bloc was not opportune. He also emphasized that decisions made by the previous administration would be reviewed, indicating a departure from their policies.

Pursuing Closer Ties with the West

Since taking office in December, President Milei has wasted no time in implementing sweeping changes across various sectors. As a self-described anarcho-libertarian, he has pushed forward radical economic reforms, including deregulating prices, eliminating subsidies, and expediting divorce procedures. Milei’s campaign rhetoric focused on distancing Argentina from countries ruled by communism, such as China and Brazil, while seeking closer alignment with Western nations like Israel and the United States.

Argentina’s BRICS Membership Deferred

Former center-left President Alberto Fernandez had advocated for Argentina’s inclusion in the BRICS bloc as a means to foster economic relations. However, Milei’s rejection of membership indicates a shift away from this strategy. Argentina was initially set to join the bloc on January 1, 2024. Instead, Milei expressed Argentina’s intention to intensify bilateral ties with individual BRICS members to increase trade and investment flows, without formal membership.

Challenges on the Domestic Front

Milei’s ambitious economic agenda, characterized by shock therapy and deregulation, has faced significant pushback from powerful organized labor groups within Argentina. The country is currently grappling with sky-high inflation, and the president’s reforms have intensified concerns among workers. The clash between Milei’s policies and the labor sector highlights the challenges he faces in implementing his radical economic agenda.

Impact on Argentina’s Global Standing

Argentina’s decision to reject BRICS membership and pursue closer ties with the West has implications for its global standing. While the country’s inclusion in BRICS could have provided economic opportunities, Milei’s administration prioritizes aligning with Western nations. This shift may impact Argentina’s relationships with other developing countries and potentially limit its access to markets and resources within the BRICS bloc.


President Javier Milei’s rejection of Argentina’s BRICS membership and pursuit of closer ties with Western nations mark a significant departure from the previous administration’s foreign policy approach. As Milei implements radical economic reforms and deregulation policies, he faces opposition from powerful organized labor groups. The decision to prioritize bilateral ties with individual BRICS members instead of formal membership reflects Milei’s vision for Argentina’s economic and foreign policy. However, the implications of this shift on Argentina’s global standing and economic opportunities remain to be seen.

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