The Government is enthusiastic about a “total integration” with Brazil and presented an ambitious project

Relaunch the downtrodden Mercosur and Unasur. Specify the reincorporation of Brazil to CELAC, which Argentina heads until the end of the year. But also trying together to access the presidency of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), aiming at complementarity and a “common market” in energy matters, the use of reais and pesos in commercial exchange and even an “air bridge” between the two. countries.

These are some of the objectives with which the government of Alberto Fernandezhours after meeting the triumph of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and his return to power in Brazil. The president’s trip Fernández to San Pablo to “give Lula a hug” contains specific political and economic objectives, which the government hopes to relaunch or ratify as of January, when Lula assumes the presidency of the South American giant.

Three weeks ago, the Argentine ambassador in Brazil, Daniel Scioli, presented his bilateral integration planan ambitious project of 16 pages with specific objectives in economic matters to strengthen the bond with Brazilthat he combined harshness in politics (Bolsonaro and Fernández avoided a bilateral meeting for almost three years) with an economic exchange that has remained at reasonable levels in recent times.

Daniel Scioli, Lula and Kicillof, in BrazilNicholas Monteiro

The paper from Scioli came to Celso Amorin, Lula’s former foreign minister and current adviser on international issues to the president-elect. But he also approached the government of Jair Bolsonaro. “It is clear that now we can implement it,” commented diplomatic sources close to the ambassador, who in dialogue with THE NATION he was enthusiastic about “the beginning of a new stage that will be the impetus for an integration agenda. The personal relationship between the President and Lula will make things easier”, affirmed the diplomatic representative. San Pablo was populated by Argentine officials who came to attend the ballottage and congratulate the winner.

“We will promote the South American Energy Market together with Brazil,” Scioli wrote in the shared text, adding that “there is a possibility of energy complementation through the sale of gas in summer and the purchase of electricity in winter.”

Although it does not speak of a common currency, the Government -through Scioli- sees the return of a “real currency payment system” feasible, which provides for the mutual use of reais and pesos for trade between both countries, launched in 2008 and forgotten years later. The system “allows exporters to carry out operations in pesos and reais, facilitating operations (by not requiring dollars from merchants), thus reducing the cost of transactions for access to international trade”, reads the text that Amorín put in Lula’s hands.

Another of the innovations promoted by the Government is a “Mercosur Air Bridge”, between Aeroparque and Congonhas, the São Paulo airport that was privatized last August. The idea is to “increase the frequencies” and also recover ground. According to official data, in January 2019, 354 air frequencies linked Brazil and Argentina, and today the frequencies are approximately 160.

“Argentina had a much more intense exchange ten or fifteen years ago than now, in absolute terms and as a percentage of the country’s total foreign trade. Argentina is expected to export US$12 billion and import some US$16 billion”, he told THE NATION Marcelo Elizondointernational trade expert and owner of the DNI consultancy.

Apart from the objectives of joint economic improvement (which also reach mining and the knowledge economy, among other areas), the political objectives of the new panorama have been clear for weeks. Mercosur, hampered by the fight over tariffs on imports – which Brazil sought to lower and Argentina to raise – and Uruguay’s idea of ​​a unilateral agreement with China froze the actions of the common market, which Lula intends to revitalize, including the EU agreement -Mercosur, largely hampered by Bolsonaro’s environmental policy.

“Lula is going to fortify Mercosur, but the one who has hindered him so far has been Argentina, which has blocked exports with the exchange rate gap and withholdings, and the limits on Mercosur imports,” Elizondo said.

Alberto Fernandez, at the XXII Summit of Foreign Ministers of CELAC
Alberto Fernandez, at the XXII Summit of Foreign Ministers of CELACPepe Mateos – Telam
Alberto Fernandez participated in the XXII Summit of Foreign Ministers of CELAC Celac.
Alberto Fernandez participated in the XXII Summit of Foreign Ministers of CELAC Celac.Pepe Mateos – Telam

The same happens with CELAC, an area that brings together 32 countries on the continent and that Argentina chairs for this year. By order of Bolsonaro, Brazil excluded itself from the forum, which is made up of Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba, questioned for their human rights policy in international forums.

“Lula has already commented that the idea is to return to CELAC,” they commented, enthusiastically from the Government, which is already making arrangements for Fernández to preside over CELAC for another year in 2023.

An especially sensitive point is the presidency of the IDB, an entity that provides fresh funds to the countries of the region, currently vacant due to the departure of the North American Mauricio Claver Carone, man of Donald Trump and at odds with the Argentine government. “We have time to present a joint candidacy”, they whisper in the Government, on the verge of the presentation period, which expires on November 12. as posted THE NATIONthe former Secretary of Strategic Affairs Gustavo Beliz could be the candidate of consensus between Brazil and Argentina for that position, vital for the search for funds that the country needs to strengthen its currency.

In any case, not all dreams of integration could come to fruition. “Argentina requires a stable Brazil that grows. But due to such a tight result we are going to have a more moderate Lula than before, times have changed, Brazil and her strength require greater integration into the world, ”he evaluated. Dante Sikaformer Macrista Labor Minister and head of the consulting firm Abeceb, in dialogue with THE NATION.

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The Government is enthusiastic about a “total integration” with Brazil and presented an ambitious project