Argentina will not join the BRICS emerging economies bloc as planned next year, a senior official on President-elect Javier Milei’s transition team announced Thursday.
Incoming Foreign Minister Diana Mondino stated on X: “No ingresaremos a los BRICS (we will not join BRICS).”
Mondino had previously downplayed BRICS’ trade benefits, given Argentina’s existing partnerships with members Brazil and China. She portrayed the bloc as more political symbolism than economic substance.
Her remarks signal a drastic shift in Argentina’s foreign policy orientation, aligning more closely with the United States under Milei’s libertarian administration.
The decision reverses the outgoing administration’s acceptance of a BRICS membership offer in August. President Alberto Fernández had celebrated the invitation for access to new markets.
BRICS nations — representing Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa — account for over 40% of the global population and a third of world economic output. Over 40 additional countries have expressed interest amid Russia’s isolation from Western sanctions over Ukraine and rising U.S.-China tensions.
The bloc sees potential as an alternative hub of global finance and cooperation outside Western dominance. But Argentina’s pullback shows domestic political changes may disrupt that vision.
Milei, a critic of central banks and monetary systems, has particularly expressed suspicion of China. During his successful election campaign, he harshly criticized and threatened to break ties with China and Chinese interests, saying in an interview that he would not “do business with any communist.”
Argentina is currently engulfed in a runaway inflation crisis, and its entry into BRICS may have provided access to new markets. However, Milei, who has strongly advocated for Bitcoin and railed against central banks as “a scam,” wants closer to the U.S. and Israel.
As the first invited member to decline, Argentina’s reversal raises uncertainty around BRICS’ ability to integrate new partners. Yet, strong expansion momentum remains with numerous applicants. Nonetheless, with over 40 prospective members still keen to join, BRICS retains formidable expansion momentum despite sacrificed cohesion.