Shijal ChudasamaJanuary 23, 2023

The focus of the Brazil-Argentina summit will be on trade and economic integration.

The focus of the Brazil-Argentina summit will be on trade and economic integration.

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the president of Brazil, has arrived in Argentina for a conference where the two nations will aim to strengthen their commercial relations.

Lula's presence on Monday followed the publication of a joint article by him and Alberto Fernandez, in which they stated that studies on a common South American currency were part of their goal for greater economic unity.

Brazilian Finance Minister Fernando Haddad downplayed the prospect of Argentina and Brazil adopting a single common currency, saying late on Sunday that the nations were looking at measures to promote bilateral trade without eradicating their respective national currencies.

Given the dearth of US dollars in Argentina, Haddad, who had suggested the prospect of a common currency in an article last year, suggested that reducing trade barriers between the two largest economies in South America might entail utilizing a single currency for commerce. But he added it does not mean that the Brazilian real is doomed.

"Trade is terrible, and the foreign money is exactly the issue, right? As a result, we are looking for a solution or a point of agreement that might help business expand, Haddad told reporters upon his arrival in Buenos Aires.

Haddad claimed that the scarcity of dollars in Argentina's southern neighbor, Brazil, where an economic crisis has left the government scrambling to restock foreign currency reserves and an inflation rate of about 100% last year, had hurt trade between the two countries.

Haddad highlighted Argentina was a significant consumer of Brazilian industrial products and that, while no decision had been made, "many solutions" were being proposed to solve the country's currency issues.

Haddad said he would address the currency issue in the upcoming days, "particularly because some people are claiming the real will end," when asked if he could provide further information.

According to official data released last week by the INDEC national statistics institute, Brazil is Argentina's top trading partner.

Argentine exports to Brazil will be $12.7 billion and 14.3 percent of all exports in 2022.

Brazil supplied slightly over $16 billion in imports to Argentina last year, or around 20% of total imports.

According to Feliciano de Sa Guimaraes, academic director for the Brazilian Center for Diplomatic Relations, "Argentina is the most important country in our diplomatic relations."

Likewise, Fernandez's administration "depends a lot on Brazil," not least in discussions with the IMF, to which Argentina owes $44 billion.

In an article that appeared on the Argentine website Perfil earlier on Sunday, Lula and Fernandez stated that they will "progress discussions on a shared South American currency that can be used for both financial and commercial activities."

The Financial Times had earlier claimed that Sergio Massa, Argentina's minister of economy, would declare this week that the neighboring countries were beginning the preliminary work on a shared currency.

A Brazilian government source told the Reuters news agency on Monday that Brazil and Argentina will sign a bilateral deal establishing a guarantee fund to encourage Brazilian exports as officials from both governments gathered in Buenos Aires for a summit.

According to the agreement, Argentina will be required to offer a collateral guarantee for Brazil's trade financing with foreign exchange, the source said, adding that the two biggest economies in South America will also form a working group to investigate the possibility of setting up a single clearing account for the entire continent.

The focus of the Brazil-Argentina summit will be on trade and economic integration.
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