Recently it was announced that Brazil and Argentina would be pursuing to create a common currency for Latin America, aiming for greater economic integration in the region and the world’s second largest currency bloc. This was highlighted as President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (Lula)’s first trip after being re-elected as president to Brazil’s largest trading partner in the region, Argentina.
Both Lula and the Argentinian President, Alberto Fernandez, released a joint statement describing the possible benefits of having a shared common currency for the region. The statement stated that a common South American currency would be used for financial and commercial flows, reducing the cost of operations and external vulnerability. The common currency would allow the countries to move away from relying on the U.S. dollar, which highlights Argentina’s debt owed to colonial powers for 200 years, as well as other Latin American countries who have debts owed to the International Monetary Fund by moving away from U.S. dominated financial institutions.
Argentina’s lack of the U.S. dollar has impacted Brazil’s trade with the country and this creation of a shared common currency could stimulate bilateral trade between the countries, according to Brazil’s Finance Minister, Fernando Haddad. However, Haddad has emphasised that this does not mean the elimination of the Brazilian Real. It has been revealed that it would not be based on the euro model, thus countries that do join will be able to maintain their domestic currency.
Fernandez and Lula have emphasised that this common currency would help strength Mercosur, a Latin American trading bloc that includes Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay. The strengthening of the Mercosur bloc would allow the region to create a platform for effective integration into the world through the usage of balanced trade agreements that align with their strategic development objectives. However, plans for the currency to be adopted by other countries has been proposed to be discussed later. The development of a shared currency will take years to develop but marks the beginning of regional integration that has been promised by Lula during his campaign. Since President Lula’s inauguration, Brazil has recently rejoined the Community of Latin America and Caribbean States (CELAC) since the country’s departure during the Bolsonaro’s administration due to Cuba and Venezuela’s presence.