Brazil will leave the South American trading bloc Mercosur if conflicts arise with the winner of Argentina’s elections, president Jair Bolsonaro said, again highlighting the sour relations between the two countries s.
Bolsonaro said he has strong relations with the current heads of state of the bloc, which dates back to 1991 and includes Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay as full members. If left-wing candidate Alberto Fernández wins October’s presidential election in Argentina, he will have to indicate his willingness to establish good ties with Brazil, Bolsonaro said on Friday in Brasilia.
«I don’t think he wants to follow the principles of freedom and democracy,» Bolsonaro said of Fernandez. «If problems occur, Brazil will leave Mercosur.»
Sunday’s surprise primary in Argentina means that Fernandez, who runs alongside former President Cristina Kirchner, is about to beat incumbent Mauricio Macri. Bolsonaro has not hidden his disdain for Fernandez, who, in turn, described the Brazilian head of state as «racist, violent and misogynistic». Argentina is Brazil’s third-largest trading partner with approximately US$27 billion of total trade in 2018, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Fernández showed a more conciliatory tone in a television interview on Thursday night, and commented that the ties between Argentina and Brazil are more important than any personal difference he may have with Bolsonaro.
Bolsonaro said repeatedly during his presidential campaign that he would leave Mercosur if the bloc acquired an ideological bias and lost its trade approach.