Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador denied Tuesday that his government is looking to join the economic bloc led by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, or BRICS.
"We are not going to participate in this bloc, in this association. Of course, we welcome the fact that other countries are doing so. However, for economic, neighborhood, and geopolitical reasons, we will continue to strengthen the North American alliance and all of America," he said.
Rumors of Mexico looking to join the bloc surfaced in early March when South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor said a number of emerging countries had expressed interest in joining BRICS, including Mexico.
But Lopez Obrador ended those rumors.
"Our proposal is to strengthen the treaty with the United States and Canada, to consolidate ourselves as a region, to strengthen ourselves, to help each other, to complement each other, to share investment, to share technology, something that is fundamental, the labor force," he said.
BRICS has risen as a highly promising alternative for countries in the southern hemisphere looking to thwart the trading and economic pressures of the West. It has more than 40% of the world's population and 30% of global GDP.
This is not the first time Lopez Obrador refused to undermine the influence of the US in favor of closer ties with the rest of Latin America.
In January, he rejected an initiative to launch a common currency for Latin America that was proposed by Brazil and Argentina. He said it was in the interest of Mexico to uphold the US dollar as a currency benchmark.
But the Mexican leader continues to promise efforts to integrate the entire Americas region and to stress broader ties from North America with the rest of Latin America.
"We are going to consolidate our North American relations, and we are going to seek the integration of all America in the medium and long term, but we are going to change old policies that have not worked and also convince the political class, especially the United States, of the importance of Latin America," said Lopez Obrador.