Brazil and Argentina to discuss common currency

By Lisandra Paraguassu BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Brazil and Argentina aim for greater economic integration, including the development of a common currency, Brazilian

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Argentine leader Alberto Fernandez said in a joint article they penned. "We intend to overcome the barriers to our exchanges,

simplify and modernize the rules and encourage the use of local currencies," says the text published on the Argentine website Perfil. "We also decided to advance discussions

on a common South American currency that can be used for both financial and commercial flows, reducing costs operations and our external vulnerability," the article

said. The idea of a common currency was raised originally in an article written last year by Fernando Haddad and Gabriel Galipolo, now Brazil's finance minister and his

executive secretary, respectively, and was mentioned by Lula during the campaign. Lula chose Argentina for his inaugural international trip since taking office, keeping with

the tradition of first visiting Brazil's largest trading partner in the region. That follows four years of tense relations during the government of former Brazilian right-wing

President Jair Bolsonaro. Lula's trip to neighboring Argentina also marks the return of Brazil to the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), which Brazil

left in 2019 under order from Bolsonaro, who refused to participate in the regional group due to the presence of Cuba and Venezuela. Both presidents emphasized the need for

a good relationship between Argentina and Brazil to strengthen regional integration, according to the article.