Musk, Argentine president see eye-to-eye on boosting free markets and lithium

By Thomson Reuters Apr 12, 2024 | 2:37 PM

By Eliana Raszewski

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Billionaire Elon Musk and Argentina’s libertarian president promised to work together on Friday to promote free markets as well as potential lithium projects after the two likeminded men met in Texas, home to the tycoon’s Tesla electric car company.

The chief spokesman to President Javier Milei said the pair visited Tesla’s Austin headquarters and discussed a variety of topics, from the need to boost declining birthrates worldwide to pursuing technological development while defending “liberty.”

Musk, one of the world’s richest men, has previously showed his admiration for Milei’s full-throated embrace of private enterprise and his distain for what he sees as socialist excesses.

In comments to local media, Argentina’s incoming ambassador to the United States, Gerardo Werthein, noted that Musk and Milei also discussed lithium, the ultra-light metal seen as key for the rechargeable batteries needed for future fleets of electric vehicles.

“We talked about the investment opportunities in Argentina in lithium… We’re very committed not only to exporting raw materials but also to adding value,” said Werthein in comments published by newspaper La Nacion.

“(Musk) said he wants to help Argentina,” added Werthein.

Milei also offered his support for the dispute over Musk’s social media platform X, previously Twitter, playing out in Brazil, according to the statement from Milei’s spokesman Manuel Adorni, which was posted on X.

Last Sunday, a Brazilian Supreme Court judge opened an investigation into Musk after the billionaire said he would reinstate X accounts that the judge had ordered blocked.

(Reporting by Eliana Raszewski; Writing by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Brendan O’Boyle)