Free Markets

Javier Milei and Elon Musk Bond Over Markets

Argentine President Javier Milei and Tesla CEO Elon Musk met for the first time in Austin, Texas, where they "agreed on the need for free markets."


Argentine President Javier Milei and Tesla CEO Elon Musk met for the first time this past weekend. Although the two had been exchanging messages over Musk's X platform (formerly Twitter) for some time, they decided to take their bromance a step further by meeting at Tesla's headquarters in Austin, Texas. 

During their meeting the two "agreed on the need for free markets and defend the ideas of freedom," the Argentine government said in a statement. "The President and the businessman spoke in Texas about the importance of eliminating bureaucratic obstacles that keep investors away," it added. 

To celebrate the meeting, Milei shared pictures of his visit to Tesla's factory on X. "Long live freedom dammit!" Milei wrote. Meanwhile, Musk reciprocated by posting a picture of the two together captioned, "To an exciting & inspiring future!"

The encounter was described as "love at first sight" by Gerardo Werthein, Argentina's future ambassador to the U.S., who also attended the factory tour. 

Werthein also said that Milei and Musk discussed investment opportunities for Tesla in lithium, a metal used for electric vehicle batteries. Argentina has the third-largest lithium reserves in the world, providing about 55% of the U.S. imports of the metal from 2016 to 2019, according to a 2022 Energy Department report. 

"We're very committed not only to exporting raw materials but also to adding value," Werthein said, adding that Musk "wants to help Argentina."

Milei and Musk also reportedly agreed to hold "a large event soon in Argentina to promote the ideas of freedom," with Musk set as a keynote speaker. 

During Milei's presidential campaign last year, Musk was a vocal supporter of Milei's promises to deregulate Argentina's economy and end the fiscal deficit. When Milei was elected president, Musk celebrated his victory with a congratulatory phone call. "I thanked him for defending the ideas of freedom and supporting our work," Milei said afterward.

Before his trip to Texas, the Argentine president traveled to Miami, where he was honored as "an international ambassador of light" at a synagogue for his support of Israel; he also met with the president of the Inter-American Development Bank, Ilan Goldfajn. "We talked about our technical support to improve the efficiency of spending and the protection of the most vulnerable people," Goldfajn said after their meeting. 

Milei's frequent visits to the U.S. have sparked criticism from his opposition, who claim that they are distractions from his busy agenda back home. 

In Argentina, Milei faces significant challenges as his party, La Libertad Avanza, just suffered its first major split in Congress. The rift took place last Friday, after a meeting proceeded despite being officially cancelled by the party. As a result, three lawmakers left the bloc, including the leader of the deputies in the lower house, who went on to set up his own minority fraction. Before the split, Milei's support in Congress was already limited, with his party holding only 41 of the 257 seats in the lower house.