Despite the chaos at home, the financial crisis had not triggered international alarm. Brazil, the country's largest trading partner, experienced a dramatic drop in exports to Argentina in late 2001 and early 2002. Brazilian and other offshore companies are concerned over future orders from customers who have no hard currency for payments and worry whether they will be paid for goods already shipped to Argentina.
The devaluation of the peso, pegged at par with the U.S. dollar until January 2002, was causing much of the country's financial turmoil. Argentina's hard currency was in such short supply that there was no way to pay for critical goods. Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso responded to this problem with an offer to provide medications such as insulin to keep the country's pharmacies supplied. Thus, the international community may step forward to meet urgent life-or-death needs, but the average Argentine citizen will have no emergency assistance with purchasing everyday goods and services.
Duhalde believed that an agreement between Argentina and the IMF was necessary for Argentina to be reincorporated by the International Community. In September of 2002, Duhalde said the government would stop paying the foreign-debt service if there was no deal with the IMF. By early January 2003 though, the IMF and Argentina had worked out an interim agreement.
The United States and Argentina have maintained diplomatic relations since 1823, including those periods where relations between the two countries were strained, most notably during the military dictatorship of the 1970s and 1980s. Since the reintroduction of democracy, relations have steadily improved, although the cool U.S. response (or lack of response) to the economic crisis of early 2002 was seen by many as a sign that the two countries were moving into another era of strained relations. Others countered that the United States was forced to focus on recovering from the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., and therefore had few resources to devote to Argentina's economic problems.