Foreign trade: EU, Algeria's "main strategic partner" in 2020

APS - 14 January 2021

ALGIERS- The European Union (EU) is Algeria's "main strategic partner" in terms of trade, according to indicators and operations carried out in 2020, said Thursday the Commerce Ministry's director general of foreign trade, Khaled Bouchelaghem.

The EU countries top the list of Algeria's supplier countries due to the geographical position, the Association Agreement linking both parties and the quality of the products, Bouchelaghem told APS.

On the list of Algeria's supplier countries, France ranks first with 10%, followed by Italy (7%), Germany (6.5%) and Spain (6.2%) against 17% for China.

In terms of exports, Italy is Algeria's leading customer with a rate of 14.5% followed by France (13.7%) and Spain (10%) against 9% for Turkey and 5% for China.

"The EU remains Algeria's main strategic partner in 2020 thanks to the geographical position, the Association Agreement in force between the two parties and the quality of the products," said the manager.

Answering a question on the details of the elimination of customs duties with the EU, Bouchelaghem recalled the existence of a free trade area in force (without payment of customs duties), specifying that the agreement is limited, in its annexes, to industrial products only.

Agricultural products and animal wealth are divided into two types, including products not covered by the dismantling of trade barriers and other products on which low tariffs are applied, he added.

The customs tariff rate for goods imported from EU countries is 15% while a tariff rate of 30% is applied for goods imported from other countries, according to Bouchlaghem.

Referring to the Association Agreement signed in 2005, the director for foreign trade recalled that it includes the gradual dismantling of tariffs at import until 2021 to reach 0% of customs taxes.

In September 2020, these taxes were completely dismantled in order to allow Algerian companies to reinforce their products' competitive capacities versus the European ones. Since last September, all industrial products imported from EU states and included in the agreement are subject to tariff dismantling provided that they include the certificate of origin, he explained.