The list of items prohibited from import for the year 2021 raises controversy after the Finance Bill for 2021 included reducing imports to 28 billion and 210 million dollars, which imposes a new additional list that will reduce goods in terms of volume by 10 percent and in terms of value by 19.34 percent, which is equivalent to $ 10 billion.
The government confirms, according to leaks of sessions discussing the draft finance bill for the year 2021, that the products banned from import will not include basic foodstuffs, industrial equipment or raw materials destined for production, but only luxury items, while the Algerian National Association of Exporters considers lessening imports by 10 billion dollars in 2021 will be very difficult and a great challenge for the interests of foreign trade.
According to figures available at “Echorouk”, imports of goods decreased by the end of last July to 19.65 billion dollars, compared to 26.14 billion dollars during the same period in 2019, while it is expected to slump by 10.4 percent in 2021 in terms of volume and 19. 34 percent in terms of value, to reach a value of 28.21 billion dollars, compared to 27.39 billion dollars in 2022 and 27.01 in 2023, and this is within the framework of the continuous rationalization and curtailment of imports.
In this context, the National Association of Algerian Exporters, according to its president, Ali Bey Nasseri, stated that the figures contained in the draft Finance Law for the year 2021 confirm the necessity of imposing a new list of items prohibited from import, as this list is supposed to be strict, and includes a large number of luxuries that are expected to be abandoned, so as to be able to achieve the goal of reducing imports by 10 billion dollars, such as sweets, tropical fruits, crackers, chocolate, perfumes with luxury international brands, and everything that would raise the import bill and create a deficit in the two sides of the trade balance.
Mr. Nasseri told “Echorouk” that setting a second list of items banned from import during the year 2021 would cause a crisis, especially as it is difficult to eradicate $ 10 billion from imports, which is a huge amount that will include a large number of materials, knowing that the import bill is within a year. 2020 has witnessed a significant decline due to the closure of air and sea transport, the suspension of travel, the imposition of quarantine measures, and the resulting slump in the purchasing power of Algerians, which led to a decline in consumption levels in addition to the suspension of a number of economic activities that used to hike the bill for importing raw materials, thus making imports reduction more difficultly, it needs a lot of accuracy to know what new products are prohibited from entering Algeria.
On the other hand, our interlocutor stressed that raising domestic production would compensate for a large number of products imported from abroad, bearing in mind that the government’s action to slash imports falls within the framework of encouraging the national product and preventing it from competing with foreign products.
Moreover, a number of foreign partnership agreements are expected to be reviewed before the end of the year, including the controversial Association Agreement with the European Union, which always favors European trade balances, as well as the Association Agreement within the framework of the Arab Free Trade Area.