EU Fretting About Brand-New Import Duties Enforced By Algeria
The European Union reiterates its displeasure at the Algerian Government’s stiff import regulation procedures, which are considered to be contrary to the bilateral association agreement signed years ago, including the new tariffs imposed by the Supplementary Finance Act of the current year, which will enter into force next January, professionals in the foreign trade sector have indicated.
The latest meetings of the Minister of Trade with ambassadors and diplomats posted in Algiers revealed the resentment of a number of European countries at the recent measures through the supplementary financial law of 2018, providing for the imposition by the Algerian Government of tariffs ranging from 30 to 200 percent on the list of goods imported from abroad.
The foreign trade expert and the head of the Association of Export Consulting, Mr. Ismail Lalmas, said in a statement to “Echorouk” that the deadline for Algeria to impose tariffs ranging between 30 and 200 percent will not exceed a period of one year, and this falls within the framework of entering the Convention on the dismantling of customs service starting from January 2020.
Thereby, he said, Algeria won’t be able to impose restrictions on the entry of European products into the Algerian market, unless the Algerian authorities submit a new request to postpone the start of the full customs clearance agreement with 32 countries, that is 32 free exchange zones in various parts of the world.
According to Mr. Lalmas, the procedures for organizing foreign trade in Algeria are always linked to international agreements with a number of countries and organizations such as the Association Agreement with the European Union, and even the negotiations of the accession agreement to the “WTO” which is still ongoing.
In so doing, both conventions require Algeria not to clamp down import restrictions or a list of items prohibited from bank settlement, not even additional charges, if any, for a maximum of two years.
As for the European Union, this import-related procedure will run for only a year due to the expiry of the time limit granted to Algeria.
The only remedial solution, our interlocutor suggested, “is to reduce imports is to revive domestic production, control smuggling activities, counter price inflation, impose tariffs on certain agricultural and industrial products, encourage foreign domestic investment, impose a policy of setting quality barriers, and adopt a quality policy”.
In this line, Trade Minister Said Djalleb has conferred to this effect with Ambassadors, diplomats and economic associations of European countries over the past three months.
The latter have all complained about the lists of prohibited import items as well as the relevant heavy fees imposed by the Algerian Government as from next January.