European Exports to Algeria Decline by 45%
Europeans estimate the rate of decline in their exports to Algeria at about 45% and attribute this to the measures taken by Algeria to protect the national economy beginning in 2015, a statistic that greatly disturbed the balance of trade between Algeria and the European Union for nearly eight years, despite the existence of a partnership agreement linking the two parties since 2005.
This data was presented by Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, in an article published on the “European Union’s Diplomatic Service” website, devoted to the results of his recent visit to Algeria, which he described as “positive”.
Concerning trade relations, in 2002 Borell added that the EU signed a partnership agreement. However, the protectionist measures taken by Algeria in 2015 harmed our trade after that. At that time, energy prices fell and Algeria was seeking to reduce its imports”.
He explained that the European Union exports to Algeria have since fallen by 45%, and the trade balance today is very unbalanced. “But during the recent period, we have engaged in a more positive dynamic. This was reflected in particular by the visit of the President of the European Council Charles Michel in September 2022 to Algeria, the first high-level visit since 2018”.
Borrell spoke about the change in the Spanish position on the Sahrawi issue and its effects on trade exchanges: “Since June 2022, after Spain’s shift in position on Western Sahara, new tensions have weakened this dynamic… I hope that, after exchanging views between us, we will be able to find practical solutions together in the coming weeks to get out of this situation.” However, he hinted at a European role in what is happening: “European technical expertise can help Algeria diversify its economy and increase its non-energy exports to the European Union.”
The Spanish party tried to employ the European Union to pressurize Algeria in the trade dispute between the two countries, after statements made by EU officials, following the visit that led the Spanish Foreign Minister, José Manuel Albares, to Brussels last June, carrying in his hand a complaint against Algeria, related to the existence of difficulties faced by Spanish companies that have customers in Algeria, but this task increased the anger of the Algerian party, which accused the Sanchez government and his foreign minister, Albares personally, of trying to implicate the European Union in a case between two countries.
It is known that among the problems that Algeria faced in its relations with the European Union was the latter’s failure to implement what was included in the partnership agreement, such as investing in Algeria and transferring technology to it, which prompted the Algerian authorities to demand a review of the agreement, based on its provisions that stipulate the possibility of one of the parties requesting a review if the agreement is damaged after the European party became the only winner in this partnership.
The partnership agreement has been in suspension since 2020, on the part of Algeria, which has demanded on more than one occasion that the Partnership Council should meet to discuss points of contention, and the crisis between Algeria and Madrid has increased the complexity of the task, according to what was stated by the Algerian Foreign Ministry a few days ago, which said that the Spanish authorities are responsible for disrupting this meeting by exploiting the principle of unanimity, while Spain seemed angry with Brussels for not showing solidarity with it in the trade dispute with Algeria.