Algeria’s Sovereign Decision Disturbs The European Union

May 24, 2021

The decision of the President of the Republic, Abdel Majid Tebboune, a few days ago banning the import of porcelain and ceramics, caused clear alarm on the part of Spanish industrialists who considered the move a painful blow to this trading activity, at a time when Spanish media claimed that the European Union threatened to resort to international arbitration against Algeria under what it stipulated a partnership agreement.

• The famous Spanish newspaper “El Mundo” commented on the Algerian move by saying, “Algeria once again prevents the entry of Spanish porcelain and ceramics through a decision by President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, which culminated in a cabinet meeting,” explaining that the industrialists of the Castellon region in the south of the country will find themselves facing a dire situation similar to the one that they witnessed in 2017 when protectionist restrictions were imposed on the entry of these materials in Algeria, and what Algeria represents as a popular destination for their products.

• According to the newspaper, the European Union has requested Algeria for years to clarify the deadlines for preventing the import of materials manufactured in the countries of the Union and to reduce the fees imposed on some products originating in the European Union countries.

• The newspaper pointed out that the European Union threatened to seek international arbitration regarding items prohibited from import and clarifying their deadlines, as well as regarding the fees imposed on some products within the framework of what is known as the temporary additional protectionist duties “DAPS”, through Article 100 of the Association Agreement linking the European Union and Algeria.

• Businessmen and industrialists in the field of Spanish porcelain and ceramics are complaining about the decline in their sales to Algeria due to protectionist measures, noting that the year 2020 marked Algeria’s ranking in the fifteenth spot in terms of destinations for Spanish exports of porcelain and ceramics, and sales to Algeria declined as a result during the last five years by about 63 percent.

• According to them, Algeria was the fifth destination in the world for exports of Spanish porcelain and ceramics, with sales estimated at more than 123 million Euros. Last year, Algeria dropped to the fifteenth place, and sales fell to 48.2 million Euros.

• “El Mundo” further reported that businessmen in the Spanish ceramic and porcelain sector were resentful about Algeria’s decision to prevent the import of these materials again, and the consequent decline in their sales, noting that one of the businessmen contacted by the daily (whose identity was not revealed) called on the government in Spain and the European Union to move and negotiate with the Algerian authorities in the face of the danger of continuing to prevent the import of porcelain and ceramics.

• “El Mondo” concluded by noting that Algeria has remarkably and rapidly developed its local ceramics and porcelain industry, immediately after the measures banning the import of these materials that were taken in 2017.

As a reminder, the President of the Republic Mr. Abdelmadjid Tebboune ordered at the end of the Council of Ministers which met on Sunday in Algiers, the prohibition of 5 products for import.

These are electrical transformers, generators, ceramics, marble and porcelain. The press release from the Presidency of the Republic specified that only locally produced models of generators and transformers are concerned by the ban.

The latter will be noted in the draft complementary finance law for the year 2021 which will be adopted by the government in the coming days.

This new trade measure is part of the government’s will to curtail the import bill and encourage national production in this difficult period marked by the decline in oil revenues and the fall in public orders.


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