Anxiety and uncertainty due to business suspension among businessmen in Algeria: “It’s crazy. Spain is the country’s fourth customer”


It is the group most affected by the suspension of the Treaty of Friendship, Good Neighborhood and Cooperation signed with Spain two decades ago.

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune laughs
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune met with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro yesterday.
  • editorial Algeria detected the weakness of this government

“It’s crazy. I don’t know how we’re going to do it. Do you realize it? Spain is Algeria’s fourth customer and its fourth seller.” One who expresses himself in this way, with a dismayed and broken voice, is quoted by the French newspaper Le Figaro, a commercial intermediary based in Algiers still trying to assuage the Algerian president’s abrupt decision to suspend Used to be. Treaty of Friendship, Good Neighbors and Cooperation Madrid signed with Spain two decades ago after aligning itself with Morocco’s position in Western Sahara.

Within hours, panic swept through the business sector, most affected by the immediate consequences of a measure that included chilling commercial transactions of products and services, “Cardboard, ceramics, iron coils, wood for construction… Importers are crying,” says the Algerian businessman, who wonders whether gas will also be affected.

Until last year, Algeria was Spain’s main supplier of natural gas, led by the United States in the first four months of 2022, with 30% overall, ahead of the Maghreb country, with 23 percent. Algeria warned in early April that Spain was the only country it intended to review gas sale price One-time contracts have to be renewed, which increases uncertainty about the profitability of imports. Spain is linked with Algeria by two gas pipelines, although the pipeline through Morocco has been cut since August 2021 as the two Maghreb countries cut diplomatic ties.

The Spanish-Algerian Treaty called for the strengthening of political dialogue between the two countries at all levels and the development of cooperation in the economic, financial, educational and defense sectors. In addition, a major banking organization in the country has called its banks and financial institutions “to freezing direct debit of foreign trade operations of products and services to and from Spain as of Thursday, June 9. An ally of the Saharawi independence movement Polisario Front, Algeria regards Madrid’s new status as one. “violation of their legal, moral and political obligations”“With this territory, until 1976 a Spanish colony.

“The Algerians have always said that they will respect, at least until the contracts made in the case of hydrocarbons come into effect, and so far they have kept their word. Sonatrach (the Algerian public hydrocarbon giant) also announced itself in April had committed a research exploit with Repsol”, a Spanish economic actor in Algiers assures a French newspaper, which is confident that the Algerian authorities did not dare to deny gas to his former partner and who expressed regret. that the Spanish leaders “understand the Algerian mentality so little”.

,We wonder how far the crisis will go. The Algerians dropped a bomb but, in short, we do not know what awaits us. Spain can also condemn this break in trade relations, which is a violation of the cooperation agreement between Algeria and the European Union,” stresses an Algerian importer.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, Jose Manuel Albers, According to diplomatic sources, he will travel to Brussels this Friday to meet with Valdis Dombrowski, the deputy commissioner responsible for EU trade policy. The minister’s visit follows Algeria’s decision to suspend foreign trade operations with Spain in response to the government. “Unreasonable” shift towards Western Sahara, after supporting the autonomy plan for Western Sahara.

Albers has indicated that he is making a precise analysis of the “impact, practical scope of this measure, both at a national and European level”, in the context of the agreement between the EU and Algeria. Once this analysis is complete, the minister, government, should be able to “give the correct answer”. A response, the foreign minister said, would be “calm and constructive but also firm in defending the interests of Spain and Spanish companies”.

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