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Algeria thaws trade relations with Spain

Algeria thaws trade relations with Spain

Atalayar | 17th January 2024

By Hichem Aboud

After a dispute that lasted more than 19 months, Algiers is reconciling with Madrid, starting with the appointment of a new ambassador. The resumption of trade relations between the two countries has not been long in coming.

"The Spanish government has approved the appointment of Abdelfetah Daghmoum as Algeria’s ambassador to Spain," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Community Abroad said in a statement reported by the Algerian Press Service (APS) on Thursday 16 November 2023.

The role of the Association of Banks and Financial Institutions (ABEF)
The new head of the Algerian diplomatic representation in the Iberian capital is none other than the former number 2 of the same representation. A diplomat who knows Spain well and whose agenda will allow for a rapid reconciliation between the two countries. A reconciliation that can only be achieved by thawing trade relations.

It should be recalled that after the withdrawal of the Algerian ambassador in Madrid in March 2022 in protest at Spain’s adherence to the Moroccan autonomy plan for Western Sahara, the former Spanish colony, Algiers announced the freezing of trade exchanges through a previously little-known obscure association, the ABEF.

The role of the Association of Banks and Financial Institutions (ABEF)
In a note sent to banks and financial institutions on Wednesday 08 June 2022, the Association of Banks and Financial Institutions (ABEF) announced the freezing of direct debits for foreign trade in goods and services to and from Spain, with effect from Thursday 9 June 2022. This is a serious blow for many Spanish companies. Last October, the Spanish Trade Ministry estimated that Spanish companies would lose 630 million euros as a result of the new situation with Algeria.

The Algerian economy, some of whose sectors depend on its partnership with Spain, has also been affected by this iniquitous situation, which has been quickly felt by Algerian citizens, who have had to complain about shortages of certain materials. Dental anaesthesia was one of the products lacking on the Algerian market.

A shortage that caused a scandal. This was compounded by the decision taken the same day by the Algerian authorities to "suspend" the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Good Neighbourliness between the two countries. This situation is legally problematic from the point of view of the Association Agreement between Algeria and the EU. But Algiers has no qualms about getting angry.

However, in a note published on 28 July, the ABEF rectified the situation, explaining that ’following an evaluation of the system in consultation with the foreign trade actors concerned, the precautionary measures are no longer necessary’. Algeria has now lifted a legal obstacle, but this does not mean that relations between Algiers and Madrid have returned to ’normal’.

It took the appointment of an Algerian ambassador to Madrid to see a real return to normality. "This is an entirely logical and foreseeable development, following the installation of the Algerian ambassador in Madrid and the opening of new Air Algerie routes to Spain. We were impatiently awaiting the thawing of exchanges, which is now gradually taking place," Djamel Bou Abdallah, president of the Algerian-Spanish Business Council, told the Franco-Algerian online newspaper TSA yesterday, Tuesday 16 January.

 source: Atalayar