The Ministry of Trade on Monday lifted a ban on the import of certain products linked to the foodstuffs industry.
“The trusteeship today suspended temporarily the ban on the import of a number of products linked to the foodstuffs industry such as juices, drinks, yoghurt, biscuits, sweets, chocolate, etc.”, a ministry statement said.
The ministry stressed that these products, which are usually called “flavors” are now free in the import process according to the conditions stipulated for the benefit of the dealers concerned, each according to his interest.
“This procedure is part of the review and updating of the list of temporarily suspended products for import, and the results will be reported in due course,” the ministry said in a statement.
The former Trade Minister, Mohamed Benmeradi, pointed last January to the possibility of reviewing the list of goods prohibited from import according to the needs of the national market, noting that the relevant departments will evaluate the results of this process during an assessment meeting scheduled in February, in case of scarcity in some of them.
Mr. Benmeradi then said in a statement to the National Radio that a joint ministerial committee comprising trade, finance, industry and agriculture was established to monitor the situation of the market following the drafting of a long list of products that could be produced domestically and other luxury goods.
In December 2017, the Ministry of Trade announced the banning of 900 imported products, except for cars that may be used to open their own import area, expand the list of goods subject to domestic consumption tax, and introduce consumer protection measures, to be applicable as from early 2018.
The ministry has meanwhile confirmed the freezing of all import licenses. In return, customs tariffs were raised and taxes added on domestic consumption, revealing by the same token that an executive decree on the matter will be issued in the near future.
Algeria has taken a number of austerity measures recently, as a result of the sharp drop in oil prices and the decline in cash reserves.
The authorities are trying to find alternative economic options for oil, which accounts for most of the country’s exports.
In the first ten months of 2017, the total value of imports was set at about $ 38.18 billion, according to Algerian customs data, a figure not far from that of the same period in 2016, when Algeria imported $ 38.88 billion.
Algeria’s foreign exchange reserves will fall to $ 85.2 billion next year, equivalent to 18.8 months of imports, which are expected to reach $ 102.4 billion.