Turkish President Urges Algeria to Lift Import Restrictions

Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan urged Algerian authorities to lift the import restrictions and quotas it has imposed in a bid to curb the surging imports bill and consequently delay the depletion of its foreign reserves.

Erdogan, who paid a three day visit to Algiers as part of an Africa tour, told the Turkish-Algerian business forum that the “import quotas and licenses are negatively affecting trade between the two countries.

Algeria is Turkey’s largest trading partner in Africa with overall trade totaling $4 billion.

“I hope we will increase our trade and investments with Algeria to $10 billion mutually,” Erdogan said.

Erdogan’s calls came after similar remarks by the EU, which denounced last year the “restrictive measures imposed on bilateral trade” without prior consultation.

Meanwhile, Algeria’s foreign exchange reserves are expected to drop to $85 billion at best by the end of 2018 down from $194 billion in 2014, barely enough to cover 18 months of imports.

As Algeria feels the heat of an economic and financial crisis propelled by the oil price plunge, the country seeks to reduce its import bill through time-buying measures, including tax hikes, money printing and recently trading crude oil for refined products.

Algeria ranks 156th out of 190 countries listed by the World Bank in its “Doing Business” index.

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