Algeria suspends the importation of 851 products, including fruit and vegetables

The Algerian government has provisionally suspended the importation of 851 products, including most fruits and vegetables, since January 1 of this year and it has increased the customs duties of another 129 products in order to reduce its trade deficit. Spanish exports of fruit and vegetables to Algeria stood at 1,330 tons until November 2017, i.e. 90% less than in the same period of the previous year.

The restrictions have already had an impact on Spanish exports of fruits and vegetables, which had maintained a very positive presence until 2014, with a maximum of 77,481 tons. In 2015 exports had already decreased to 55,280 tons, corresponding to a wide range of products, such as orange with 16,467 tons, apple with 10,635 tons, nectarine, with 6,710 tons, plum with 2,672 tons, pear with 2,513 tons, garlic with 2,373 tons, potato with 1,512 tons, cherry with 1,248 tons, and grapes with 1,238 tons. In 2016, shipments dropped to 15,539 tons.

In the last period for which there is official data available from the General Directorate of Customs, from January to November 2017, shipments have fallen by 90% in relation to the same period of 2016, going from 13,834 tons to 1,330 tons, and 92% in value, as they went from 11.7 million euro to 956,365 euro.

In this period, fruits have been the most affected by export restrictions, as up until November 2017 they stood at 304 tons and 9.9 million euro, while in the same period of 2016 they stood at 12,639 tons and 271,791 euro, mainly focusing on two fruits: apples and oranges. Apple exports in the first eleven months of 2016 amounted to 6,367 tons and in the same period of 2017 they remained at one ton, while orange exports went from 6,203 tons to none. Vegetable exports up to November 2017 amounted to 1,026 tons, being led by potato exports, with 915 tons.

With this measure, the Algerian Government intends to discourage imports to improve its trade balance. According to FEPEX, the Algerian decision highlights the difficulty of accessing and consolidating new markets for horticultural exports.

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