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sabato 20 dicembre 2014

Accession to the WTO: Algeria is really ready

Saturday, December 20, 2014
Accession to the WTO: Algeria is really ready
According to "360.com Algeria"
Algeria is one of 24 countries that are still in negotiations for accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Just installed, Trade Minister Amara Benyounes, said he will make his problem "priority" in the guidelines of the President of the Republic, who want a membership that "takes into account the interests of the Algerian economy".
In fact, the first request made by Algeria in June 1987, and in the negotiations for accession to the GATT, subsequently transferred to the WTO. The first checklist was proposed to the Working Group in July 1996. At that time, following the external debt crisis, Algeria was under the structural adjustment programs (SAPs) which required the IMF and the World Bank . And the passage of the GATT to the WTO has prompted new larger and more complex measures compared to 1987. Finally, the application for membership had not found a favorable response at the time. In 1995, the working group of the GATT was transformed into a WTO working group on accession of Algeria. Held its first meeting in April 1998. The mandate of the working group to report on its work, a Protocol of Accession and a draft decision membership decision-making body is the Ministerial Conference. The President of the WTO working party was guaranteed, first by His Excellency, Mr. Sanchez ARNAU, Ambassador of Argentina (1994 -1998) and then the Ambassador of Uruguay, His Excellency Carlos Perez del Castillo (1998-2004) and of his Excellency Guillermo Valles (2004-2010). It is chaired by the November 2011 by His Excellency, François Roux, Ambassador of Belgium, which is currently chaired by the Ambassador of Argentina, Mr. Alberto Dialoto.

More than 40 WTO members participate in the work of this group. Since its establishment in 1995, the WTO working group on the accession of Algeria held 10 formal meetings and two informal meetings that last took place on 30 March 2012. On those occasions, examined the trade regime in Algeria. His first project report was developed in 2006 and revised in 2008. The latest revision of the draft report will be distributed at the meeting of 11. The next meeting of the working group will consider, in conjunction with the revised draft report of Algeria answers to further questions from members and progression in accordance with Algerian trade regime and bilateral negotiations on tariff restrictions and specific commitments on trade in services. The examination of the Algerian trade regime continues regarding the granting of import licensing, technical barriers to trade, the implementation of sanitary and phytosanitary measures, the application of internal taxes, public enterprises and privatization, subsidies and some issues of protection of intellectual property rights to trade. Twenty points of commitments on projects systemic issues are being discussed. As for bilateral negotiations are still ongoing with 13 countries. With more than half of these countries were recorded significant increases. In addition, six bilateral agreements have been concluded (Cuba, Venezuela, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Switzerland). During the first delivery of 1996 Association of Understanding, Algeria is mainly engaged in: 1) the diversification of the trade; 2) increase the overall level of competitiveness of the industrial manufacturing sector; 3) control and monitoring of food imports. However, economic activity and foreign trade of Algeria had not changed too much. The Algerian economy remains dependent on the oil sector, without diversification of the economy. In 2002, Algeria has had a second memorandum of association with a small advantage linked to its balance of payments begins to find the signs of good health, thanks to the rise of the oil windfall prompted the latter on the world market. Algeria has also signed an association agreement with the European Union, which remains its main economic partner, over 55% of imports and 55% of exports in 2012 (according to the WTO). "In a globalized world, Algeria can not remain on the sidelines," says the pro-WTO.

With less than 0.5% of global trade, the commercial Algeria does not weigh much in world trade. The WTO allows trade liberalization and the removal of obstacles in this area, the accession countries are theoretically able to enjoy the benefits. Reduced costs of imported inputs and intermediate goods, the improvement of production capacity and competitiveness, diversification of the supply of goods and services, participation in the development of international trade rules, the reforms pushed, etc. . are activities that Algeria could draw a WTO membership. If there is a sure thing and obviously share our policies at this time, so it is the need of the accession of Algeria to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The new Minister of Trade, A. Benyounes said is clear that the head of state who has recorded this task, while stressing its urgency. Under the new "conventional wisdom", membership should be at all costs to put Algeria on the road of economic development! Narrowness of view or the mind? In any case, WTO membership appears to be obvious to some and a sine qua non for others. For some operators, the WTO, the "ability to access certain markets that do not accept the product of Algeria, as well as certification and access to standards," said Tayeb Ezzraïmi, CEO of the group SIM. Already exporting to more than 25 countries, it is believed that the WTO can "increase export opportunities, but this can also be done without it", because if there are advantages, there are also many "cons". To meet the needs of the members of the WTO, Algeria has initiated proceedings deregulation and privatization, especially in telecommunications and energy. The most important was the bill would pass the former Minister of Mines and Energy, Chakib Khelil. Giving priority to the recovery of hydrocarbons to the attraction of the most competitive companies, it takes away from the fact Sonatrach all privileges on the domestic market and exposed to direct competition from foreign companies. The project was not approved and it has not rained for foreign partners, including the United States, which had great expectations of this deregulation of the energy market in Algeria to enter into force, if no further consolidate the position of their companies . It 's interesting, if not essential, to remember that the barriers to trade issues, Algeria, as exporters of hydrocarbons, it is not too affected by barriers on its exports. So the negotiations with the WTO working group will be brought on the barriers to imports.

In fact, the WTO members have criticized, among others, Algeria not augers barriers (non-tariff) that practice against imported products. Among the problems that hinder the adhesion of Algeria to the WTO, we find that on imports of pharmaceuticals. There was also a ban on the import of alcoholic beverages, but later withdrawn. Accordingly, Algeria has become a major importer and consumer of alcoholic beverages. According to economist expert Dr. Abderrahmane Mebtoul, the United States of America and Europe's major trading partners of Algeria are obstacles to its accession to the WTO on the grounds that it is still basically an administered economy. E 'in this spirit following the decisions of the current Algerian government in 2009 to give 51% of Algerians in every investment project and 30% of imports of foreign companies, with retroactive effect, which would be contrary to international law, explains the European reaction to Catherine Ashton, European Trade Commissioner who sought the annulment of such directives in a recent official correspondence to the Algerian government, arguing that Algeria had violated articles 32, 37, 39 and 54 of this Agreement. Besides above, the ambassadors of the United States and Germany in Algiers approached in the same direction, emphasizing the legal instability and lack of clarity in the provisions of the Algerian government.

Moreover, they say Mebtoul, no country has forced Algeria to sign this agreement, as no one has forced to join the WTO, in all sovereignty of the Agreement signed by the government and have fundamental implications. "And if Europe opens its market to Algeria, which will export outside outside of the hydrocarbons in the raw or semi-raw due to the decline of its industrial base?" S'interrogò. Certainly, the concerns are legitimate, such as tariff cuts are a deficit of between 1.1 and 1.5 billion dollars a year for Algeria. But invoking the unique situation of export in Algeria, do not hold the majority of OPEC countries are WTO members whose latest is Saudi Arabia. Moreover, "there will be no specificity for Algeria and, according to our information for the EEC, no renegotiation of the fundamental terms with Europe or the specificity for WTO membership, perhaps an extension of time under the same agreement contrary to what has been suggested by some Algerian officials "he said. So why block the participation useful in Algeria? if he asks again. After the analysis, Mr. Mebtoul firmly believes that in order to benefit from the positive effects of the agreement with Europe as a possible accession to the WTO, (if not perverse effects prevail) we should do for the families before the Algerian economy and stops the overall reform of segments to follow (the winners of tomorrow are not those of today), which explains the decline of the manufacturing base. Mr. Mebtoul explains that any operational analysis will link the reforms advanced or brakes analyzing the strategies of the different social forces, the government's policy of being thrown between two antagonistic social forces, the profitable logic is supported by proponents of import (13,000, but only 100 actually control more than 80% of the total) and the informal sphere unfortunately dominant and minority business logic. This explains, according to the expert, that Algeria is in this transition without end since 1986, nor the market economy, nor the administered economy, explaining the difficulties of adjustment, the progress of the reforms to be inversely proportional to oil prices and the dollar, the reforms since 1986 have blocked or timidly done with inconsistency when the current increases.

Mr. Mebtoul focuses the security aspect, which is greatly improved, Algeria must suggests creating favorable conditions for the collection of environmental constraints to improve the vitality of the activities only source of wealth creation permanent, and its exploitation knowledge base with reference to the urgency of renewed governance so that the status review including new features that allow an open economy can not be those of a state Jacobin (bureaucratic centralization), which implies a more citizen participation in the rule of law. However Mebtoul concludes with these conflicts, the accession to the WTO for Algeria is not for tomorrow.
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