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    Algeria - EU partnership



    Algeria about to lose $5bn, 500,000 jobs at risk

    "Eventually, one may wonder: Is there, from now on, room for this country’s sovereignty?"

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    Algeria blocks free trade zone

    BRUSSELS (EUX.TV) -- A new television report on Algeria's role in European Union plans for a free trade zone now on North Africa is now available on EUX.TV, the Europe channel.

    The report is made available to broadcasters by the European parliament. Click on the link below to watch it now.

    Duration: 8'00"

    Speaking are:

    - Kader Arif, Social-democrat MEP, France
    - Wolfgang Plasa, EC Delegation Chief, Algeria
    - Issad Rebrab, President of Cevital
    - Omar Belhouchet, Editor, 'El Watan’ newspaper

    From the official description:

    On 15/3/2007 the European Parliament adopted a resolution based on the own-initiative report drafted by Kader Arif (PSE, FR) on the construction of the Euro-Mediterranean free-trade zone.

    Parliament regretted the fact that Barcelona's main objectives were still far from being achieved and called the Commission, the EU Member States and the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries (SEMCs) to re-launch the Barcelona Process by giving priority to the establishment of a genuine Euro-Mediterranean socio-economic area which would incorporate social and environmental aspects into the economic side of the partnership to a greater extent.

    MEPs wanted a clearer definition of the objectives of the European Neighbourhood Policy, which, without neglecting the countries of Eastern Europe, must neither weaken the Barcelona Process nor favour bilateral approaches at the expense of a multilateral regional approach.

    The SEMCs must continue to be regarded as a separate entity. Parliament emphasised the importance of creating closer institutional ties between the EU and the SEMCs as well as the importance of regional integration of the SEMCs and increasing South-South trade. It called on the EU to increase the resources available for technical and financial assistance to the SEMCs.


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    Meanwhile, in a EU non-member European state:


    Switzerland's ambassador in Algeria Mr. Michel Gotri unveiled the undertaking of negotiations with Algeria so as to create a Swiss-Algerian free exchange zone, noting that Algeria remains the only Mediterranean country that has not sealed such an agreement with Switzerland.

    This endeavour is, according to the Swiss party, meant to upgrade commercial exchanges between the two countries, which are limited to 200 to 300 Swiss Franc and not meet the aspirations of the two peoples.

    During the press conference held in preparation for the third international forum in May on the “finance sector”, the Swiss ambassador made it clear that Algerian finance sector participation in the Gross Domestic Product is still lukewarm compared with that of Switzerland, in this connection he added that Algeria can take advantage from Algerian nationals’ skills.

    In another context, the Swiss ambassador pointed out that Algeria, which has decided to fund its projects relying on its own assets without resorting to indebtedness, needs to define funding mechanisms concerning sub-contracting companies as well as State-owned companies so as to realize the sought after goals.


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    4 April 2007 -- Developing countries should be wary of the European Union's latest offer of duty and quota-free access to its markets for developing countries, announced in Brussels today, says Christian Aid.

    'This offer may appear to be generous but the European Union is still asking for more access to developing country markets while depriving governments in poor countries of the tools they need to ensure that such investments benefit their people,' said Christina Weller, Christian Aid's senior policy officer on trade.

    Europe is negotiating new economic partnership agreements (EPAs) with nations in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP).

    The EU's offer is a tactic which increases the pressure on the ACP countries to sign up by the deadline of 31 December 2007 or the offer will be taken off the table. ACP countries have already said that they are not ready to make such hard choices without first having a chance to evaluate the impact of such a deal.

    'This offer isn't as good as it looks because the EU is not dealing with the real obstacles to ACP exports to Europe. The EU needs to address these key concerns if the deal is to have any genuine value to developing countries,' said Ms Weller.


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    Bilateral trade between Algeria, EU registers huge imbalance

    May 31, 2007 -- Algeria's exports to Europe remained low due to rapid increase of imports across the other side of the Mediterranean coast, after the signing of the Algeria- European Union (EU) association agreement in September 2005, Said Djellab, an official of Algerian Trade Ministry was quoted as saying by local press Wednesday.

    The first four months of 2007 were once again marked by a significant increase of imports from Europe of 18 percent compared with the same period the previous year, he said.

    The coming into force of the Algeria-European Union association agreement notably enabled the EU to consolidate itself on the Algerian market, which is currently standing at a total of 55 percent, Djellab said.

    He attributed this trade imbalance between Algeria and Europe notably to "EU's protectionist policy, standards imposed on export products and agricultural subsidies practiced openly by various EU member countries."

    According to Algerian press, the country will have to wait for several years before reaping positive economic results from the Algeria-EU association agreement.


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