Algeria

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Import regulations and customs duties  - Distribution - Transportation of goods - Standards - Patents and brands


Import regulations and customs duties

Regulations
Algeria has increased liberalisation of its export-import trade with foreign countries. However, the country is levying customs duties on certain high level products in order to protect its national production. All import and export operations involving goods and services have to be domiciled with a bank.

 


Customs duties
The Algerian customs tariff is the same as that of the harmonised system of Brussels. The normal level of customs duty is not higher than 25%. However, some goods are subject to much higher duty which is around 40 to 50%. Some products are not taxed at all or taxed at a very low rate (3.7 or 15%).

 

 






Distribution

Distribution in Algeria has been the domain of public companies for a long time. But for the past few years, foreign and notably French companies have become interested in the Algerian market since the start of privatisation, which was supposed to stabilise the country's economic situation. Only the petroleum industry continues to remain in State hands.


The Business to Consumer (B to C) market
Algeria has a well developed distribution system that is shared amongst public and private companies. However, state-run companies are generally selling basic foodstuffs, pharmaceutical products, and imported industrial equipment. Private companies, which represent the majority of distributors, also have a strong foothold in the equipment sector. Retail trade is controlled almost exclusively by private traders.
In the food sector, the Blanky group dominates. It took over the stores which were earlier run by the public company "les galeries algériennes". Blanky, through its store Promy sells food products, 75% of which are made in Algeria. On its three floors, Promy sells different types of products, including textiles, electrical home appliances and food products.
There are also a large number of small retail stores. For example, Danone products (which control a 40% market-share of fresh milk products) are primarily distributed through small local stores.
L'UGCAA (the General Union of Algerian Traders and Artisans), encourages the establishment of foreign distributors which according to it would reduce the level of unofficial trade (black market) which constituted 35% of total trade in 2004. However, big foreign stores are discouraged by heavy investment costs and tax and customs complications. For example, Carrefour is still uncertain about opening its Champion store.
However, small local stores are not worried about foreign companies coming in, as they feel that they cater to a different clientele, namely the rich. Considering that the purchasing power of most Algerians is quite low, most people prefer to patronize neighbourhood shops.

The Business to Business (B to B) market
The process of privatisation started in the eighties. Since then, it has become quite successful and has led to an increase in FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) in the country. In 2004, FDI amounted to 882 million dollars, while in 2003 it was only 634 million dollars. FDI is directly mainly toward sectors like distribution, automobile, and industrial equipment.

It is very common to use the services of an agent, a distributor or a joint-venture partner to enter this country. This helps to operate more efficiently.

Franchises are not very common in Algeria as the country does not yet have the appropriate legislation for this type of distribution. However, more and more companies are becoming in it. The pioneer in this field is Yves Rocher, established in Algeria since 2003. Other French stores have followed, such as Carré Blanc in household linens, Jacques Dessange International and Celio.




Standards

Algeria is a member of Paris Convention concerning the protection of industrial property.
Algeria has established a regulation which is strict enough concerning food products. Hence, special prescriptions are issued by the Algerian Ministry of Commerce, Department of Prevention of Frauds and Control of Quality. These prescriptions relate to the use of additives in food products, hygiene when producing and selling food products.



Patents and brands

Patents, trademarks and copyrights are protected in Algeria. As for patents, one has to seek full information from the Algerian Institute of Standardisation and Industrial Property (IANPI/ AISIP). As for trademarks, the National Centre for Registration of Trade (CNCR/NCRT) manages the requests.

Texts currently applying to patents/brands

  Text Date entered into law Period of validity Comment
Patent Ordinance No. 03-07 on Patents July 19, 2003 20 years :
Trademark Ordinance No. 03-06 on Trademarks July 19, 2003 10 years :
Design Ordinance n° 66 - 86 on Design and Models April 28, 1966 10 years, renewable for further 10-year periods :



 

Last modified in 2006 - ongoing update
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