Import regulations and 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 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
Algeria is a member of Paris Convention concerning the protection of industrial property.
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.