The Algerian authorities have expressed their readiness to reactivate economic relations with the Syrian regime, despite the rise in the Algerian trade deficit and the economic crisis the country is facing. This development took place after the Syrian embassy asked for a meeting with the Algerian ministers of trade and labor.
The ambassador of the Syrian regime’s government in Algeria, Namir Waheeb al-Ghanem, revealed the details of his meeting with the Algerian Minister of Foreign Trade, Kamal Zureik, who expressed the intention of his country’s government to cooperate with Syria and strengthen economic and trade relations with it.
On Tuesday, Ghanem said, in a statement to local newspaper Al-Watan, that Algeria’s stance towards Syria is “very positive,” describing the meetings he had with Algerian officials as “useful.” The ambassador said that the meetings with the Algerian Ministers of Labor and Trade took place at the request of the [Syrian] embassy and are concerned with the needs of the Syrian citizen, noting that other meetings would follow, allowing for the reactivation of relations between the two countries.
He added that contacts were established with the concerned authorities to reactivate the Joint Syrian-Algerian Businessmen Council and to reconfigure and restructure it, after the Algerian side raised the need to revive the council, considering that the private sector is necessary in restoring commercial relations, in light of the Western sanctions imposed on the Syrian regime.
Ghanem pointed to the need to reactivate the bilateral economic agreements signed between the two countries, after the Algerian Minister of Trade expressed his country’s desire to reignite economic and trade relations and to see Algerian goods on the Syrian market, and vice versa. The ambassador quoted the Algerian minister as saying that Syria is now in the process of reconstruction and needs to fulfill certain requirements, and that Algeria has both the ability and willingness to participate in this process.
He added that his country possesses capabilities in several fields–especially in the field of cement and iron–and has a surplus of millions of tons of cement. He added that Algeria is currently in the process of signing the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, which is a gateway for Syrian investors to enter Africa, which would employ 1.2 billion people, while Syria could be the Asian gateway for Algerian investors.
Ghanem explained that the volume of trade exchange in the pre-war years had reached somewhat acceptable levels, although it did not meet the expectations. The volume of trade exchange between Syria and Algeria pre-2011 reached nearly 600 dollars million annually, with the trade balance tipping in favor of Syria, which used to export food, medicine, textiles, wheat, cotton, clothing, shoes, and other commodities to Algeria, while Syria imported chemicals from Algeria.
During his meeting with Ghanem, Zureik stressed that raising the value of trade exchanges is a goal that can be achieved by encouraging productive investment and creating partnerships in new fields.
Zureik touched on the privileges that Algeria offers investors wishing to penetrate the Algerian market, echoing what the Algerian Ministry of Trade said on Facebook on January 28.
Algeria’s trade deficit is almost at 74 percent. Algeria suffered from an economic crisis in 2020, due to the outbreak of the coronavirus and the collapse of oil prices in world markets, at a time when fuel revenues represent 93 percent of the country’s foreign exchange income. Algeria’s trade deficit (the difference between the value of exports and imports) reached 10.6 billion dollars in 2020. The deficit increased by 73.48 percent, as the balance deficit reached 6.11 billion dollars in 2019, according to reporting by Algeria Press Service (APS) on January 14.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.