Algeria unfreezes bank accounts for foreign trade with Spain: the previous order “no longer applies”

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Algeria unfreezes bank accounts for foreign trade with Spain: the previous order

Algeria unblocks the bank accounts used for foreign trade with Spain. The banking association ABEF has sent an information note to banks and financial institutions saying that “it no longer applies” The order of June 8 to freeze the accounts used to make foreign trade payments with Spain. The circular has been advanced by the Algerian medium in French TSA and this newspaper has also had access to it. The Professional Association of Banks and Financial Establishments (ABEF) is the employer of a bank that is mostly in the hands of the State and is supervised by the government. Therefore, it is to be expected that this communication will be successful. It is backed by the executive of Abdelmadjid Tebboune and that with this communication the unblocking of Spanish exports to Algeria begins, which last year amounted to nearly 1,900 million euros.

“Distinguished Directors of Banks and Financial Institutions. On the measures to freeze direct debits for foreign trade operations of products and services to and from Spain,” reads the letter, dated July 28, 2022 , “I have the honor to point out that, after evaluating the precautionary measures referred to in this document, and in consultation with the actors involved in foreign trade, they are not applicable”.

In another statement, to which this newspaper has also had access, the Bank of Algeria has clarified that “for the direct debit of foreign trade operations, it is up to the authorized intermediary banksto assess the inherent risks , taking into account in particular the quality of the commercial counterparties, and establish the appropriate measures to mitigate these risks.”

Both circulars have been sent a few days after it became known that the Algerian customs officials had asked the Abdelmadjid Tebboune government for explanations on how to apply the penalties to Spain for operations prior to 8 June. “The situation puts Algerian companies that have economic ties with Spain in total limbo,” criticized the Algerian media outlet TSA.

In the absence of seeing what is the real application of this order on the ground and whether there are any other restrictions in customs, the note points to the unblocking of foreign trade between Spain and Algeria. The retaliatory measure occurred at the same time that the Executive of Tebboune ordered the Suspend the Treaty of Friendship with Spain after the appearance of Pedro Sánchez in Congress to explain his turn regarding Western Sahara (recognizing Morocco's autonomy plan as the “most credible ;ble”).

The Foreign Minister José; Manuel Albares led The commercial case went to Brussels, because it is the EU that has powers regarding foreign trade with countries that, like Algeria, have agreements with the Union. “The EU is ready to face any type of coercive measures applied against one of its member states,” said the High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, in a joint statement. , and the vice president of the European Commission and head of Trade, Valdis Dombrovskis, after meeting with the Spanish minister.. 

Shortly after, Algiers ceased to the finance minister, a fact that is related to the ABEF order.

In this month and a half, neither Madrid nor Brussels have given explanations on the situation since then, except for a brief appearance by the Secretary of State for Trade at the Congress. In it, he recognized that foreign trade with the Maghreb neighbor It was practically completely stopped, that it was in daily contact with Brussels to publicize commercial incidents.

Diplomatic relations between Madrid and Algiers, on the other hand, are completely paralyzed. Algeria withdrew The ambassador told the ambassador as soon as the change in Spain's position on the solution to the occupation of Western Sahara was known in March, and he has not returned to replace it since then, although part of the legation is still in Spain, with a low profile.

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