Despite the current political crisis, economic reality prevails and trade relations resume

Algeria and Spain return to normal trade relations

photo_camera PHOTO/Russian Foreign Ministry via REUTERS - The President of Algeria, Abdelmadjid Tebboune

After almost two months, Algeria has ended trade restrictions with Spain. This decision eases the current crisis between Algiers and Madrid, triggered by Spain's turnaround on the Sahara. As announced by the Professional Association of Banks and Financial Institutions (APBEF), "after consultation with the foreign trade agents concerned, the precautionary measures (in relation to Spain) are no longer necessary". 

Comunicado de la patronal de los bancos argelinos. PHOTO/ABEF

This decision has been welcomed in both countries, especially in the commercial and economic spheres. Djamel Eddine Bouabdallah, president of the Algerian-Spanish Circle of Trade and Industry, described the measure taken by Algiers as "a very important step" and expressed his satisfaction at the return "to normal trade". Bouabdallah points out that the economic dimension will probably not be affected in the future, as long as there are no "very important escalations at the political level". 

Puerto comercial de Argel REUTERS/RAMZI BOUDINA

The return to normality was inevitable due to the strong economic and trade relations between Spain and Algeria. As Bouabdallah explains, "there is very important cooperation". In this sense, the president of the Algerian-Spanish Circle highlights the partnership between Spanish and Algerian companies. 

Banco de Argelia en Argel REUTERS/RAMZI BOUDINA

Algiers reverses its decision to freeze foreign trade with Spain after suspending the Treaty of Friendship, Good Neighbourliness and Cooperation. Abdelmadjid Tebboune's government took this step in response to Madrid's change of position on the Sahara issue. In March, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez recognised the Moroccan plan for the Sahara as the 'most serious, realistic and credible basis' for resolving the conflict. 

Contenedores de transporte en el puerto de Barcelona REUTERS/NACHO DOCE

This important step allowed Madrid to significantly improve its relations with Rabat, which had deteriorated since the entry of Polisario Front leader Brahim Ghali into Spain in April 2021. However, the change of position on the Sahara has alienated Madrid and Algiers, the Polisario's main ally. 

Banco Al Salam en la ciudad de Argel REUTERS/RAMZI BOUDINA

Shortly after Sánchez's letter explaining Spain's new vision on the Sahara was released, Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares assured that the political shift would not affect gas supplies because, according to the Spanish diplomat, Algeria is "a reliable partner".

However, the Algerian media, TSA, quoting official state sources, stressed that this decision was a "second historic betrayal of the Sahrawi people by Madrid after the disastrous 1975 agreement". "Finally, Morocco got what it wanted from Spain", an Algerian diplomat told TSA. In August 2021, Algiers decided to break diplomatic relations with Rabat after several months of tension. 

relaciones argelia españa

The European Union has commented on the crisis between Spain and Algeria. Brussels described the situation as 'extremely worrying' after Algiers opted to suspend the Treaty of Friendship, Good Neighbourliness and Cooperation with Madrid. They also called on Algiers to "reverse its decision".

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