Algerian businessmen have been seeking alternatives to Spanish products and goods to prevent huge potential losses in their business dealings.
This comes in the wake of Algeria’s decision to suspend foreign trade in products and services with Spain as of June 9, part of an escalating dispute over the status of Western Sahara.
It also suspended on Wednesday a 20-year-old treaty of friendship, good neighborliness and cooperation with Spain that committed the two sides to cooperation in controlling migration flows, and also banned imports from Spain.
Algeria is a key gas supplier to Spain, but Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has previously said he would not break the supply contract.
The Francophone e-newspaper “All About Algeria” quoted head of the National Association of Algerian Economic Operators Smail Naamane as saying on Friday that the Algerian ports’ close location to Spain encouraged businessmen to export products to the Algerian market.
“Algiers can import these products from other countries,” Naamane affirmed, noting that it is inevitable to adapt to developments.
One of the main products Algeria imports from Spain is ceramics, Naamane affirmed, adding that it will now resort to Italy.
Naamane, who represents Algerian importers, said this product is more expensive in Italy, hinting it may import it from China, Turkey and India.
Algeria also imports large quantities of red meat from Spain, but Naamane said Brazil or even China could be the alternatives.
However, several Algerian small and medium enterprises that have businesses with dozens of private Spanish enterprises expressed concern over the fate of their economic activity, workers and employees after Algeria’s recent decision.
Some of these companies depend exclusively on raw materials imported from Spain, which means they could be forced to shut down in case they do not find alternatives.
In addition to commercial activity, Spain and Algeria cooperate in the fight against irregular migration and terrorism, which would most probably be affected by political and diplomatic tensions.