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Algerians warn EU trade agreement could further decimate economy

As the free trade accord goes into effect this weak, Algeria fears the consequences could be devastating.
A general view shows the port of Algiers on December 6, 2017. (Photo by LUDOVIC MARIN / AFP)        (Photo credit should read LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images)

The last restrictions on commerce between the European Union and Algeria are set to expire Sept. 1. The Association Agreement, signed 15 years ago, provides a glimpse into the lucrative future then-President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and his immediate circle saw for themselves and the country they governed. In 2020, the position, unfortunately, is quite different.

For years, Algeria has relied upon the export of hydrocarbons to Europe and the world, while suffocating vast swathes of the private sector under a blanket of bureaucracy and corruption. Now, battered by the coronavirus pandemic, social unrest, graft and the drop in the value of hydrocarbons that began as far back as 2014, Algeria is scrambling to renegotiate the terms of the agreement while bemoaning the absence of significant European investment within the Algerian economy.

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