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3. Barriers to trade
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3.1 Tariff and tariff administrative measures

The average tariff rate of Algeria is 18.7 percent. High rates, at a level of 30 percent, are applied to food, beverages, tobacco, and consumer goods. Tariff escalation exists in Algeria.

Usually a 5 percent rate is levied on raw materials, while a 15 percent rate is imposed on semi-finished products and a 30 percent rate is on finished products.

3.2 Barriers to customs procedures

3.2.1 Customs valuation

In order to prevent tax evasion by importers, the Algerian Customs requires that imports from certain countries including China be sent to the General Customs Administration for valuation. Since this requirement was implemented, there has been a considerable increase of cases that goods from China were opened by the Customs for inspection. This has resulted in delays of customs clearance and certain seasonable commodities have missed the sales season. Therefore, Chinese export companies have suffered losses, over which the Chinese side expresses concern.

3.2.2 Regulations on return or transshipment of port-stranded goods

According to the regulations of the Algerian Customs, to return or transfer goods originally intended for exportation to Algeria, a certificate of rejection from the consignee or the notifying party on the bill of lading needs to be presented, without which no person (neither the owner nor the exporter) is entitled to return or transfer the goods. In trading with Algeria, an exporter usually makes delivery to an Algerian importer after receiving a certain amount of down payment or advance payment. If the importer rejects the goods or is unable to pay the rest of the amount in a timely manner when the goods arrive at port, for which the importer refuses to write a certificate of rejection, neither the owner nor the exporter of the goods is entitled to return or transfer the goods.

As this regulation makes the certificate of rejection from the consignee a prerequisite for goods to be returned or transferred, if a situation described as above occurs, the imports will be confiscated and put on auction by the Algerian Customs after a period or sold to the importer at a lower price before confiscated. Therefore, the exporter will suffer severe economic losses. Such requirement is obviously unreasonable, and endangers the exporter's interests.

In addition, even if the exporter can obtain a certificate of rejection from the importer, he has to go through the complicated import and re-export procedures again by submitting relevant documents through a local company.

Chinese enterprises have encountered this problem on several occasions, and none of these cases have been settled properly and satisfactorily. The Chinese side expresses concern over this issue, and hopes that Algeria will soon remove the unreasonable requirement so as to protect the justified interests of exporters.

3.3 Sanitary and phytosanitary measures

According to relevant Algerian regulations, the tolerance of aflatoxin content in peanuts should be not more than 15PPB, and the number of mould should be not more than 100 per gram. According to the standards set by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the total number of mould for nuts should range from 100-10000 per gram. Algeria has discretionally only adopted the lower limit of the international standard, and its definition of mould and applicable foodstuff are too vague. There is a great variety of mould, and only part of them imposes hazards to human health. Most countries distinguish clearly the deep-processed ready-to-eat food from raw food when defining mould tolerance. Algeria's general and undefined requirement on mould tolerance lacks scientific grounds. The Chinese side expresses concern.

3.4 Barriers to trade in services

3.4.1 Project bidding

When inviting tenders for engineering projects, the Algerian government usually requires that foreign bidders provide financing plans or that they bring capital to join the projects or make investment. Those who fail to meet the requirements are usually not awarded the project.

3.4.2 Visa

Algeria has a lengthy and complicated procedure to handle working visa applications filed by technical staff working on engineering projects. To get such visa, an applicant must go through five levels of authority including the Algerian project manager, the local labor department, the Ministry of Labor, the Foreign Ministry and the Algerian Embassy in China. The time-consuming procedure, which takes two to three months, has affected the normal business of Chinese companies.

In addition, when a foreign employee applies for a long-term working visa, a document of approval issued by the relevant Algerian department to his employer is required. On arrival in Algeria, he also needs to apply for a Labor Card from the local labor department, which is quite inefficient in handling such applications. All these have created an unfavorable environment for China to provide labor services in Algeria.

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