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Doing Business in Algeria
 

I  Exporting to Algeria

President Obama announced the National Export Initiative (NEI) http://www.export.gov two years ago, with the goal of doubling exports by 2014. U.S. embassies are committed to supporting U.S. companies to start exporting or grow their exports to Algeria.  In this section, you’ll find a quick description of Algeria as an export market and some suggestions for getting started.

Getting Started

If you are considering doing business in Algeria, here are some steps you may wish to consider as you get started:

1. Visit the export.gov page on Algeria to get an overview of economic conditions and opportunities.  Access the U.S. Commercial Service Market Research Library containing more than 100,000 industry and country-specific market reports, authored by our specialists working in overseas posts. Visit the export.gov page on Algeria to get an overview of economic conditions and opportunities  

The e-Library Includes:

  • Country Commercial Guide on “Doing Business in Algeria”:

U.S. exporters can find substantial opportunities in Algeria with patience and effective Algerian agents or distributors to help translate these opportunities into sales.  Given the time and resources necessary to successfully develop this market, Algeria is not an ideal export market for small to medium-sized enterprises.

U.S. companies dominate Algeria‘s oil and gas sector.  Algerian government officials have actively sought to encourage non-hydrocarbon U.S. investment, but recent Algerian government measures have restricted the country’s investment climate.  As a result, and because of unanticipated regulations, heavy bureaucracy, and comparatively few incentives, there have been relatively few U.S. investments in Algeria outside the hydrocarbon sector. 

The privatization process has all but stopped due to both a general lack of interest among foreign investors and a lack of confidence among government leaders in past privatization and foreign-investment efforts.  Bank privatization is on hold indefinitely.  Slow economic reforms and an antiquated banking system have left non-hydrocarbon sectors mostly underdeveloped.  Algeria has not joined the WTO, despite several years of negotiations. 

  • Best Markets 

- Hydrocarbons – Oil and Gas: Algeria is one of the world’s top ten producers of both oil and natural gas.  Existing upstream and midstream infrastructure is aging and inadequate to meet Algeria’s near-term production goals.  We expect new investment in these areas, particularly as new undersea gas pipelines to Europe are constructed as well as investment in offshore exploration. In addition to the existing traditional fuels, Algeria has the world’s third largest reserves of recoverable shale gas resources (19.8 trillion m3) spread in 7 regions throughout the Sahara. A new hydrocarbon law was enacted in March 2013 to encourage foreign investments in unconventional gas exploration and exploitation. To meet the increasing growth in domestic consumption, Algeria is planning to invest USD 120 billion by 2030 in renewable energies.

- Information and Communications Technology:  Algerians are increasingly tech-savvy and interested in technology and know-how transfer in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector.  Government ministries are also interested in process modernization and digitization of recordkeeping.  Home Internet penetration rates remain below 10 percent, but business Internet usage is estimated at over 40 percent.  Mobile phones (GSM) are common, and Algeria is looking toward third-generation technology. 

- Public Works, Infrastructure Development and Water Resources: The government has simultaneously focused on roadways, rail systems, airport upgrades, public housing, hospital construction, water treatment, transportation, and electrification as part of a USD286 billion infrastructure development program.  U.S. firms have not capitalized on these opportunities, in part due to the Algerian government bureaucracy.  The Algerian government has recently sought U.S. Embassy assistance in attracting more U.S. firms to the market.  In response to the housing shortage, the Algerian government has allotted USD 47 billion in order to build 1 million homes by 2014.

- Healthcare: Despite the ban on importation of pharmaceuticals that can be produced domestically, the healthcare sector continues to be a relatively attractive market. Demand for medical equipment and disposals is considerable and depends largely on imported goods. The population’s standard of living is improving, albeit slowly.  There has been an increased incidence in reporting of hypertension, diabetes, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, and allergies.  Contact your local U.S. Export Assistance Center for advice and support on exporting to Algeria.  

2. Contact Information and Links for Assistance: 

  • Contact your local U.S. Export Assistance Center for advice and support on exporting to Algeria. Contact a Trade Specialist Near You  
  • Contact your local Small Business Development Center (SBDCs)

         Starting a business can be a challenge, but there is help for you in
         your area. Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) are
         partnerships primarily between the government and
         colleges/universities administered by the Small Business
         Administration and aims at giving educational services for small
         business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.   

         - American Chamber of Commerce in Algeria:
             http://www.amcham-algeria.org/ 
         - US-Algeria Business Council: http://www.us-algeria.org/ 
         - World Trade Center Algeria: http://www.wtcalgeria.com/  

 - Make use of business matchmaking services:Whether you’re
   looking to make your first export sale or expand your business in
   this market, we offer the trade counseling, market intelligence,
   business matchmaking, and commercial diplomacy you need to
   connect with lucrative business opportunities.  

II  Investing in Algeria

This section provides information for current and potential investors in Algeria.

1. Potential investors: Getting Started. 

If you are considering investment in Algeria, here are some steps you may wish to consider as you get started:

2. Current investors: Staying Connected.

If you are a current U.S. investor in Algeria, the U.S Embassy wants to stay in touch.  Here are a few steps you can take to keep the channels of communication open:

  • Register with the U.S. Embassy – If you are active in Algeria, let us know by sending an email to the contact addresses at the bottom of this page.
  • Add Commercial and Agricultural specialists to your mailing lists – we are always happy to stay informed. Send emails to contact addresses at the bottom of this page
  • Subscribe to our embassy Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/USEmbassyAlgiers or Twitter feed @USEmbAlgiers.
  • Set up a meeting with our economic or commercial team to discuss any issues that arise. Contact persons listed at the bottom of this page. 

3. Working in Algeria

In this section you will find information on business visas, travel advisories, and anti-corruption tools.

Business Visas

For information on obtaining a visa to visit Algeria, visit the Algeria Visa authority  on the Algerian Embassy website at http://www.algeria-us.org/consular_affairs/visa_to_algeria.html

Travel Advisories

Make sure to check the current State Department travel advisory http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_5774.html for Algeria. 

FCPA

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is an important anti-corruption tool designed to discourage corrupt business practices in favor of free and fair markets.  The FCPA prohibits promising, offering, giving or authorizing giving anything of value to a foreign government official where the purpose is to obtain or retain business.  These prohibitions apply to U.S. persons, both individuals and companies, and companies that are listed on U.S. exchanges.  The statute also requires companies publicly traded in the U.S. to keep accurate books and records and implement appropriate internal controls.   

More information on the FCPA can be found here:  http://www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/fcpa/

A party to a transaction seeking to know whether a proposed course of conduct would violate the FCPA can take advantage of the opinion procedure established by the statue.  Within 30 days of receiving a description of a proposed course of conduct in writing, the Attorney General will provide the party with a written opinion on whether the proposed conduct would violate the FCPA.  Not only do opinions provide the requesting party with a rebuttable presumption that the conduct does not violate the FCPA, but DOJ publishes past opinions which can provide guidance for other companies facing similar situations.

More information on the DOJ opinion procedure can be found here: http://www.morganlewis.com/documents/fcpa/FCPAOpinionProcedureReleases.pdf (PDF 135kb)

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