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Algerian Drinks Producers Slam Tunisian Consumption Tax

by Lorys Charalambous,, Cyprus

24 January 2014

The Algerian association of drinks producers (APAB) has denounced Tunisia's decision to impose a tax on the consumption of Algerian products, warning that the levy will merely serve to block Algerian exports.

APAB President Ali Hamani argued that the tax will limit the Tunisian market's access to Algerian products, at a time when the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries should boost exports, as customs duties are no longer applied in the commercial Free Trade Zone.

The FTA is therefore "meaningless" and "disadvantageous" to Algeria, Hamani stressed.

Underscoring that the Tunisian market is "a good market" for Algerian drinks producers, and pointing out that the country is a gateway to other nations, in particular to Libya and Morocco, Hamani demanded that the levy either be abolished or a similar charge be applied to Tunisian products.

Confirming that the Algerian Ministry of Commerce has contacted the competent Tunisian authorities, to address the issue, Hamani announced that the association will contact the National Competition Council if no action is taken. The fact that Tunisian products entering Algeria are not subject to taxation constitutes "unfair competition," he said.

The APAB has also called for a total or partial reform of the country's professional activity tax (TAP), to end the huge problem of tax evasion among drinks wholesalers in Algeria. Defending its stance, the association emphasized that the TAP levy and stamp duty charge currently absorb all of a wholesalers' gross margins.

If the Government elected to remove the TAP, the measure would actually increase tax revenue for the state, as tax compliance would rise as a result, the association maintained.

TAGS: Morocco | compliance | tax | free trade agreement (FTA) | tax compliance | tax avoidance | corporation tax | Algeria | Libya | agreements | stamp duty | Tunisia | tax reform | trade | Tax | Tax Evasion

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