WASHINGTON-The ties between Algeria and the United States, marked by dense cooperation in the security field, gained new impetus in 2016 as both countries showed willingness to strengthen their economic partnership.
The assessment of bilateral relations made by both countries’ officials highlighted the need for raising economic partnership to the level of political and security cooperation.
On the occasion of their meeting held in July in Algiers, Premier Abdelmalek Sellal and Deputy Secretary Antony Antony Blinken stressed “relations are good but they need to be further consolidated, particularly in the economic area.”
Washington welcomed Algeria’s economic diversification program, which aims to establish a comprehensive partnership that strengthens investments, trade exchanges and cultural cooperation.
In last July, the US Department of State considered Algeria as an attractive destination for US companies, highlighting very promising opportunities in several non-hydrocarbon sectors.
Capitalizing on previous successful partnerships, particularly in the energy sector, both countries agreed on strengthening economic cooperation through reviving discussions on the trade and investment framework agreement (TIFA).
The US party committed to backing Algeria’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and declared it eligible for the US Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), which facilitates the access of beneficiary countries’ products to the US market with preferential pricing conditions.
Interest in Algeria was highlighted in the same year following the debate on the Algerian economy in New York, held by the Business Council for international Understanding, in which participated the Industry and Mines Minister Abdessalem Bouchouareb.
In this regard, many projects in agriculture, health and education have strengthened cooperation between the two countries, confirming both countries’ willingness to diversify their economic cooperation, previously limited to hydrocarbons.
The Algeria-US forum on energy, held in last December, was an opportunity to revive this sector, especially as the US has understood that some economic measures, like the 51/49%rule, are no more the hindrances they dreaded before.
Convergence of views on Libya
As for political cooperation, the agenda of visits made by US officials last year is particularly marked by the visits of the Deputy Secretary Antony Antony and the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon.
In 2012, Algeria and the US engaged in a strategic dialogue to strengthen relations. Since then, they have always shared the same viewpoint on the Libyan crisis and stressed the need for resolving the crisis through dialogue and consultation.
Shannon’s visit to Algeria was an opportunity to exchange views on the Libyan crisis and other regional issues, and discuss bilateral cooperation in counterterrorism.
The 7th military dialogue between Algiers and Washington, held in last July in Washington, reaffirmed both countries’ willingness to strengthen military cooperation given the situation in the region.
The US counts on Algeria’s experience in this strategic field and considers Algeria as “a key” partner in the global fight against terrorism.
In its 2015 annual report on counterterrorism in the world, the US Department of State hailed Algeria’s view on counterterrorism and efforts made by authorities since two decades to face this threat.