Middle East and Central Asia > Algeria

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Luciana Juvenal
When analyzing terms-of-trade shocks, it is implicitly assumed that the economy responds symmetrically to changes in export and import prices. Using a sample of developing countries our paper shows that this is not the case. We construct export and import price indices using commodity and manufacturing price data matched with trade shares and separately identify export price, import price, and global economic activity shocks using sign and narrative restrictions. Taken together, export and import price shocks account for around 40 percent of output fluctuations but export price shocks are, on average, twice as important as import price shocks for domestic business cycles.
Hirut Wolde and Ms. Rina Bhattacharya
In this paper we estimate gravity models to see whether trade volumes of countries in the MENA region are significantly lower than what would be expected given their economic, cultural and geographical characteristics. Our empirical results show that the variables used in standard gravity models cannot explain a significant part of MENA's trade performance, particularly on exports. We then go on to 'augment' the standard gravity model with relevant variables from the World Bank's Business Enterprise surveys. Our results further show that these variables, and in particular transport constraints and inefficiencies in customs clearance processes, are important in explaining the MENA region's underperformance in trade.
Mr. Michael Keen

Abstract

This paper, based on the considerable practical experience of the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department, sets out a successful strategy for modernizing customs administration. The essence is to establish transparent and simple rules and procedures, and to foster voluntary compliance by building a system of self-assessment supported by well-designed audit policies. Having set out this strategy--and its benefits--the paper discusses in depth what is required in terms of trade policy, valuation procedures, dealing with duty reliefs and exemptions, controlling transit movements, organizational reform, use of new technologies, private sector involvement, and designing incentive systems for an effective customs administration.

Ms. Nicole Laframboise, Ms. Patricia Alonso-Gamo, Mr. Alain Feler, Mrs. Stefania Bazzoni, Mr. Karim A. Nashashibi, and Sebastian Paris Horvitz

Abstract

This paper offers Algeria's recent experience with macroeconomic stabilization and systemic transformation from a centrally planned to a market economy. The analyses focuses on the period since 1994 when Algeria embarked on a comprehensive reform program that has benefitted from IMF support, first through a one-year Stand-by Arrangement, and from May 1995, through a three-year arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility. To better understand this experience, this paper provides some background information on Algeria's political history and economic developments during the period preceding the Stand-By arrangement.

Mr. George T. Abed
The European Union’s Association Agreements with several countries in the Southern Mediterranean Region (SMR) aim to promote deeper economic integration between the SMR and the EU by establishing a free trade area in twelve years. Because a large share of the SMR countries’ total imports comes from the EU, the removal of import tariffs could reduce budgetary revenue by the equivalent of 1 percent to 4 percent of individual countries’ GDP. This paper proposes tax and tariff reforms that would help generate the needed compensatory revenue and, more important in the long run, reduce the distortionary effects of the tax and tariff systems and underpin higher rates of sustainable growth.
Uwe Eiteljörge and Mr. Clinton R. Shiells
This paper attempts to assess the incremental external financing requirements occasioned by changes in world food prices, due to implementation of the Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture, for a sample of 57 developing countries. Based on estimates of changes in food prices due to the Round obtained in previous studies, and on detailed data on food trade by country and commodity, the present study shows that the increase in net food import costs are likely to be smaller than 4 percent of net food imports over a period of six years for the countries considered, although for some of the larger trading nations the effect may exceed US$10 million.
Mr. Mohamad Ali Finaish and Eric Bell
The Founding Treaty of the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU), signed in February 1989, calls for a strengthening of all ties among its member states (Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia), including a gradual move toward free circulation of goods, services, and factors of production among them. The paper provides an overview of the economic conditions in the AMU member countries, describes the institutional arrangements under the AMU, and assesses the progress made in attaining the economic objectives of the Treaty. In so doing, the paper identifies the main obstacles encountered in making progress toward the objectives of the Treaty and reviews actions that need to be taken to make further progress in the coming years. In that context, the paper also examines the relationship of the AMU countries with the European Union (EU).
Mr. P. van den Boogaerde

Abstract

Arab financial assistance to developing - particularly Arab - countries rose sharply between 1973 and 1980 but fell gradually through the 1980s, owing mainly to weakening oil prices. As a percent of GNP, however, Arab contributions remain the largest among major donors. This paper surveys the volume and distribution of Arab financing from 1973 to 1989.