Algeria - Country Commercial Guide
Selling Factors and Techniques

Identifies common practices to be aware of when selling in this market, e.g., whether all sales material need to be in the local language.

Last published date: 2021-10-11

The Algerian market is price sensitive and U.S. products and services are often relatively more expensive than those offered by European and Asian competitors.  Despite this, Algerian buyers are less price sensitive, and American companies are more competitive, in situations where they need customized or complex solutions and when quality, reliability, advanced technology are the key factors driving the purchase decision.

Promotional sales material and technical documentation should be in French and Arabic.  Managers, both private and parastatal, are very keen on the transfer of technology and know-how.  Companies should apply religious and cultural sensitivity in the Algerian market.  Algeria is a Muslim country, and all pork products are prohibited (i.e., an import license is impossible).

Trade Promotion and Advertising

The largest annual trade event is the Algiers International Trade Fair (FIA), encompassing all sectors in a single, high-profile, multinational event.  Exhibitors are organized in national pavilions.

In Algiers and other major cities, including Oran, Constantine, Annaba, and Hassi Messaoud, sector-specific trade events are rapidly developing and becoming important business gatherings.  Trade events have slowly restarted following the COVID-19 pandemic.  Companies are encouraged to contact the U.S. Commercial Service in Algeria to obtain information about trade events.  Firms can also contact the American Chamber of Commerce in Algeria at www.AmchamAlgeria.org or the U.S. – Algeria Business Council, www.US-Algeria.org. 

Newspapers, television, and radio advertising are increasingly effective at the consumer level and for business-to-business marketing.

Pricing

Pricing has traditionally been the most critical consideration in government tenders, although technical offers are being more scrutinized, and ministries are trying to tie technology transfer to tender bids.  While Algerian consumers look for quality, the market remains very price sensitive. European exporters benefit from the EU-Algeria Association Agreement, which exempts their products from a significant portion of import duties.  American products are competitive when quality and leading technology are the primary considerations.

Sales Service/Customer Support

Suppliers of capital goods to the Algerian market are required to provide post-sales service and customer support.  Free sales service is usually needed for one or two years, depending on the nature of the transaction. U.S. firms are respected for their high quality of post-sale services. Suppliers may enter into agreements to provide customers with extended sales service, referred to as technical assistance in Algeria.

Foreign suppliers provide customer support via liaison offices or local business distributors in Algeria.  Liaison offices are prohibited from engaging in commercial transactions and cannot import, distribute, or invoice any equipment, spare parts, or services.  These items must be imported by the Algerian end-users either directly or through distributors.

Sales service for consumer goods is a relatively new development in Algeria.  Distributors of foreign products must offer a six- to eighteen-month warranty and stock parts locally to provide customer post-sales service.  For automobile sales, distributors typically offer five years of post-sales service.

Local Professional Services

Firms should retain a lawyer with experience in Algeria to establish an Algerian business entity.  The U.S. Embassy in Algiers maintains a list of local lawyers practicing in Algeria.  However, the listing of an attorney should not be construed as an evaluation or endorsement of their services. 

Algeria has two major categories of legal practitioners:

An avocat is a lawyer who may render legal advice on all matters, draft agreements and contracts, handle commercial disputes and collection cases, and plead and defend civil and criminal cases before the Algerian courts to which they are admitted.

https://www.dlapiper.com/en/us/locations/algiers/

https://www.lpalaw.com/en/office/algiers/

https://cms.law/fr/dza/

https://www.fareslegal.com

An Algerian notaire is a public official appointed by the Ministry of Justice.  A notaire is not the equivalent of a public notary in the United States.  A notaire’s functions include preparing and recording notarial acts (e.g., wills, deeds, acts of incorporation, marriage, contracts), the administration and settlements of estates (excluding litigation in court), and serving as the repository of wills.  They are not lawyers but very specialized members of the legal profession. They may not litigate in courts.

Principal Business Associations

U.S. - Algeria Business Council (USABC) - Founded in 2002 and operating in Washington, D.C., the USABC is a non-profit, non-governmental business association composed of Algerian and U.S. companies. https://www.us-algeria.org

American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) - The American Chamber of Commerce in Algeria (AmCham Algeria) is a non-profit, non-government organization representing American and Algerian businesses and individuals.  The Chamber’s mission is to support American and Algerian companies to expand their market opportunities through advocacy, information, networking, and tailored services.  Its membership consists of U.S. companies established in Algeria and Algerian companies doing business with the United States.  http://amchamalgeria.org

Confederation Algerienne du Patronat Citoyen (CAPC) - The Confederation of business leaders was created in October 2000 and is open to private Algerian companies, foreign companies under Algerian law, and public companies.   https://www.capc.dz/

Chambre Algérienne de Commerce et d’Industrie (CACI) - The Algerian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CACI) is a national institution representing the general interests of the trade industry, services sectors, and public authorities.  Each wilaya (province) has a local institution named the Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie (CCI).  The CACI is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Commerce,  and its members are public and private Algerian companies and foreign companies operating under Algerian law.  https://caci.dz/en-us/Pages/Accueil.aspx