A customs union between Algeria and France allows regulations applicable in the metropole to apply also in Algeria, making Algeria a de facto adherent of GATT. By a special agreement with the European Union (EU), Algerian industrial products are granted duty-free entry into the EU market and agricultural products get seasonal tariff reductions, while Algeria gives reciprocal treatment to EU imports. Algeria has also concluded preferential customs agreements with Tunisia and Morocco and is a founding member of the Arab Maghreb Union (UMA), a trade union composed of Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia. The UMA intended to create a free trade zone, but this has not yet come to fruition.
Goods from France are admitted at a preferential rate; secondly, goods from other European Union countries; and thirdly, goods from countries that grant Algeria most-favored-nation treatment which are subject to a basic standard tariff. Tariffs on imports ranged from 3-40% in 1998, in addition to a value-added tax (VAT) of 7%, 14%, or 21%. Some imports are also eligible for the Taxe Spécifique Additionnelle, ranging from 20-110% and generally applied to luxury goods. As part of its application to join the World Trade Organization, Algeria lowered its rates to bring them within acceptable WTO levels. The government has further abolished the required import licenses. The only imports subject to restriction are firearms, explosives, narcotics, and pork products. Pharmaceuticals marketed in their country of origin may be freely imported.