Under French administration, the economy of Algeria developed greatly: the total imports and exports at the time of the French occupation (1830) did not exceed £ 175,000. In 1850 the figures had reached £5,000,000; in 1868, £12,000,000; in 1880, £17,000,000; and in 1890, £20,000,000. From this point progress was slower and the figures varied considerably year by year. In 1905 the total value of the foreign trade was £24,500,000. About five-sixths of the trade is with or via France, into which country several Algerian goods have been admitted duty-free since 1851, and all since 1867. French goods, except sugar, have been admitted into Algeria without payment of duty since 1835. After the increase, in 1892, of the French minimum tariff, which applied to Algeria also, foreign trade greatly diminished.
By far Algeria's most significant exports today (in terms of financial value) are petroleum and natural gas. The reserves are mostly in the Eastern Sahara; the Algerian government curbed the exports in the 1980s to slow depletion; exports increased again somewhat in the 1990s. Other significant exports are sheep, oxen, and horses; animal products, such as wool and skins; wine, cereals (rye, barley, oats), vegetables, fruits (chiefly figs and grapes for the table) and seeds, esparto grass, oils and vegetable extracts (chiefly olive oil), iron ore, zinc, natural phosphates, timber, cork, crin vegetal and tobacco. The import of wool exceeds the export. Sugar, coffee, machinery, metal work of all kinds, clothing and pottery are largely imported. Of these by far the greater part comes from France. The British imports consist chiefly of coal, cotton fabrics and machinery.
Algeria trades most extensively with France and Italy, in terms of both imports and exports, but also trades with the United States and Spain