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Policies to strengthen trade competitiveness in Tunisia

By Peter Walkenhorst


The Euro-Med Agreement between Tunisia and the European Union resulted in free bilateral trade for industrial products from January 1st, 2008. The stepwise dismantling of industrial tariff barriers vis-à-vis Tunisia’s main trading partner without encountering major disruptions in the domestic market is a significant achievement. But now a new challenge looms. In order to achieve the economic growth rates of 6.1 percent that the country is aspiring to in its 11th Development Plan, policy makers and private sector operators will have to shift from a stance that is focused on defending domestic interests against import competition to an offensive strategy that enables Tunisian exporters to take part and benefit from dynamically evolving global markets. Indeed, strengthening Tunisia’s export performance is a major challenge and requires attention to the incentives that actual and potential exporters face, the efficiency of service providers in the economy, and the effectiveness of trade support institutions that help private sector firms to discover and exploit international market opportunities.Tariffs, services trade, incentives, regional integration, trade support institutions

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