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Last updated : Nov 2009
Tunisia Business
Tunisia Business Overview - TravelPuppy.com

GDP: $70.8 billion.

Main exports: Textiles, phosphates, mechanical goods, chemicals, hydrocarbons and agricultural products.

Main imports: Chemicals, textiles and foodstuff.

Main trade partners: France, Spain, Italy and Germany.

Tunisia lacks the large natural resources of its North African neighbours, but careful and successful economic management has brought the country some prosperity. The annual Gross Domestic Product growth is just over 5% and current inflation is 4.1 %. Unemployment at 13.8% is a cause for concern.

Agriculture and mining are the foundations of the economy in Tunisia. The main agricultural products include barley, wine, wheat, fruit and olive oil but other foodstuffs have to be imported into the country. Large amounts of phosphate ores are mined along with iron, lead, aluminium fluoride and zinc. Tunisia is also a modest oil exporter, although this industry is in decline and natural gas reserves are likely to last longer. A small manufacturing sector is engaged in processing organic chemicals derived from petroleum and purification of phosphate ore. Other industries produce chemicals, textiles, machinery, construction materials, paper and wood.

The service section is dominated by Tourism, though the industry is sensitive both to the regional political climate and, recently, international terrorism which in particular has led to a recent downturn. According to the most recent figures, over 5 million people visited Tunisia during 2002, contributing nearly US$2 billion to the Tunisian economy.

Government economic policy during the last ten years has followed the path of deregulation, including abolition of trade controls, privatisation and making the Tunisian Dinar fully convertible. Tunisia's most significant trade links are with the European Union whose members (mainly Germany and France) account for 3-quarters of all the country's trade. Economic relations were strengthened in 1995 by the signing of a free trade agreement with the European Union, which is being introduced over a 12-year period ending during 2010.

Although a substantial diplomatic coup for the Tunisian Government, the agreement was part of a wider movement of growing trade links between the southern part of the European Union and the rest of the Mediterranean basin. The country is a member of the Union of the Arab Maghreb, the main North African political and economic bloc, and of assorted pan-Arab economic organisations.

Business Etiquette

Arabic and French are the most widely used languages in the business circles and a knowledge of either is very useful. Interpreter services are also available. Appointments for business are generally required.

Office hours: Monday-Friday 0830-1300 hrs and 1500-1745 hrs (in the winter) and Monday-Saturday 0830-1300 hrs (in the summer).

Commercial Information

Agence de Promotion de l'Industrie (API)
63 rue de Syrie
1002 Tunis

Telephone number: (71) 792 144.
Website: www.tunisieindustrie.nat.tn

Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie de Tunis
1 rue des Entrepreneurs
1000 Tunis

Telephone number: (71) 359 300.
E-mail: ccitunis@planet.tn