• GDP: $70.8 billion.
exports: Textiles, phosphates, mechanical goods, chemicals,
hydrocarbons and agricultural products.
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
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.
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
Office hours: Monday-Friday
0830-1300 hrs and 1500-1745 hrs (in the winter) and Monday-Saturday
0830-1300 hrs (in the summer).
Promotion de l'Industrie (API)
63 rue de Syrie
Telephone number: (71) 792 144.
Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie
1 rue des Entrepreneurs
Telephone number: (71) 359 300.