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Muslimtrade Network members
T U N I S I A
1 GENERAL PRESENTATION :
1-1 General characteristics :
||Republic of Tunisia
||8.9 million in 1995
||54.3 inhabitants per Km²
||On the whole there are three types of climates in Tunisia. The South rainfalls are
rare and temperatures are characterized by strong variations ; in the coastal plains, the climate is Mediterranean
with average temperatures of 15°C in winter and 32°C in Summer ; Western mountainous areas are characterized
by a relatively dry climate. All over the Tunisian territory, rainfalls are irregular and quantities vary from
a year to another.
||January 1st, March 20th and 21st, April 9th,
May 1st, July 25th, August 13th, November 7th, Aid Al Fitr, Aid Al
Adha and Aid Al Mouloud
1-2 General information :
||Arabic and French ; English and Italian are sometimes used as Business languages.
||Tunisian Dinar (TND)
||GMT + 1 H.
||Administration : 8 H 30 to 13 H 00 and 15 H 00 to 17 H 45. Friday and
Saturday : from 8.30 to 13 H.
Banks : From Monday to Friday from 8 H 00 to 17 H.
1-3 The legal framework of trade relationships
Tunisia is member of the following organizations :
|The World Trade Organization (W.T.O) ;
|The United Nations Organization (UN) and its main specialized institutions (World Bank,
IMF, etc…) ;
|The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) ;
|The Arab Maghreb Union (A.M.U) ;
|The Arab States League ;
|The Group of 77 ;
Tunisia has recently signed a new association agreement with its main trading partner
: the European Union. This new agreement provides for the setting up of free trade area between both parties ;
Tunisia has also concluded commercial agreements and tariff conventions with some
African, Asian, American and European countries ;
Tunisia also benefits from the quasi-totality of preferential systems accorded by
signatory countries to the Generalized System of Preferences.
2 TRADE STRUCTURE :
2-1 Main exported products :
|Crude and refined petroleum ;
|Olive oil ;
|Ready made garments and hosiery ;
|Phosphoric acid and triplet superphosphates ;
|Shoes and their ankles;
2-2 Main imported products :
|Fabrics and textile articles ;
|Pharmaceutical products ;
|Industrial raw materials ;
2-3. Trading partners :
The European Union is the main trading partner of Tunisia both at import and Export
levels. Tunisia is also keeping trade relationships with some Islamic Countries such as Algeria, Turkey and Morocco.
3 FOREIGN TRADE CONTROL :
The law relating to foreign trade enacted on March 7th, 1994 modified
the provisions applicable to import and Export operations. This new law consecrates the principle of free trade
: goods imports and exports are free except for those subjected to restrictions or threatening security, health
The equalization and financial settlement of import or Export operations are often
carried out under the cover of a foreign trade title or a commercial invoice. This title may be either import or
Export license or import certificate.
3-1 Imports regulations :
As concerns products which benefit from liberalized import regime, importers must
produce a domiciled import certificate coupled with a trade invoice. The validity duration of this certificate
is fixed at six months starting from the domiciliation date ;
Products excluded from liberalized import regime benefit from a total or partial
exemption from imports customs duties, within the framework of tariff agreements and conventions, imports are subjected
to a domiciled imports license. Its validity duration is of 12 months starting from the date of the decision taken
on this matter ;
Products imported under suspensive customs regimes, are subjected either to an import
certificate, when they are duty-free or to a license in the opposite case.
As concerns imports without payment or those carried out within the framework, they
are submitted to domiciled import license.
3-2 Exports regulations :
Firm sale forwarding of paid Export duty-free goods do not require any foreign trade
title, they may be carried out simply by producing 5 copies of the final invoice also domiciled with an authorized
As concerns products excluded from duty-free exports regime, their forwarding is
subjected to an Export license delivered by the Ministry of Foreign Trade which must be obligatorily domiciled.
Such a license is valid for 6 months starting from the date of the Ministry's decision ;
Unpaid exports and goods re-exports with the framework of suspensive regimes are
not subjected to foreign trade formalities.
3-3 Other formalities and documents :
Some imported and exported goods are also subjected to a technical control whose
modalities vary according to the concerned list :
List A products are submitted to a systematic control service ;
List B products are submitted to a certification regime, in other words for their
import or Export, a conformity certificate must be produced to customs services ;
Finally list C products are submitted to a conformity control with the conditions
defined by the corresponding specifications.
4 FINANCIAL REGULATIONS OF FOREIGN TRADE OPERATIONS:
4-1 Banking system :
The Tunisian banking system is at present composed of four institutions categories
|* Central Bank ;
|* Deposit Banks (13) ;
|* Development Banks (8) ;
|* Non-resident banks (9).
Commercial banks play an important role in foreign trade operations : domiciliation,
financial payment etc.
4-2 Exchange system :
The new provisions in the field of enforced trade regulations, allow notably :
* Current convertibility, in other words, free transfers relating to current trade
transactions with foreign partners ;
* And free currency exchange between banks in order to allow them to make them available
to their customers.
The financial payment of domiciled foreign trade operations can be settled using
another currency than the one provided for in the contract ; but such a change must be authorized when it involves
a decrease in Export prices or when concerned products are subjected to an important license.
4-3 Methods and means for international settlement
The financial payment of import and Export operations is carried out through the
commercial banks in which foreign trade titles of financial invoices are usually domiciled.
Tunisian foreign trade operators resort to most of the payment methods used at international
level : international transfer, documentary remittance, documentary credit etc. But, the most used means of payment
in Tunisia is irrevocable and confirmed documentary credit.
5 CUSTOMS TAXATION :
After Tunisia's adhesion to the GATT, customs taxation was marked by a considerable
change consisting in a general and progressive decrease in tariff protection.
5-1 Applicable duties and taxes :
Except in the event of a derogation imported goods are subjected to the following
Imports customs duties :
* The lowest customs duty is 10% notably applied to the imports of products manufactured
outside the Tunisian territory ;
* The highest rate is 43% of the CIF value ;
* The average rate is 34% of the CIF value.
Countervailing duty :
Within the framework of national production, Tunisia applies a provisional countervailing
duty whose rate may be 10, 20 or 30.
Value-added tax :
Imported goods are also subjected to VAT whose rate varies according to the nature
of the product : 6.17 and 29%. Some goods such as capital goods not locally manufactured are exempted from the
Other impositions :
* Some luxury products are also subjected to a consumption duty ;
* Goods declarations are submitted to the payment of 2% of the amount of duties
5-2 Special provisions :
Tunisia has recently signed an association agreement with the European Union which
provides for the setting up of a Free Trade Area in which almost all the industrial products exchanged between
both parties will benefit from a total exemption from customs duties.
Likewise, tariff conventions between Tunisia and some Islamic countries provides
for total or partial import duties and taxes ;
Tunisia has also provided for a progressive reduction of customs duties and notably
for a decrease in the highest custom duty by 25% to be implemented soon.
6 FOREIGN TRADE LOGISTIC :
6-1 International Transports :
Tunisia has endowed itself with several goods and travel networks.
Maritime transport holds the first position in goods international shipping : more
than 95% of foreign trade by sea. Tunisia is provided with 9 ports : Tunis, la Goulette, Bizerte, Rades, Sousse,
Sfax, Skhira, Gabes and Zarzis.
Good maritime transport is to a large extent ensured by Tunisian Shipping Company
(Compagnie Tunisienne de Navigation "CTN") ; but several other companies also operate in this field.
Goods land transport is mainly ensured :
* On the one hand by railway connecting the north to the south ;
* And on the other hand for goods transport by la Société Nationale
de Transport des Marchandises (National Goods Transport Copany).
In the field of air transports, Tunisia is endowed with 6 airports of international
standard. Tunis Air ensures direct links with the main African, European and Middle-East countries, but it shares
the market with several other air companies.
6-2 Telecommunications :
Tunisia has recently acquired a modern telecommunications network :
* Automatic telephone in the major part of the country ;
* Introduction of mobile and cellular telephone ;
* Connections to the international telecommunications network by satellites (Intelsat
and Arabsat, etc).
6-3 Distribution System :
Like for other Maghreb countries, the Tunisian distribution system notably, includes
small traditional shops as well as large stores of European style which have particularly been developed in the
big cities : Magasin, Monoprix, Supermarché de passage etc. Tunisian Trade Board (Office du Commerce de
la Tunisie) plays an important role both at the levels of distribution channels standardization and import and
7. USEFUL ADDRESSES :
Organizations & Public Establishments
PHONE / FAX
|Centre de Promotion des Exportations de Tunisie (CEPEX)
||28, Rue Ghandi - 1001 - Tunis RP / TUNISIA
||Tel. 350344- 350043
Fax : 353683
|Compagnie Tunisienne de Navigation
||5, avenue Dag Hammar-skjoeld / 1001 Tunis / TUNISIA
||Tel : 341777 - 242999
|Direction Générale des Douanes
||5, rue des Ichbilia, 1001 Tunis / TUNISIA
||Tel : 651256
|Institut National de la Normalisation et de la Propriété Industrielle
||10,bis, rue Ibn El Jazzar, 1001 Tunis / TUNISIA
|Office des Ports Nationaux de Tunisie
||2060 La Goulette - TUNISIA
||Tel. : 730300
|Office du Commerce de la Tunisie
||63, rue de Syrie, 1002 Tunisia / TUNISIA
||Tel : 280502
|Banque Centrale de la Tunisie
||rue Hédi Nouria, 1001 Tunisia
||Tel : 340588