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Tunisia

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Muslimtrade Network members
about Tunisia.

T  U  N  I  S  I  A 


  1. GENERAL PRESENTATION : * 
1.1. General characteristics : *
1.2. General information : *
1.3. The legal framework of trade relationships : *

2. TRADE STRUCTURE : *  
2.1. Main exported products : *
2.2. Main imported products : *
2.3. Trading partners : *

3. FOREIGN TRADE CONTROL : *  
3.1. Imports regulations : *
3.2. Exports regulations : *
3.3. Other formalities and documents : *

4. FINANCIAL REGULATIONS OF FOREIGN TRADE OPERATIONS: *  
4.1. Banking system : *
4.2. Exchange system : *
4.3. Methods and means for international settlement : *

5. CUSTOMS TAXATION : *  
5.1. Applicable duties and taxes : *
5.2. Special provisions : *

6. FOREIGN TRADE LOGISTIC : *  
6.1. International Transports : *
6.2. Telecommunications : *
6.3. Distribution System : *

7. USEFUL ADDRESSES : *

  

GENERAL PRESENTATION : 

1-1 General characteristics : 

Official name  Republic of Tunisia
Area  164,000 Km²
Population  8.9 million in 1995
Populated area  54.3 inhabitants per Km²
Capital  Tunis
Climate  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.
Main holidays  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 : 

Language  Arabic and French ; English and Italian are sometimes used as Business languages.
Currency  Tunisian Dinar (TND)
Local time  GMT + 1 H.
Working hours  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.

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;  
Dates ;  
Sea products. 

2-2 Main imported products : 
Fabrics and textile articles ;  
Pharmaceutical products ;  
Sugar ;  
Vegetable oils;  
Wheat ;  
Chemicals ;  
Industrial raw materials ;  
Capital goods. 

2-3. Trading partners :

Main customers

Main suppliers 

France

France

Italy 

Italy 

Germany 

Germany 

Belgium

Belgium 

Spain 

Netherlands

Japan 

Libya 

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.

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 and environment. 

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 agent ; 

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.

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.

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 taxes: 

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 VAT.

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 and taxes.

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.

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 Export operations.

7. USEFUL ADDRESSES : 

Organizations & Public Establishments

ADDRESS

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



 
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