"Building on Brexit opportunities to stimulate partnership dynamic between Tunisia and UK" (Hichem Ben Ahmed) | Tunisia News Gazette

“Building on Brexit opportunities to stimulate partnership dynamic between Tunisia and UK” (Hichem Ben Ahmed)

The potential of economic exchanges and trade between Tunisia and the United Kingdom is under-exploited, hence the need to seize the opportunity offered by the Brexit to boost the partnership dynamic, Secretary of State for Foreign Trade Hichem ben Ahmed said at a workshop on the new prospects and opportunities for Tunisian-British partnership, organised on Wednesday in Tunis by the Tunisian-British Chamber of Commerce and the Export Promotion Centre (CEPEX).

He recalled that The United Kingdom is Tunisia’s 7th customer and 15th supplier, with an exchange volume worth 1.4 billion dinars in 2017 and a positive trade balance of 152.37 million dinars for Tunisia.”

Ben Ahmed pointed out that a task force gathering representatives of the British embassy to Tunisia, CEPEX and the Tunisian-British Chamber of Commerce, was created to identify the paths likely to help establish a more fruitful partnership framework for the Post-Brexit period.”

Taking the floor, UK Ambsassor to Tunisia Louise De Sousa underlined the importance to negotiate a new economic agreement between the two countries to replace the association agreement between Tunisia and the European Union.

She considered that the Tunisian-British exchanges are still poor compared with the existing potential and the exchanges between the United Kingdom and other comparable markets, as the Moroccan market which exports 60% of sardines, 25% of tomatoes and 11% of olive oil marketed in the UK. There is no reason keeping Tunisia from doing the same.

She also said that a technical assistance programme to exporters will be set up by the embassy, in collaboration with the CEPEX and a new visit of the British Prime Minister’s special envoy for trade with a delegation of British businessmen will be paid shortly.

A study commissioned by the UK embassy and conducted by the Coffey cabinet between August and November 2017 on the development of trade and investments between Tunisia and the UK was also presented, revealing that Tunisia’s share in UK’s imports is only 0.03% and only 1.6% of Tunisian imports are from this market.

According to this study, this under-performance is due to a lack of awareness about the offered opportunities on both sides.

To remedy this failure, the study recommended ensuring the transition of the association agreement to ensure continuity and increase the existing trade flows, reinforce the Tunisian exporters’ capacities for a better understanding and integration of the British market, conduct sectoral studies in key and high-potential sectors, organise Tunisian-British forums and develop a better monitoring at the level of opportunities by sharing sectoral monitoring reports

A Memorandum of Understanding was also inked between the CEPEX and the Tunisian-British Chamber of Commerce to support export’s promotion.

Source: TAP News Agency

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