Fact box: Review of Tunisia-U.S.A. bilateral relations (FM) | Tunisia News Gazette

Fact box: Review of Tunisia-U.S.A. bilateral relations (FM)

Relations binding Tunisia and the United States of America have lived through a new dynamic since the outbreak of the Tunisian revolution in 2011. A new approach to bilateral co-operation has therefore been established between the two countries based on consultation and a strategic partnership, stresses the Foreign Ministry in a document summarising the Tunisian-American relations at the political, security and economic levels.

The visit of President Beji Caid Essebsi to Washington in May 2015, imparted a “privileged character” to Tunisian-American relations in a way that boosted bilateral relations in all fields. The visit was followed by a second one by the Head of State to New York on September 21, 2016, at the invitation of former U.S. President Barack Obama to the U.S0-Africa Business Forum.

Besides, Caid Essebsi met with new U.S. President Donald Trump twice, on the occasion of the Arab-Islamic-American summit in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia and the G7 summit in May 2017 in Taormina, Italy.

At the security and military levels, Tunisia-U.S.A. co-operation experienced a “qualitative leap,” added the document notably after granting Tunisia the status of “major non-NATO ally” in July 2015 And its adherence in September 2015 to the international coalition against “Daesh.”

The United States and Tunisia carried out joint military exercises as part of the Tunisian-American military co-operation. Bilateral co-operation in this field revolves around the development of the operational capabilities of the Tunisian armed and security forces, the acquisition of modern equipment and the exchange of intelligence. It also focuses on issues related to combating extremism and terrorism, border security and training of special forces, the same document pointed out.

At the economic and financial levels, Tunisia and U.S.A. signed a loan guarantee agreement on June 3, 2016, the third of its kind that helped Tunisia borrow on international markets a $ 500 million low interest loan.

Two loan guarantees of the same value had been granted to Tunisia by the United States in 2012 and 2014.

In December 2016, Tunisia was chosen by the Millennium Challenge Corporation Foundation as a member of its Integrated Programme to enable Tunisia to obtain financing estimated at $ 350 million in the form of grants for combating poverty and developing disadvantaged regions.

At the level of trade, Tunisian exports to the U.S. market in 2016 amounted to about 523 million dinars against imports worth 1.465 MD.

In terms of direct investment in Tunisia, the United States invested more than 300 MD in 2016, an increase of 8.6 MD compared to 2015, with a rise in the number of U.S. enterprises in Tunisia ( 82), generating some 12,986 jobs.

It should be recalled that the new budget of the Trump administration for the 2018 financial year provides for a significant reduction in military and economic assistance to Tunisia. The Trump administration proposes to grant Tunisia in 2018, only $ 54.6 million (133.5 MD), a decrease of $ 85.8 million (209.8 MD) compared with 2017.

Source: TAP News Agency

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