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Higher Export Council plans to increase exports by 20% per year between 2018 and 2020

Published the:  04/01/2018

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(TAP) – Tunisia’s exports will have to exceed 50 billion dinars by the year 2020, this is the main goal set by the Higher Export Council which held Thursday its first meeting to discuss the national plan to boost exports.

The government is committed to boosting the key drivers of growth, namely investment, export and consumption, Prime Minister Youssef Chahed said in a statement at the end of the meeting.

He added that 20 measures have been taken in this "consultative and participative" framework in order to guarantee an annual growth of more than 20% of exports during the period 2018-2020 while stepping up action according to scientific methods.

He said the activation of the Higher Export Council is "a positive step" and that it will meet again in June 2018 to follow up on the decisions taken.

As for the measures taken, they concern according to Minister of Trade Omar El Behi, increasing the budget of the export promotion fund to 40 million dinars (MD), in 2018, 80 MD in 2019 and 100 MD in 2020 while disbursing an immediate sum of 15 MD to process the files blocked at the level of this fund.

The measures decided also relate to granting preferential advantages for export to African markets, through a premium covering 70% of the costs of prospecting external markets (transport and accommodation costs), 60% of air transport costs and 50% of shipping costs.

Companies will also be granted a premium for the first export operation and the State will bear, through the Tunisian Foreign Trade Insurance Company "COTUNACE", 50% of the tranches of insurance for exports to the African market.

El Behi explained that these measures are adopted in order to allow Tunisian operators to take advantage of the significant potential offered by the African market, especially as Tunisia is preparing to become from 2018, member of the Economic Community of States of West Africa (ECOWAS) and conclude an agreement with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), which has more than 700 million consumers.

He added that the desired goal is to double Tunisia’s exports to the African market to reach 6 billion dinars by 2020 against 3 billion dinars currently.

In order to increase exports from 35 to 50 billion dinars in 2020, specific programmes will be created under programme contracts with the professional structures of the exporting sectors (textiles and clothing, footwear, agri-food, pharmaceutical, mechanical and electronic industries as well as in new technologies) with the setting of annual targets for export, according to the minister.

Regarding the facilitation of procedures and the adoption of accompanying measures, all export and import procedures will be digitized in addition to the integration of all stakeholders in the export operation and the preparation of a guide to export procedures and customs and port procedures recognised and approved by the administration.

A 7 day work week will be adopted by all the structures and companies concerned by export.

As regards the promotion of the Tunisian product and the image of the country abroad, the measures include the inclusion of the budgets dedicated to the promotion and advertising of all the structures in charge of export, such as the CEPEX, the Tourism Office, FIPA and APIA in a single programme of communication and promotion of "Made in Tunisia".

As a result of these measures, the exporter will not be required to pay an additional tax in case the container for export will remain more than 48 at the port for perishable products or 72 for non-perishable products.

As for the development of logistics and maritime transport, the measures concern the launching of the construction works of the deep-water port in Enfidha and the number 8 and 9 docks at the port of Rades and the modernisation of the Tunis-Carthage airport's cargo area.

It also involves expanding the network of Tunisian commercial representations in sub-Saharan Africa (in Kenya and Nigeria), the creation of a commercial representation in Poland, the re-opening of the Libya office and the creation of a shipping line to West Africa (Senegal, Ivory Coast, and Benin).