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Youssef Chahed starts three-day official visit in Paris

Published the:  13/02/2019

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(TAP special correspondent Sofien Manai) – Prime Minister Youssef Chahed starts on Wednesday a three-day official visit to France, at the invitation of his French counterpart Édouard Philippe.

It is his second visit to France since taking office in August 2016. His first visit dates back to November 2016.

According to the opinion of several observers, this visit is important in many ways as it has political, economic and social dimensions.

The PM is accompanied by an important delegation of MPs and the Ministers of Interior Affairs, of Industry and Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises, of Higher education, of Transport, of Tourism and of Foreign Affairs.

During this visit, Chahed will be received at the Elysée by French President Emmanuel Macron and in the Matignon by his opposite number Édouard Philippe.

According to a briefing provided to journalists, Chahed will also meet with Speaker of the French National Assembly Richard Ferrand, President of the Senate Gérard Larcher, President of the Constitutional Council Laurent Fabius and Secretary General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Angel Gurria.

Besides, the premier will co-chair with Edouard Philippe a French-Tunisian Council of Ministers before opening the second French-Tunisian Economic Forum in which Tunisia will be represented notably by a delegation of the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA).

According to a source at the Prime Ministry, Chahed’s visit in Paris is an occasion to assess the Tunisian-French relations eight years after the January 14 Revolution.

Diplomatic and economic issues:

Diplomatic issues such as Tunisia’s bid for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council (2021-2022) and the organisation by Tunisia of the Arab Summit in March 31, 2019, and the Francophonie Summit in 2020, which coincides with the 50th anniversary of the International Organisation of la Francophonie (IOF), will be at heart of these meetings.

Economic and financial files are also on the agenda, as six co-operation agreements will be inked between Tunisia and France on the funding of projects in the digital, transport, higher education and health fields, France’s Ambassador in Tunis Olivier Poivre D’arvor specified to TAP.

After the start of the Revolution in 2011, The exchange of high-level visits has increased, giving a boost to bilateral co-operation, thanks notably to the inking of several agreements and memoranda of understanding, he pointed out.

France, 1st country generator of foreign investments in Tunisia

The number of French or partly French enterprises operating in Tunisia stands at 1,349 including 1,040 totally exporting ones.

This number represents 40% of foreign enterprises based in Tunisia with an investment volume of over 3 billion Tunisian dinars. French enterprises generate over 130,000 jobs.

The French investments are concentrated in industry and services sectors with 711 enterprises.

As for commercial exchanges, France is still Tunisia’s first customer with 29% of exports and first supplier with almost 16.3% of imports.

Tunisia accounts for 0.9% and 0.8 of French exports and imports, respectively, and is France’s 23rd customer and 24th supplier.

France is also Tunisia’s top European customer in terms of tourism since 2001. A key sector for Tunisia which has already started to recover the levels recorded before the Revolution.

Some 781.6 French tourists visited Tunisia in 2018, up 37% compared to 2017