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Tunisia to diversify trading partners and boost exports

Tunisia, the fifth-largest apparel supplier to Europe and the number two supplier for the French market, according to Tunisia's Foreign Investment Promotion Agency with textile and apparel exports totaled TD6.5bn (€2.9bn) in 2014 is now looking for talks on a new deal with the EU, its biggest trading partner, to pave the way for improved access to European markets. Opportunities to boost trade with Pakistan are also showing signs of promise as impact of global economic situation weighing on trading volumes.

Tunisia launched negotiations with the EU in last October with a view to securing a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) that has been in consideration since 2011.

The country has benefitted from a raft of association agreements since the late 1990s that have given the country tariff-free access to several EU markets, together with financial and technical assistance. However, the DCFTA is expected to offer far greater opportunities to improve trade flows by reducing tariffs on key Tunisian exports, such as agricultural products.

According to the European Commission, the EU is Tunisia's largest trading partner by far, accounting for 80 per cent of the country's imports and exports. Bilateral trade was valued at approximately €20bn in 2014.