Tunisia Seeks More Economic Integration With Europe

Abdullatif Hamam, Tunisian state secretary of commerce, took part in the forum organized by the Arab Belgian Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, to promote investment opportunities of Tunisia.

On the symposium’s sidelines, the minister told Asharq Al-Awsat that such an event has significant value as it is part of continuous efforts to stay tuned with investors and companies interested in the economy in Tunisia and its African and Arab surrounding.

Hamam noted that this meeting was a chance to emphasize Tunisia’s efforts in regaining its Euro-Mediterranean position after five years of democratic building.

The minister also pointed to the importance of recruiting all the energies, expertise and capacities of Tunisian groups from the private and public sectors, even those of foreign sectors, to improve economic growth in the country.

He also pointed to the new investment bill endorsed in his country and considered that this forum was a platform to promote it along with investment opportunities in Tunisia.

Commenting on the main subjects he discussed on the sidelines of the forum with the Belgian officials, the minister said that in 1998, Tunisia was the first country in the southern Mediterranean to ink an agreement of partnership and free trade with the European Union. The country today seeks to expand this agreement to cover the sector of services and agriculture.

Hamam added that this means that Tunisia has faith in its capabilities and in its future.

“It is determined to pursue Euro-Mediterranean cooperation and the country will receive 500 million euros in support of its economy,” he revealed.

Moreover, the trade minister said that Tunisia hopes to restore its reputation as an economically open country, which seeks to contribute through its geographic location in the economic growth of the Middle East.

According to the minister, foreign trade is a source of concern for the Tunisian government, amid the surge of foreign exchanges deficit.

He added that this problem can be settled by rationing imports, growing exports, attracting new investments to Tunisia and reducing the deficit of the payment balance.

Hamam revealed that Tunisia has lost its position among the top five countries that supply the clothing suppliers for the Europe market, saying it is important for Tunisia to work hard with its partners to regain this position.

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