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The foreign trade figures of Tunisia 2017 and potential of International Trade Companies (ITC’s)


The National Statistics Institute (NSI) announced in its latest press release the trade figures of Tunisia 2017. The record overall is characterized by a very poor performance of foreign trade accounted for by a trade deficit still rising to more than 15,500 billion dinars. The deficit of the trade balance excluding energy is reduced to 11559,1 MD and the deficit of the energy balance is to 4032,9 MD (25,9% of the total against 2703,8 MD in the year 2016.

One positive information that can be seen from the balance sheet of this year is the export growth of 18.1% compared to 2016 and 24.7% compared to 2015. This confirms the dynamism of Tunisian exporters despite current economic difficulties.

The importance of the Off-Shore trade regime in Tunisia

The Off-Shore Regime in Tunisia represents an important pillar in Tunisian exports. He alone represents more than 70% of the total turnover of exports and has a positive commercial balance of more than 9 billion dinars and a coverage rate of + 159.6%. This regime has grown by 19.8% this year and 36.5% in 2016 compared with 2015. This report confirms the dynamism of this segment.

As against the overall export regime still seems unbalanced despite its growth this year of 13.3% over 2016. It is still down -0.6% from 2015 and has a negative trade balance – 25190.2 billion dinars and a rate coverage of only 25.7%. The sectors most in difficulty in these sectors are: textiles and clothing, leather and footwear, and mines and phosphates.

Potential of International Trading Companies to Enhance Exports in Tunisia

The ITC in Tunisia plays a leading role in the diversification of the structure of Tunisian exports especially in the opening of new markets such as those of Sub-Saharan Africa, the Arab world and the countries of Asia.

In Tunisia, the ITC suffer from several difficulties which hinder the improvement of their productivity and reinforce their contribution to the impulse of exports.

This so-called outsourced form of export is very popular in Japan, Germany and the Netherlands. It has several advantages, including:

1- Justify high expertise for the products and markets they work on

2- They take care of the entire export operation.

3- Able to penetrate the markets at high cost of installation and prospection.

4- Able to organize LCL shipments.

5- Have a very good international competitive intelligence.

Saber Bellaaj

Expert in International Trade

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