Tunisian-Russian cooperation: Roadmap to improve bilateral trade
26/04/2019 20:18, TUNIS/Tunisia

(TAP) - The roadmap for Tunisian-Russian cooperation, currently being negotiated between the two countries’ governments provides for the improvement of the business climate and bilateral trade, with a view to injecting a new dynamic in them and fostering a win-win partnership, President of the Tunisian-Russian Business Council Abdelaziz Makhloufi said Friday in Tunis.

"The main aim is to study the possibility of reducing or suspending customs duties, to bypass the problem of the fragility of the Russian currency (the Russian rouble), he told TAP Agency, on the sidelines of the Tunisian-Russian Economic Forum, specifying that in their trade, the two countries are obliged to use an intermediate currency, in this case the Euro or the Dollar, which is likely to increase the expenses of economic operators due to losses linked to exchange transactions".

The Tunisian-Russian trade balance is in deficit, due to the high level of Tunisian imports from Russia. These imports, dominated by energy products, amounted in 2018 to 1453 MD, against exports of only 61 MD. Thus, the coverage rate remains very low, not exceeding 4%.

"In this regard, to promote Tunisian exports, we have asked the Russian side to study the possibility of exempting Tunisian olive oil from customs duties, especially since this country imports this product not from its country of origin but from Spain and Italy," he noted.

For this official, the two governments are called upon to identify solutions to facilitate the entry and exit flows of people between the two countries, and to make visa procedures more flexible.

According to Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA) President Samir Majoul, the employers' organisation is convinced that this partnership must be deepened in order to achieve the dimension hoped for by both parties, through a new model in which the private sector would play a leading role in different areas, such as agriculture, fisheries, agribusiness, energy, infrastructure and tourism.

A delegation of Russian officials and businessmen is on a working visit to Tunisia on April 25 and 26, 2019, as part of the work of the Tunisian-Russian Joint Commission, headed by the President of the Russian-Tunisian Business Council, Tatiana Sadofieva.

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