Tunisia: Joint U.S.-Tunisia Trade and Investment Council Pledges to Strengthen Bilateral Cooperation in Various Areas

Tunis/Tunisia — The joint final statement of the ninth edition of the Joint Tunisia-US Council for Trade and Investment held by videoconference on May 27 and 28, 2021, was issued Wednesday and reflected the commitment of both countries to strengthen their bilateral cooperation in several areas.

The council was an opportunity for both sides to affirm their commitment to broaden and deepen economic integration between the two countries and explore opportunities for economic cooperation in areas of common interest.

The U.S. delegation participating in this council (representatives of the Departments of Foreign Affairs, Commerce, Agriculture ...) presented the priorities of the trade policy of the new U.S. administration, affirming the interest in developing trade between Tunisia and the United States and the role that such trade will play in improving the living conditions of workers and women especially in disadvantaged areas.

It also expressed its appreciation for the progress made by Tunisia in achieving its national strategy of digital transition, reviewing with the Tunisian side the mechanisms put in place by Tunisia to develop digital trade between the two countries and the possibility of supporting it in the field of electronic payment.

The Tunisian delegation (representatives of the Ministries of Trade and Export Development, Economy, Finance and Investment Support, Agriculture, Communication Technologies, Women, Public Health ... ) stressed the progress made by Tunisia in the implementation of the provisions of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) and the Customs Valuation Agreement (CVA) of the WTO affirming the willingness of Tunisia to continue taking the necessary decisions in this direction.

The two delegations also discussed possible ways for Tunisia to benefit more from the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), which aims to promote economic growth in developing countries.

They also discussed the possibilities of granting the necessary technical assistance to Tunisian companies exporting olive oil and who aspire to comply with the standards imposed by the US market.

They have also studied the prospect of encouraging bilateral trade in organic products and expressed a common interest in reaching an agreement that harmonises the specification standards of wheat in both countries.

The council has also focused on investment opportunities that Tunisia offers to U.S. companies in promising areas such as renewable energy and automotive industry.

The Tunisian side, in this regard, exposed the incentives available to U.S. companies wishing to invest and locate in Tunisia. It highlighted the investment opportunities offered by the health sector, especially in the field of vaccine production expressing the willingness of Tunisia to join the manufacturing cluster of anti-COVID-19 vaccines in the North Africa region.

The two sides also agreed to strengthen the dialogue to establish cooperation programmes in the development of legislation on the protection of intellectual property.

The U.S. delegation has, in this regard, stressed the efforts made by Tunisia to adapt its legislation on intellectual property rights to international conventions, expressing its wish to see Tunisia join the Singapore Treaty on the right of trademarks.

They finally agreed to hold the next edition of the Council as soon as possible, in 2022, in a face-to-face format, if the health situation allows it.

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