Tunisia working on issue of duties on Turkish goods

Tunisia is working to resolve the issue of duties on Turkish imports through developing exports from both countries, Tunisia's minister of development, investment and international cooperation said on Thursday.

"We are working to resolve this issue, and we have the commitment from the Turkish head of state and the Turkish government to improve the capacity of the private sector and to export to the Turkish market," Zied Ladhari told Anadolu Agency at the Tunisia-Turkey Business Forum held for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Tunisia this week.

His comments came after Turkey's economy minister said that Ankara is ready to work to narrow Tunisia's trade deficits with Turkey, including importing more products from Tunisia

Boosting a balanced trade volume will continue to be one of the priorities for our bilateral economic agenda, Erdogan told a joint news conference with his Tunisian counterpart Mohamed Beji Caid Essebsi.

This January, Tunisia, which is under pressure from the International Monetary Fund to fix state finances, announced it was raising customs duties on the imports of some products from Turkey and suspending some tax concessions in 2018.

Mentioning a high-level strategic cooperation council meeting which Turkey will host this February, Ladhari stated that he expects this will present an appropriate framework to discuss the issues.

He stressed: "We expect to deal with temporary difficulties on the trade balance between the two countries, but we're working to resolve this issue."

We should focus on the big picture, not only trade, he stated.

He added: "There is great potential between both countries, but there is also a huge political will from both countries to expand economic opportunities for our private sectors."

Both sides hope in the next a few months to create and generate more economic opportunities, he underlined.

He highlighted that Tunisia's human resource, strategic location, and stability provide the best environment for Turkish investors.

Turkey's exports to Tunisia were $720.7 million in the first 10 months of 2017 and $910.6 million in 2016, while the country's imports from Tunisia were $163.5 million in January-October and $214.3 million in 2016, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) data.

Ankara expects a change in Tunisia's decision on duties on imports from Turkey. Turkish officials said that the new duties on Turkish products will not help Tunisia's trade balance.

Erdogan, along with nine Cabinet ministers and over 150 businesspeople, visited Tunisia on Wednesday as part of a three-country African tour, which also included Sudan and Chad.

*Reporting by Bahattin Gonultas; Writing by Gokhan Ergocun

Source: Anadolu Agency