‘Turkish trade with Tunisia must be balanced’

Tunisia makes $200 million of the $1.1 billion trade between Turkey and Tunisia, while Turkey makes $900 million, but this imbalance can be fixed by raising the total, Turkey's Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said late Wednesday.

Turkey and Tunisia are both assertive Mediterranean countries, he told the the Tunisia-Turkey Business Forum held for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Tunisia this week.

On the imbalance in trade between the two countries, he stressed that a reasonable solution is raising both countries' exports.

Turkey will find a way to increase imports from Tunisia, he expressed, adding:

"If necessary, we will consider importing olive oil from Tunisia to boost Tunisia's exports."

Zeybekci underlined that Tunisia's decision to hike duties on imports from Turkey will not reduce its current deficit but only will increase imports from other countries

Tunisia had announced that next year customs duties for some products imported from Turkey will rise and some concessions will be suspended.

Both countries need to be patient to benefit from a free trade agreement signed in 2005, he highlighted.

Zeybekci said that 82 percent of all products consumed in the Islamic world are produced by non-Muslim countries.

"Muslim countries can do better in this area," he added.

He stated that they will find a solution to fix the customs problem at the high-level strategic cooperation council meeting set for February.

Zied Ladhari, Tunisia's minister of development, investment and international cooperation, said: "We want Turkish and Tunisian businesspeople to establish real partnerships. The trade balance between the two countries must be ensured."

We will support all investments from Turkey, Ladhari stated.

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 Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) data.

Source: Anadolu Agency