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Country Brief

Tunisia is an upper middle-income located in North Africa. Despite the current political situation and challenges of unemployment, especially among young graduates, and regional disparities, Tunisia’s economic and social outlook for the next years remains promising with positive GDP and domestic private investment growth.

Tunisia’s economy is focused on boosting exports, foreign investment and tourism, all of which have become central to the country’s economy. Key exports now include textiles and apparel, food products, and manufactured products. Tunisia’s main natural resource, phosphate remains vital to its economy.

Tunisia reformed its trade regime through unilateral tariff liberalization, reform of import procedures, and removal of many quantitative import restrictions. Also, in line with its obligations under the Association Agreement with the EU, which accounts for close to two thirds of total trade, Tunisia has dismantled all tariffs on imports of industrial goods from the EU (agricultural products are considered a special case) and from the Arab countries under the Greater Arab Free Trade Agreement. Despite these reforms, Tunisia’s trade regime remains more restrictive than that of its neighbors in the Middle East and North Africa as well as other lower middle income countries, especially in the agricultural sector.

Recent government strategy consists of maintaining development goals and continues to strengthen sectors with high value added potential. The modernization of Tunisia's agriculture and the development of its energy policy should help the country make better use of its natural resources.

Tunisia has been a member of the WTO since 1995 and enjoys strong international relations with Europe, the wider Arab region and Sub Saharan Africa. Tunisia is also a member of the league of Arab States, the Maghreb Arab Union and the African Union.

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Export potential

Notes: Top 20 products listed in decreasing order of their export potential to the world. Development indicators are relative to the country’s current situation, green indicating performance above its trade-weighted median and red otherwise. A blank cell indicates that data are not available. A blank cell in export potential means that the product was not consistently demanded over five years by any country in the respective region. Exports (US$ thousand) correspond to average exports to the world over the period 2009-2013.