Tunisia Trade Agreements

Although the AMU is primarily a political organization, it allows duty-free trade between members in nominal terms, but some barriers to trade remain. In March 2019, the Tunisian Parliament ratified the country`s official accession to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), a 20-nation common free trade area stretching from Libya to Swaziland. In addition, Tunisia aspires to become a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and is a signatory to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The agreement covers trade in all fish and other seafood [Article 4, paragraph 1, paragraph (c) and Appendix III]. EFTA states grant duty-free access to imports of all Tunisian fisheries products. With regard to EFTA exports to Tunisia, the agreement provides for the reduction of tariffs within the quotas from the time the agreement enters into force. A further reduction in tariffs on these products must be reviewed by the contracting parties, but the total abolition of tariffs on all fish and other seafood is planned for a period of 18 years at the latest after the agreement enters into force. The pan-Euro-Mediterranean cumulative system was introduced in 2005. It brings together the EU, Tunisia and other European and Mediterranean partners to support regional integration through the creation of a common system of rules of origin. Rules of origin are the technical criteria for determining whether a particular product is eligible for duty-free access or other preferential access under a specific trade agreement. The agreement between the economic operators of the contracting parties and the abuse of a dominant position by the contracting parties are incompatible with the agreement if they affect trade between the EFTA states and Tunisia. In this case, a party may provide for the joint committee and, in the absence of an agreement between the parties concerned, take appropriate action (Article 17).

The parties are working to gradually liberalize and open their markets to trade in services, in accordance with the provisions of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). In addition, the EFTA states and Tunisia will begin consultations in the event of additional benefits being granted to a third party (Article 26). The agreement also contains provisions for the elimination of other trade and trade-related barriers, including competition rules, state monopolies and subsidies. In addition, the agreement contains provisions relating to intellectual property protection, investment, services, current payments and capital flows, public procurement, economic cooperation and institutional and procedural issues. The agreement establishes a joint committee to monitor its implementation and provide for a binding arbitration procedure. In 2004, Tunsia signed the Agadir Agreement with Jordan, Egypt and Morocco. This has forced all parties to remove all tariffs on trade between them and to harmonize their legislation on customs standards and procedures. The Agadir agreement came into force in July 2006 and is implemented by the Agadir technical unit in Amman.

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