“Exportation has become an absolute priority for Tunisia,” Premier Youssef Chahed said. This is an inevitable choice for the country, he Thursday emphasised in an opening speech for the first meeting of the Higher Export Council held at the headquarters of the Export Promotion Centre (CEPEX).
Chahed, who chairs the Higher Export Council, also said exports account for one-third of GDP; the 4.1% growth posted in 2017 fell short of expectations, though. Efforts have to be directed towards increasing exports to contain the trade deficit and restore major financial balances, he highlighted.
The first meeting of the Higher Export Council takes place against a background of the trade deficit reaching a peak of 14. 362 MTD by late November 2017 against 11. 628 MTD in November 2016, according to a sectoral report released last December 28 by the Central Bank of Tunisia. Imports increased at a faster rate than exports with respective rates of 19.2% and 17.3%.
The Prime Minister said the Council will work out in its first meeting a national strategy of exportation and will monitor the implementation of decisions in its upcoming meetings held every six months.
The first meeting is held with attendance of 13 member ministers and other members, including the Governor of the Central Bank, the SG of the Tunisian General Labour union, the President of the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (French: UTICA) and the President of the Tunisian Union of Agriculture and Fisheries (French: UTAP).
Topping the agenda is a package of measures designed to bolster exports, including 20 in relation to a favourable climate for exports, the elimination of obstacles facing exporters and the putting in place of the relevant legislative and administrative reform framework.
The Higher Export Council eyes an enhanced export capacity and seeks to push for the shared responsibility of concerned ministries and government structures and monitor plans and decisions announced to this end.