2013 CCG FINAL.pdf

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negotiations on an Open Skies Agreement, which would eventually lead to direct
flights. Tunisia and the United States have signed a Bilateral Investment Treaty
and a Non-Double Taxation Treaty.
For many years the United States was Tunisia’s fourth leading goods supplier
(after France, Italy and Germany) but dropped to 8th place in 2012. U.S.
Department of Commerce trade statistics for 2012 show Tunisian imports from
United States at $593.9 million, about a 4%increase compared to 2010
($571.181 million), and Tunisian exports to the United States at $737.9 million, a
(82% increase compared to the same period in 2010, ($405.464 million). This
significant hike is primarily due to oil exported to the U.S. for refinery.
For years, most U.S. investment in Tunisia was primarily in the hydrocarbons
sector, but U.S. companies now successfully invest in offshore manufacturing
industries, textile production and electrical/mechanical equipment manufacturing.
There are more than 80 U.S. companies resident in Tunisia. Offshore
companies can be established under an attractive regime that offers significant
tax incentives to export-oriented investors. In the tourism industry, only three of
Tunisia’s 800+ hotels are affiliated with U.S. groups. To date, total U.S.
investment in Tunisia (energy included) is estimated at about $1.3 billion and has
contributed to the creation of more than 18,800 jobs.

Market Challenges

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There are two investment regimes in Tunisia: offshore and onshore. Offshore
investments, in general, are for export-only goods and services and benefit from
a series of tax breaks and other incentives. Onshore are those destined for the
Tunisian market and generally have requirements to partner with a local Tunisian
firm, with some exceptions (please see Chapter 6: Investment Climate
Doing business in Tunisia can be challenging for U.S. companies, which may
perceive the Tunisian bureaucracy as cumbersome and slow, and may find that
the regulatory environment lacks coherence and consistency. The decisionmaking process can be opaque and at odds with the government’s official probusiness stance, which emphasizes transparency. However, with adequate
planning and longer lead times, favorable results can be obtained.
Imports from the EU enjoy a considerable price advantage over other countries'
products, as many EU products are now totally exempt from import duties. U.S.
products generally enjoy widespread acceptance among consumers, although
their perceived edge in quality and technology can be offset by the additional
costs associated with their distribution by European intermediaries and the recent
depreciation of the Tunisian Dinar against the Euro.
The EU and many European countries offer excellent financing terms for trade.
Tunisian companies are familiar with these opportunities but are generally
unfamiliar with financing opportunities available when purchasing U.S. goods.
The U.S. Embassy in Tunis works closely with the Export-Import Bank (EX-IM),