“The new Tunisia offers new opportunities for Dutch companies”, this was the bottom line of the well-attended Tunisia Trade & Investment Seminar on 21 April 2017 at Evofenedex in Zoetermeer. Apart from several dignitaries of the Dutch and Tunisian embassies, the Tunisian investment authority FIPA and companies, Assarwa - MENA Business Consultants was also present with a presentation about the business opportunities offered by Tunisia. These opportunities are made possible thanks to the renewal of Tunisia on three points.
The first renewal is the political renewal which started with the Tunisian revolution. After a rocky start the different Tunisian civil, political and business parties joined forces to help Tunisia successfully through the democratic transition. Thanks to this Tunisia was able to start with a clean slate with a new constitution and a transparent and accountable government. Tunisia is as a result one of the least corrupt countries in the MENA region according to Transparency International.
The second renewal is the new economic agenda Tunisia 2020. Tunisia has launched several similar programs in the past and this last one focuses on the stimulation of the economy, innovation and employment, development of underdeveloped regions as well as attracting new foreign trade and investment. Tunisia collaborates closely with the IMF on financial and economic issues. The IMF predicts continued GDP growth to 4.5% in 2021, which is much higher than the predicted growth in Europe or other parts of the MENA region.
The third renewal is the new investment law which was approved at the end of 2016. Begin March 2017 the details of this law were provided through several decrees. Now it is clear which sectors profit from extra financial incentives (e.g. bio- and nanotechnologies) and the amounts of the premiums are for investments in underdeveloped areas, new technologies and environmental friendly equipment. Because the new investment law doesn't differentiate anymore between Tunisian and foreign companies, Dutch companies can also profit from the benefits offered by the investment law.
These renewals have been noticed in the rest of Europe. Companies from the most important trading partners of Tunisia (Germany, Italy and France) are in the meantime busy with scouting the new investment and trade possibilities in Tunisia, which explains their heavy presence on Tunisian trade fairs. In short, if Dutch companies don't grab their opportunities in Tunisia, other European companies will do this for them.
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