Jobs and stability: EU-Tunisia industry cooperation forges ahead

European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani travels to Tunisia tomorrow for a two-day visit aimed at speeding up the preparations leading to negotiations on EU market access agreements with Southern Mediterranean countries. During his visit, Vice President Tajani will meet Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali and Minister for Industry and Commerce Mohammed Lamine Chakhari and take part in the 10th conference of FEMIP, the European Investment Bank’s Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership.
The visit will reinforce partnerships to allow industry and SMEs to fully exploit the potential for commercial relations between Tunisia and the EU. Discussions will emphasise the need for more integrated markets, through common rules aligned with those of the EU and the improvement of the technical infrastructure (laboratories and conformity assessment).
Vice President Tajani will also encourage more cooperation in cutting bureaucracy for smarter regulation in order to favour the internationalisation of SMEs, such as promoting clusters and networks for SME internationalisation. The tourism sector will also see enhanced cooperation, and Tunisia will be invited to be part to the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme.
Before leaving Brussels, Vide President Tajani said: “Tunisia's considerable progress in aligning its legislative system with EU rules underlines the country's strong commitment to boost its economy. A strong industrial cooperation is of mutual benefit for Mediterranean neighbours and the EU. I am confident that we will reach good results in the coming two days which will contribute to more stability in the Mediterranean.”
As a result of the EU's response to the recent developments relating to the Southern Neighbourhood, the Commission has multiplied the efforts to speed up to complete the preparations for negotiating market access agreements with Southern Mediterranean countries.
Tunisia's considerable progress in aligning the legislative system and the quality infrastructure with those of the EU could soon enable full access to the Single Market for those products that meet requirements that will be negotiated within the scope of an agreement on conformity assessment and acceptance of industrial products (ACAA).
On 9 March, Antonio Tajani and the Tunisian Industry and Commerce Minister will sign a joint declaration to stress the two parties' dedication to wrapping up the preparatory phase and to open market access negotiations as soon as possible, with a view to signing an ACAA agreement in the near future. This will mark the near completion of preparations and the imminent start of formal negotiations regarding electrical products and construction materials. The agreement will subsequently be extended to other industries and goods, once preconditions are met.
ACAA agreements will help cut bureaucracy, doing away with double conformity assessment of products, and simplifying import/export and customs formalities.
On Thursday, 8 March, Vice President Tajani will take part in the 10th FEMIP conference in Tunis.
The focus of the conference will be on supporting private sector development and the EIB’s vocation as a long-term investor. It will address the three main themes:
       Access to diverse and competitive sources of financing as a primary obstacle to the development of the private sector;
       Promoting entrepreneurship and Management education as a condition to ensure growth;
       Reinforcing the international competitiveness of Mediterranean enterprises by repositioning them in the global market.
(ENPI Info Centre)
Read more
Press release
Agreements on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of industrial products (ACAA)
Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership
Erasmus for entrepreneurs
ENPI Info Centre webpage - Tunisia

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