U.S. and Tunisia Work to Enhance Trade and Investment Integration
U.S. and Tunisian officials met June 16 in Tunis to explore ways to enhance bilateral trade and investment cooperation. According to a USTR press release, the U.S.-Tunisia Trade and Investment Council launched detailed discussions on potential trade and investment commitments in a range of specific areas that could build a foundation for deeper integration. The two sides shared their views in such areas as market access, services, investment and intellectual property rights based on the experience of previous comprehensive trade and investment agreements they have negotiated with other trading partners. The Council explored ways in which the U.S. and Tunisia could improve the competitiveness of Tunisian exporters and investors and attract foreign investors. In addition, officials discussed specific initiatives to increase trade and investment flows in the short- to medium-term, including efforts related to product standards, export and investment promotion, and facilitating the participation of female entrepreneurs and SMEs in bilateral trade.
Areas of ongoing bilateral engagement include (i) discussing recent economic initiatives to promote win-win partnerships and develop new opportunities for SMEs; (ii) exploring ways to facilitate Tunisian branding campaigns in the U.S. market; (iii) exploring ways to cooperate on organic product certification; (iv) enhancing cooperation in specific sectors such as olive oil and handicrafts; (v) working together to implement the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement expeditiously; and (vi) maintaining dialogue on the development of Tunisia’s international investment framework and intellectual property rights protection regime. The officials committed to maintain ongoing intensive dialogue in these and other issue areas and take stock of progress before the end of this year.