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WORKING ABROAD / DEC. 27, 2012
version 22, draft 22

Jobs and Stability: EU-Tunisia Industry Cooperation Forges Ahead

EU-Tunisia

European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani will visit tomorrow and the day after tomorrow Tunisia. The primary aim of the visit is tospeed up the preparations leading to negotiations on EU market access agreements with the South-Mediterranean countries. During his visit Vice President Tajani will meet the Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali and Minister for Industry and Commerce Mohammed Lamine Chakhari and take part in the 10th FEMIP (the EIB's Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership) conference.

The visit will reinforce partnerships to permit industry and SMEs to fully exploit the commercial relations potential between Tunisia and the EU. The 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 to mutually favour the internationalisation of the respective SMEs, such as promoting clusters and networks for . The tourism sector will also see enhanced cooperation. Tunisia will be invited to be part to the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme.

Before leaving Brussels Vice President Antonio Tajani, responsible for industry and enterprises, 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.”

Free access to EU for industrial goods in sight

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 the South-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 the products that meet several requirements that will be negotiated within the scope of an agreement on conformity assessment and acceptance of industrial products (ACAA).

On 9th of March, jointly with Industry and Commerce Minister Mr. Chakhari, Antonio Tajani will sign a joint declaration to stress the two parties' wish and dedication to wrapping up the preparatory phase and 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 the pre-conditions are met.

ACAA-type market access agreements are currently at different stages of preparation or negotiation with all the Mediterranean countries (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, and Tunisia) and with some Neighbouring countries (Ukraine).

ACAA help cutting bureaucracy

ACAA agreements will help cutting bureaucracy, doing away with double conformity assessment of products, with the result of simplifying to the extreme the import/export and customs formalities. In a nutshell, an ACAA-type agreement amounts - for the products concerned - to getting access to the Single Market.

During his stay Vice President Tajani will explain the European Commission actions to cut administrative burdens, which is primarily relevant to the improvement of the conditions in which enterprises operate.

 

Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership

On Thursday 08 March Vice President Tajani will take part in the 10th FEMIP (the EIB's Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership) 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. The following three main themes will be urgently addressed:

·                     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.

Operational since October 2002, FEMIP is a key player in the financial partnership between Europe and the Mediterranean, and has invested € 12bn between October 2002 and December 2010.

Background

Tunisia is today the leading country of the democratic change in the Mediterranean and has a key role in the area. The Mediterranean future political stability and economic perspectives will greatly depend on its success. The EU works to support stronger industrial cooperation and the creation of a favourable environment for SMEs. Tunisian growth is of mutual benefit for Mediterranean neighbours and the EU. Business partnerships in key sectors such as tourism, regulatory frameworks, free movement of goods, are therefore essential.

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