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Exclusive breakfast session with member of CII in honour of H.E Khemaies Jhinaoui.

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Mr Shereekant Somany, Chairman, II National MSMS Council

Ladies and Gentleman

Good morning

It’s a great pleasure to be with you today at this gathering in the company of a Tunisian businessmen delegation operating in different sectors. On behalf of our delegation, i would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to the confederation of Indian industry for kindly organizing this event which coincides with the 12th session of Tunisia India Joint Commission.

 

Your presence today, underscores your willingness to strengthen the economic cooperation and partnership existing between our two countries.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen

Allow me at the outset to brief you about the latest and major developments in my country Tunisia.

As you may know, Tunisia went from January 2011 until 2014 through a difficult but successful political transition which was crowned by the adoption of a new and modern constitution, and by the organisation, for the first time in its history, of free, fair and transparent elections, allowing the Tunisian people to elect a new Parliament and a new President.

 Since January 2015, the successive Tunisian Governments, endeavoured to create the best conditions for a political and economic environment that shall contribute to overcoming the social and economic problems of the country in particular the high level of unemployment among the young graduated students and unbalances between the coastal areas and the interior regions suffering from a lack of infrastructure and jobs opportunities.

 Today, the Tunisian Government undertook deep and substantial reforms in order to improve investment and economic climate through the implementation of a new strategic vision based on major reforms in various sectors such as financial and fiscal systems, the adoption of a new investment law besides the adoption of a Public-Private Partnership law (PPP) and competition law. Other economic and social reforms are under way aimed at enhancing transparency, good governance and economic efficiency.

Ladies and Gentlemen

 Thanks to these various reforms, the Tunisia economy resumed its growth in various sectors, including tourism, phosphate and industry.

 Hence in the second quarter of 2017, growth rate in Tunisia reached 1.8% and we expect it to increase up to a level of 2.2% by the end of this year.

Accordingly, the business environment in Tunisia is improving and we have today a great potential to boost investments in particular in added value industries such as ICTs, pharmaceutical industry and renewable energies.

Indeed the government has eased the foreign investment which is today free in most sectors and the procedure to launch a company was facilitated by a one stop shop in such a way that only three days are needed to create a company in Tunisia.

It is also worth noting that foreigners can hold 100% of project equity without prior authorization and up to 66% of the capital in agriculture sector. Thus profit can be totally repatriated.

Furthermore, the New Tunisian Investment law offers also multiple tax incentives including ten years tax exemption on profits for agriculture projects, tax exemption, between five and ten years  for all projects  located in remoted areas.

Tunisia enjoys a modern infrastructure including, among others, nine international airports, seven commercial ports and networks of roads and railway connecting the whole country. Tunisia also has 10 operational competitiveness clusters or technological parks across the country, as well as 15 cyber parks in communication technologies and one park dedicated to aeronautic industry.

In terms of human resources, Tunisia registers over 70,000 new university graduates each year. 35% of them are specialised in engineering, computer science, communications and other technical fields.

As a matter of fact, more than 3500 foreign companies are currently operating in Tunisia in several sectors such as textile, agro-business, car spare parts, electrical and mechanical spare parts, mining, aeronautics, pharmaceuticals, food processing and ICTs.

Ladies and Gentlemen

Despite the potential existing in India and Tunisia, trade volume between our two countries remains modest (about 500 millions US).

The Tunisian exports are mainly composed of phosphoric acid (90 %), olive oil and dates. however, the Indian exports to Tunisia are much more diversified as automobiles, tractors electrical items, cotton, mechanical engines, organic chemical products, rubber, rice, coffee/spices…

Regarding Indian investment in Tunisia, companies as M/S KEC International ltd, Jyoti structures ltd, Dabur, an assembly plant of Mahindra pickup trucks and Tata motors for production of pickup trucks are actively present in Tunisia. Also Tunisia and India launched since 2013 a joint venture in the field of phosphate and fertilizer (TIFERT) with a capacity of 360,000 tonnes of phosphoric acid per year.

 Other Indian companies are operating in Tunisia in several sectors (power, solar energy, iron, auto components, shoes, tobacco, it) and have participated in several international tenders in Tunisia.

Hence, Indian businessmen are welcomed to further explore the opportunity existing in our country in particular in added value industries in the field of ICTs, pharmaceuticals industry, biotechnology, auto-components, and renewable energies.

Today, the successful outcome of the 12 Tunisia India Joint Commission just held yesterday creates a new momentum to boost the economic partnership between federations and associations from both countries.

The conclusion of MoUs between the Tunisian Export Promotion Centre (CEPEX) and the federation of Indian export organisation (FIEO) on one hand, and between the Tunisian Union of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA) and the federation of Indian chambers of commerce and industries (FICCI) one the other hand, will certainly create new opportunities of partnership for the two countries.

We also welcome the upcoming visits of a delegation from the confederation of Indian industry (CII) and another one from the federation of Indian export organizations (FIEO) to explore new partnership opportunities in our country and we are looking forward to concrete outcome following their visits.

It is also our hope that the survey undertaken by Indian chamber of commerce (ASSOCHAM) will assist business communities from both countries overcome the obstacles that may hinder trade and investment exchanges between business Communities.. 

Finally, Tunisia welcomes the Indian business community who will take part to the international investment forum to be organised early next month by the foreign investment promotion agency under the theme ''new Tunisia new economic vision''.

This forum, that will be inaugurated by Mr Youssef Chahed, Prime Minister of the Republic of Tunisia, will focus on three thematic, relating to the promising prospects of Tunisia 2020, the global value chains and the position of Tunisia as a regional hub, look toward Africa

In short, Tunisia is a good place to do business, thanks to the economical reforms undertaken and to strategic location as a gateway to Africa Medal East and Europe as well as the multiple free trade agreements that we have concluded with E.U, Middle East and African countries which offer several incentives to foreign investors to respond to the need of exploring new markets.

I would like, at the end, to reiterate my deep gratitude to the Confederation of Indian Industry for its support to this event and for welcoming the Tunisian business delegation.

Many thanks for your kind attention.



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