The DCFTA is an under discussion agreement between Tunisia and the European Union. It’s about the release of agricultural products and services, to import and export these types of products without payment of taxes while respecting the European standards.
On October 2015, the minister of trades announced only the beginning of the negociations. In this time I was involved, other ministers of trades were involved, the European commissioner as well. We reported directly to our president.
Every agreement may have positive and negative impacts. This agreement gave us the opportunity to export some products so that we can partially cover our trade deficit and upgrade our industry.
You know that Tunisia has initiated the upgrade of the services and that many Tunisian investors are based in Europe. So we requested that the free trade agreement comes along with facilitating the visa process for Tunisian businessmen.
This point is still under discussion.
Sure, Tunisia is an agricultural country, unfortunately, this sector was not upgraded. That’s why we requested that the European Union helps us to accomplish this task.
By facilitating the movement of our products so we can compete in this dynamic and fast-growing sector.
Mainly economical advantages : increasing the productivity, improving the quality of our products and services and being able to compete with the European and Foreign products in general.
It depends on the willingness of both sides.
Tunisians must work hard. The achievements of the revolution in the area of human rights have been remarkable, but there is an economic crisis to overcome.
We must rely on ourselves and we are counting on the assistance of our friendly countries.
Photo: Tunisia’s trade minister Ridha Lahouel shakes hands with the European trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström during their meeting on October 2015.
Interviewed by by Bilel Riahi, a 23 year old student of computer engineering, photo by unknown.
Impressive. Bilel called a former minister and got an interview. Points for the minister, points for the topic, which is new, specific and hot. Moreover it's similiar to the discussion which we had in Europe: The free trade agreement TTIP between the EU and the USA. It would had been perfect to link these two topics or at least to mention TTIP.
At the end the former minister slides into the common political language like "It depends on the willingness of both sides." or "Tunisians must work hard". Sometimes you have to be polite and you have to accept this kind of answers. Sometimes we can insist and ask: "Tunisians work harder if you give them a salary which covers the living costs. Don't you think so?" - or in a sharp way: "Why does nobody in your party take care of this?"
Comment by Claus Sixt
Bilel, a Tunisian participant of 2016, called Ridha Lahouel, former minister of trade, and interviewed him about a very hot topic which is discussed in the Tunisian Parliament: The Deep Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA). Is Tunisia ready for free trade?