The Economic and Regulatory Policy Implications of Overlapping Preferential Trade Agreements in the Arab Countries: The Case of Tunisia - Economic Research Forum (ERF)

The Economic and Regulatory Policy Implications of Overlapping Preferential Trade Agreements in the Arab Countries: The Case of Tunisia

Mohamed Chemingui and Mohamed Ali Marouani

October, 2004


62 pages

F4. Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance
F2. International Factor Movements and International Business
F. International Economics

Ten years following the implementation of major trade reforms in Tunisia, and especially in the aftermath of the Uruguay Round Agreements in the context of the WTO and the partnership agreement with the European union, it is timely to undertake a preliminary assessment of the impact of these reforms, the degree of their implementation, the flanking measures taken by the government, and the compliance of the different RTAs signed by Tunisia with WTO rules. A special attention will be given to the more sensitive sector that will be disproportionately affected by both the internal and external trade reforms.

This report is structured in the following way. The second section presents the different trade commitments undertaken by Tunisia. The third section analyses both the effects of trade liberalization implemented in Tunisia since 1995, as well as the effect of trade reforms on the main macro-economic aggregates (growth, public finances, trade…) and the evolution of tariff and non-tariff protection before and after the trade reforms. The fourth section assesses the level of implementation of the different commitments, taken by Tunisia as part of its multi-lateral, bilateral and regional trade agreements. The fifth section deals with the issue of conformity between the different free trade agreements, signed by Tunisia, and the WTO rules, while evoking the drawbacks of the rules of the current multilateral trade system. The sixth section describes and analyses the challenges that these trade agreements have introduced to the textile and clothing sector, in order to show the extent to which the Tunisian economy is called upon to update and reform itself, so as to take up the challenge of free trade. The last section concludes and presents some policy recommendations.

Research Fellows

Mohamed Chemingui

Senior economist, Chief of regional integration section, Economic Development and Globalization Division, ESCWA

Research Fellows

Mohamed Ali Marouani

Associate Professor, Université Paris1-Panthéon-Sorbonne



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