The Qatari-Tunisian economic forum launched yesterday with the participation of a large number of Qatari and 130 of the most prominent Tunisian businessmen.
The forum held with the aim of strengthening the bilateral partnership between both countries and opening new horizons of cooperation so as to promote the trade volume between both countries.
HE Qatar Chamber chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim bin Mohammed al-Thani affirmed that ties between Qatar and Tunisia constitute a model for strong relations, noting that the mutual visits between both leaderships have boosted the relations towards more development in the past few years, which reflected on the economic cooperation.
He said that the Qatari investment value in Tunisia in the past few years has exceeded $1bn in the tourism, communications, financial sectors and others, with the conference to boost the Tunisian economy that took place in 2016 announcing Qatari projects such as a tourist project at a total value of $200mn in the northern suburbs of Tunis.
Sheikh Khalifa praised the Qatar Friendship Fund of Tunisia which was established in 2013 through building partnerships with Tunisian entities to provide funding for the youth and help them in different phases of the designing and implementing of projects.
It funded almost 900 projects across Tunisia and helped in creating nearly 6,000 job opportunities for youth in Tunisia, he added.
Sheikh Khalifa said the trade exchange between both countries witnessed an increasing growth during the past years, where it is valued at nearly $146mn in 2016. He expressed his hope for the exchanged products between both countries to witness diversity and rise to a level that satisfies the ambitions of both countries.
The Tunisian Minister of Commerce Omar El Bahi said the forum reflects the keenness of both sides on promoting economic and trade ties to higher levels that would allow them to employ their capacities and open new horizons for partnership so as to enhance bilateral cooperation and push forward the pace of trade exchange between Tunisia and Qatar up to the ambitions and abilities of the two countries. The Tunisian minister said that the significance of the current phase requires the two sides to intensify mutual activities and meetings in order to achieve more economic cooperation and establish better ties in the future, noting that the unique status of Qatar in terms of foreign investment in Tunisia proves the depth of ties between the two countries.
Issa Rashid al-Suwaidi, head of the operations and risk analysis department at the General Customs of Authority, said Qatar has aimed through its entities and in light of the current regional and international challenges to tackle them, highlighting the role of the authority in facing developments of the customs work under the security challenges in the region.
Al-Suwaidi presented the practices the authority implemented to facilitate the trade movement, most prominently the Al Nadeeb system and adopting the green list, which eases the process and gives flexibility in inspecting cargo and speed up its release, in addition to adopting the Unified Guide of Customs Procedures on all entry ports in the country.
Aziza Hatira, president and director general of the Tunisian Export Promotion Center (CEPEX), expressed her hope for fruitful results for the business meetings held between the Tunisian delegation and their Qatari counterparts, which may include agreements and partnership that will benefit both economies.
Hatira said the diversification and number of Tunisian companies participating in the forum reflects the importance that the Tunisian government and the private sector gives to expand the cooperation fields with the private sector in Qatar.
She explained that the participating Tunisian delegation includes different industrial, agricultural and service sectors where 51 businessmen are active in agricultural products and food industries, 25 businessmen in international trade, and other sectors including construction materials, shipping services, pharmaceutical industry, education and training, cosmetics, cleaning products and other fields.
She revealed that the trade volume between Qatar and Tunisia witnessed an increase of 3.5% during the first nine months of the current year, to reach QR 39.7mn, where Tunisia exported to Qatar products worth QR 24.8mn in that period.
The two-day forum is expected to witness the signing of more partnerships between Qatari and Tunisian companies, which boosts the imports and exports of both countries.
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