Tunisia - Country Commercial Guide
Market Opportunities
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Tunisia and the United States have several bilateral agreements relevant for U.S. companies, including a Convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation (1985), a Bilateral Investment Treaty (1990), and a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) (2002).   

Excellent opportunities exist for potential investors, especially in sectors that would benefit from American technology, such as hydrocarbons, power generation, renewable energy (including green hydrogen), aeronautics, transportation, healthcare, safety and security, and information and communications technologies.  To a lesser extent, noteworthy commercial prospects may be identified in more labor-intensive, offshore (export-oriented) manufacturing industries such as textiles and apparel, agribusiness, aerospace, electronics, and mechanical and electrical equipment. 

Due to its moderate Mediterranean climate, beautiful beaches, and outstanding antiquities, Tunisia enjoys an extensive tourism sector.  The GOT provides robust incentives for investment in this area.  Investment opportunities in tourism include cultural and historical tours, golf packages, desert excursions, and medical tourism.  Much of Tunisia’s tourism infrastructure requires refurbishment, and niche travel remains underdeveloped in areas away from Tunisia’s coastal cities.  As the tourism sector grows, opportunities may become more evident.   

Opportunities exist for U.S. agricultural producers as well.  Some bulk commodities such as wheat are highly subject to Tunisia’s variable domestic production levels and international market conditions, especially after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  Corn, soybeans, and some intermediate products such as soybean meal, vegetable oils, and distillers’ grains may offer more stable and consistent long-term prospects.  U.S. market share of Tunisia’s overall agricultural imports currently hovers around 8%.  Even though the EU and other regional producers are at an advantage due to lower freight costs and a preferential trade agreement with the EU, the shortage of commodities in global markets in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has created room for new players to pursue opportunities in this market.  A sizable market exists in Tunisia for agricultural equipment, including tractors, harvesters, and irrigation systems.  A GOT decision to outsource grain storage has spurred demand for grain silos and elevators. 

U.S. high-tech medical equipment and products may be attractive in the Tunisian market.  A government program to improve healthcare services, increase capacity, upgrade the country’s hospitals, and increase the number of private clinics has created a large demand for medical equipment.  Medical tourism remains small but demonstrates increasing potential to attract visitors from neighboring countries, Europe, and sub-Saharan Africa.

Liberalization of the market for franchises is viewed by the GOT as a catalyst for small and medium enterprise development and employment generation.  Since 2009 Tunisia has loosened its controls over franchising.  Excluding food and beverage, real estate, and advertising franchises, foreign franchises are now automatically allowed to operate and are treated like any other foreign investment in the onshore sector.  Franchises in excluded sectors may operate with an additional authorization from the GOT.  The Ministry of Trade and Export Development has yet to deny a food franchise application. 

The GOT aims to generate 35% of its power from renewable energy by 2030.  The adoption in April 2015 of a renewable energy law and the publication of its implementing decrees in February 2017 encouraged private businesses to generate and use clean energy.  Since May 2018, the GOT has awarded to private companies 18 solar projects of 10 megawatts (MW) each, two solar projects of 50 MW each, two solar projects of 100 MW each, one solar project of 200 MW, and four wind projects of 30 MW each.  However, all these projects are still in the development phase.  In January 2023, the GOT released three calls for tenders for the development of solar and wind projects over 2023-2025 with a total capacity of up to 1,700 MW.  

In September 2018, Tunisia presented to national and international investors and financial institutions a list of 33 public-private partnership (PPP) projects in four sectors:  1) transport and logistics; 2) energy, water, and environment; 3) infrastructure and urban development; and 4) science and technology.  U.S. companies are encouraged to pursue PPP projects of interest (https://igppp.tn/en).