Posted by: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

The national steering committee of the exports facilitation project through the postal network “Easy Export,” created after Tunisia’s adherence in this network to put in place the necessary preparations for the effective launch of the latter, announced on Thursday, the end of its work.

Born after an agreement concluded between the Tunisian Post and the Universal Post Union (UPU) in September 2016 at the Universal Post Conference held in Istanbul, the committee drew up during its work a diagnosis of the obstacles to exports faced by the Tunisian fabric of MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) and elaborated action plans specific to each of the partner organisations in this project, namely, the Ministries of Communication Technologies and Digital Economy and of Transport, the Tunisian Post, the Export Promotion Centre (CEPEX), the Tunisian Customs, the National Agency for the Promotion of Industry and Innovation (APII), Tunisia Trade Net, the National Board of Handicrafts (ONA) and the Centre for Telecommunication Studies and Research (CERT).

Chairing the National Forum for the presentation of the results of the committee’s work organised by the Tunisian Post, Communication Technologies and Digital Economy Minister Anouar Maarouf said that “the project Easy export is a pilot project of the Universal Post Union that seeks to facilitate export procedures for SMEs, step up their internationalisation and promote their exports, through the postal network, while making the most of the opportunities offered by logistics and digital solutions.

Recalling that Tunisia is the 1st Arab and African country to benefit from this project, he pointed out that it aims to “dematerialise the formalities related to foreign trade, reduce export delays by improving the shipping times and controlling clearance deadlines, reduce costs for SMEs, improve co-ordination among stakeholders in the export process for the exchange and sharing of information to speed up this process, facilitate the MSMEs’ access to information and tools allowing their integration in the international trade.”

It is also, according to the minister, “to create a culture of export to the MSMEs, improve the marketing and visibility of Tunisian products, expand the base of customers and markets for export, reinforce social integration and regional development, increase job creation and migration of the informal sector to the organised economy.”

Maarouf also recalled that concurrently with the Easy Export project, Tunisia had joined in January 2017 the project of the Universal Post Union, Ecom @ Africa, regarding the creation of a regional platform of electronic trade. The project is on the right course, according to the minister, who believes that the economic benefits of this platform will be very positive for Tunisia and all joining countries.

Taking the floor, Trade Minister Omar El Behi pointed out the importance of the Tunisian Post’s role in reinforcing the digital, financial and social inclusion in Tunisia, considering that the project Easy export will help it become a unique interlocutor for exporters, thus further facilitating export-related procedures.

Referring to the increase in Tunisian exports and the fall in the trade deficit in the 1st first quarter of 2018, he underlined the need to improve productivity, competitiveness of Tunisian products but also the business climate.

For his part, Tunisian Post CEO Moez Chakchouk underlined that “the Tunisian Post’s action plan in this project, revolves around three essential components. The 1st is electronic payment. As such, a plan has been launched to migrate e-dinar electronic payment platforms that make 45% of electronic payments in Tunisia but which have certain limits in terms of compliance with international standards, towards a new electronic payment platform that will be also open to bank financing and financing from abroad. This platform will be launched in June 2018.”

“The 2nd regards logistics, a tempting price reduction offer that takes into account the enterprises’ export volumes, will be launched in September 2018. The more a company exports its tariffs will be reduced. Preferential offers for businesses operating in e-commerce will also be launched in April 2018,” he added.

According to Chakchouk, “the 3rd part regards the integration by the Tunisian Post in partnership with Customs of a Customs Declaration System (CDS) aimed at facilitating customs procedures related to exports.”

During the national forum, the amendment to the agreement between the Tunisian government and the Universal Post Union represented by Director-General of its International Bureau Bishar A. Hussein, was also signed for the implementation of the Easy export project in Tunisia.

A framework partnership agreement was also signed between the various stakeholders for the execution of the said project.