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110 CHAPTER 5


The tariff equivalent of NTBs provides an indicator of the scale of this type of protection. In order to assess this for the main agricultural products imported into Tunisia in 1992, Chemingui and Dessus (2001) used the price gap approach, which involves comparing local prices and border prices. Of 19 agricultural and food products studied, 6 were subjected to significant levels of NTBs. Sugar had the highest nontariff protection, with a tariff equivalent of 28 percent, followed by hard wheat (20 percent). The other protected products were barley, soft wheat, vegetable produce, and canned goods.


Trade Agreements


Tunisia is currently involved in many regional trade agreements in addition to its commitments under the WTO. Overall, Tunisia has concluded trade agree- ments with about 60 countries; some of these agreements provide for pref- erential arrangements. Since its last trade policy reform was implemented in 1994, Tunisia has signed the WTO agreement, a bilateral agreement with the E.U., bilateral agreements with the members of the Arab League, and agree- ments with Turkey and the European Free Trade Association. All of these agreements are classified as FTAs. In what follows we describe the content of these trade agreements regarding agricultural products.


The WTO


Tunisia acceded to the GATT in 1990 and has been a member of the WTO since March 1995. The commitments of Tunisia emerging from the Uruguay Round involve binding 4,005 tariff lines in the agricultural and industrial sectors or 66 percent tariff lines under the Harmonized System. In the agricultural sector, the commitments made by Tunisia involve binding 1,503 tariff lines (25 per- cent of the total) at rates that vary between 25 and 250 percent, along with a commitment to reduce these rates by 24 percent over 10 years (1995–2004). The commitments of Tunisia also involve insuring the opening up of tariff quo- tas for the importation of agricultural and food processing products at lower customs duty rates. Furthermore, Tunisia committed to reducing the level of its domestic support for agriculture by 13.3 percent over 1995–2005.


The EMP Agreement


The E.U. is Tunisia’s main trading partner: 76 percent of Tunisia’s trade goes to or comes from the E.U. Imports of European agricultural and food products account for a little under half of all imports of products in these two catego- ries. The European market takes up about 70 percent of Tunisia’s agricultural trade and food exports.


Tunisia is one of the most important exporters of several products, includ- ing olive oil, dates, citrus fruit, seafood, and various organic fruits and veg-


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