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The first negotiating round for a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) between the EU and Tunisia took place in April 2016. Discussions covered a wide range of issues including agriculture, services and sustainable development. The EU and Tunisia published a joint report while the EU-proposed negotiation texts and explanatory factsheets were also published following the round.

The aim of these negotiations is to build on the existing EU-Tunisia Association Agreement, which entered into force in 1998 and created a Free Trade Area between the EU and Tunisia.

The overall goal of the negotiations is to create new trade and investment opportunities and bring about the better integration of Tunisia's economy into the EU single market. An important objective of the DCFTA is to support ongoing economic reforms in Tunisia and bring Tunisian legislation closer to that of the EU in trade-related areas.

Trade picture

  • The EU is Tunisia's largest trading partner, accounting for 62.8% of its trade in 2015. 71% of Tunisia's exports went to the EU. Tunisia is the EU’s 32nd largest trading partner representing 0.6% of the EU’s total trade with the world.
  • Total trade in goods between the EU and Tunisia in 2015 amounted to €20.3 billion. The EU's imports from Tunisia are mostly made up of machinery and transport equipment (40.6%), textiles and clothing (23.9%) and agricultural products (8.5%).
  • The EU's exports to Tunisia are dominated by machinery and transport equipment (36.4%), followed by textiles and clothing (12.1%), fuels and mining products (10.4%) and chemicals (8.1%).
  • Two-way trade in services amounted to €4.8 billion in 2014 with EU imports of services representing €3.3 billion and exports €1.5 billion.
  • Flows of foreign direct investment to Tunisia are concentrated on the development of the infrastructure network as well as of the textiles and clothing sectors.

EU-Tunisia "trade in goods" statistics

Trade in goods 2013-2015, € billions
Year EU imports EU exports Balance
2013 9.3 11.2 1.8
2014 9.4 11.0 1.6
2015 9.5 10.8 1.2

EU-Tunisia "trade in services" statistics

Trade in services 2012-2014, € billions
Year EU imports EU exports Balance
2012 4.0 1.6 -2.3
2013 3.8 1.6 -2.2
2014 3.3 1.5 -1.7

Foreign direct investment

Foreign direct investment 2014, € billions
Year Inward stocks Outward stocks Balance
2014 0.2 4.0 3.8

Date of retrieval: 14/04/2016

More statistics on Tunisia

EU and Tunisia

The EU and Tunisia concluded an Association Agreement in July 1995. This Agreement established a Free Trade Area under which all two-way trade in industrial products takes place free of any trade tariffs. A regards agricultural, agro-food and fisheries products, the EU and Tunisia agreed to a progressive opening of their respective markets for selected products.

Alongside these reductions in trade tariffs, the Association Agreement also contains provisions under which the EU and Tunisia have agreed to:

  • rules and disciplines on the use of non-tariff based trade measures such as quotas and product standards
  • a general right to establish businesses and provide services in the other territory
  • allow for current payments and movement of capital
  • have common rules on competition and intellectual property

The EU and Tunisia signed a bilateral protocol in 2009 on the establishment of a dispute settlement mechanism, which entered into force in September 2011.

Tunisia in Euromed

Tunisia is one of the partners of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (Euromed) that promotes economic integration and democratic reform across 16 of the EU's neighbours in North Africa and the Middle East. One important part of this initiative is to work together towards improvements in trade and investment conditions for the EU's partners in the Euromed region.

Euromed is an essential component in the pursuit of greater economic integration in the Mediterranean region, including among the Mediterranean partners themselves.

Within the European Neighbourhood Policy, the EU offers its neighbours a privileged relationship, building upon a mutual commitment to common values (including democracy and human rights, rule of law, good governance, market economy principles and sustainable development).

More information on the Euro-Mediterranean partnership

The pan-Euro-Mediterranean cumulation and the PEM Convention

The pan-Euro-Mediterranean cumulation system of origin was created in 2005. It brings together the EU, Tunisia and other partners in Europe and the Mediterranean to support regional integration by creating a common system of rules of origin. These are the technical criteria which determine whether a specific product qualifies for duty free or other preferential access under a given trade agreement.

Cumulation of origin means a product coming from one partner country can be processed or added to a product of a second partner country and still be considered an “originating product” of that second partner country for the purposes of a particular trade agreement.

The pan-Euro-Mediterranean system allows for diagonal cumulation (i.e. cumulation between two or more countries) between the EU, EFTA States, Turkey, the Western Balkans, the Faroe Islands, and any countries which signed the Barcelona Declaration of 1995. The system is based on a network of Free Trade Agreements having identical origin protocols.

These individual origin protocols are being progressively replaced by a reference to the Regional Convention on pan-Euro-Mediterranean preferential rules of origin (PEM Convention), which was established in 2011 to provide a more unified framework for origin protocols. Tunisia acceded to the Regional Convention on 1 January 2015.

More information on Mediterranean preferential Rules of Origin

Trading with Tunisia