Tunisia flag Tunisia: Economic and Political Overview

Foreign trade figures of Tunisia

Foreign Trade in Figures

Tunisia's foreign trade represents 104% of its GDP (World Bank, 2018). Wire and cable manufacturing continues to be Tunisia's main exporting industry (13.2% of all exports), followed by textile, petroleum by-products, electrical apparatus, olive oil, travel and transportation. Hydrocarbon products comprise Tunisia's main imports by far (around 16% of all imports), followed by vehicles, electric apparatus, wheat, transportation and travel. According to the latest IMF data, the volume of exports of goods and services increased by 13.8% in 2021 compared to 2020, while imports increased by 4.3%. This trend reflects the ongoing recovery that followed the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic. The IMF expects exports growth to slow down to 7.1% in 2022, and imports to increase by 9.2%.

The European Union is Tunisia's main trading partner, accounting for more than half of its imports and exports. Among EU countries, France was Tunisia's top trading partner, accounting for 29.1% of Tunisian exports and 14.2% of its imports (second only to Italy). Italy was the second main destination of Tunisian exports and first supplier of goods and services in Tunisia. Germany, Spain, China and Turkey were also among Tunisia's major trading partners. Tunisia has pursued an active policy of enhancing its trade with the rest of Africa. In this regard, Tunisia signed a new trade cooperation agreement with Ghana in February 2019. In March 2019, the Tunisian Parliament ratified the country's official accession to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA, a joint free trade area with twenty member states stretching from Libya to Swaziland).  Furthermore, Tunisia is seeking to join the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and is a signatory to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).  

Tunisia's trade balance is structurally negative. In 2020, as exports decreased slower than imports, the trade deficit decreased, reaching USD -4.5 billion. According to WTO data, Tunisia's imports of goods stood at USD 18.4 billion in 2020, against USD 13.8 billion for exports. In the same year, the imports of services reached USD 2.2 billion, while the value of services exports amounted to USD 2.1 billion. In 2020, Tunisia recorded record growth in olive oil export revenues despite the Covid-19 crisis, according to data released by the Office National de l'Huille (ONH).

 
Foreign Trade Values 20162017201820192020
Imports of Goods (million USD) 19,46220,65422,70521,55518,351
Exports of Goods (million USD) 13,57214,20415,53414,93313,813
Imports of Services (million USD) 3,0022,7802,9902,8542,171
Exports of Services (million USD) 3,1363,1193,6974,0362,147

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20152016201720182019
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 91.090.8100.0110.0107.9
Trade Balance (million USD) -4,945-4,724-5,226-5,871-5,373
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -4,727-4,486-5,002-5,233-4,246
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -2.62.83.51.7-7.8
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -5.30.24.64.4-4.5
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 50.950.856.261.559.3
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 40.140.043.848.548.6

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20212022 (e)2023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) 13.87.14.63.52.9
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) 4.39.26.65.14.0

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
International Economic Cooperation
Tunisia is a member of the following international economic organisations: IMF, Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD), ICC, Arab Monetary Fund (AMF), WTO, G-77, Arab League, among others. For the full list of economic and other international organisations in which participates Tunisia click here. International organisation membership of Tunisia is also outlined here.
Free Trade Agreements
The complete and up-to-date list of Free Trade Agreements signed by Tunisia can be consulted here.
 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2019
France 29.1%
Italy 16.2%
Germany 12.8%
Spain 3.8%
Libya 3.6%
See More Countries 34.5%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2019
Italy 15.4%
France 14.2%
China 9.5%
Germany 6.8%
Algeria 6.6%
See More Countries 47.5%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

Main Products

14.9 bn USD of products exported in 2019
Insulated incl. enamelled or anodised wire, cable...Insulated incl. enamelled or anodised wire, cable incl. coaxial cable and other insulated electric conductors, whether or not fitted with connectors; optical fibre cables, made-up of individually sheathed fibres, whether or not assembled with electric conductors or fitted with connectors 13.2%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 4.1%
Track suits, ski suits, swimwear and other...Track suits, ski suits, swimwear and other garments, n.e.s. (excl. knitted or crocheted) 3.7%
Men's or boys' suits, ensembles, jackets, blazers,...Men's or boys' suits, ensembles, jackets, blazers, trousers, bib and brace overalls, breeches and shorts (excl. knitted or crocheted, wind-jackets and similar articles, separate waistcoats, track suits, ski suits and swimwear) 3.5%
Olive oil and its fractions obtained from the...Olive oil and its fractions obtained from the fruit of the olive tree solely by mechanical or other physical means under conditions that do not lead to deterioration of the oil, whether or not refined, but not chemically modified 3.1%
See More Products 72.3%
21.6 bn USD of products imported in 2019
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 9.1%
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbonsPetroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 6.9%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 2.8%
Electrical apparatus for switching or protecting...Electrical apparatus for switching or protecting electrical circuits, or for making connections to or in electrical circuits, e.g., switches, relays, fuses, surge suppressors, plugs, sockets, lamp-holders and junction boxes, for a voltage <= 1.000 V (excl. control desks, cabinets, panels etc. of heading 8537) 2.4%
Wheat and meslinWheat and meslin 2.1%
See More Products 76.6%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows.

 

Main Services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, 2021. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

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Latest Update: June 2022