Interview with Mr Ridha Ben Mosbah

Mr Ridha Ben Mosbah
Mr Ridha Ben Mosbah
Minister of Trade and Handicrafts
Govt of Tunisia
Govt of Tunisia

Mr Mosbah, in your tenure, shouldering such vital responsibilities in welfare of TCI, which all lacunae in sector would you like to address at priority, so as to stimulate its performance?

Tunisia’s textile and clothing industries have involved steadily over the past 40 years. A major change in strategy was adopted early in the 2000s.

In order to improve outsourcing and promote Tunisian fashion, the textile branch is undergoing a process of integration by creating companies that do finishing work and that manufacture accessories as well as by developing service activities.

This new orientation seeks to promote vertical integration, shift to up-market ready-to-wear clothing, and produce small and medium size series.

Its ability to adapt has helped the textile and clothing sector position itself as one of the pillars of Tunisian industry.

The strength of the Tunisian Textile and clothing sector comes essentially from the capacity of the Tunisian companies to adapt themselves to the requirements of their partners at the levels of the know how, the ability to react, the flexibility, the quality of the product and the service while respecting the international standards of social and environmental ethics. The Government acts in the sense of the encouragement of companies to improve even more their performances of competitiveness by continuing to invest in the TCI, to increase the supervisory rate, to diversify the markets of exports and to turn to products with higher added value by being active in the co-manufactoring and the finished product.

Our NEWS team has published news about set up of Technical Innovation and Renewal Center in Tunisia. Please apprise us about its activities and functions.

The technical center of creation, innovation and supervision in carpet and weaving is created in February 14th, 2007. Its activities include the carpet and weaving sectors and all the activities related to them: manual weaving- manual spinning -traditional dyeing - ground sheet(carpet, klim, mergoum, grara, ktif,…) -tapestry wall – covering wool.

This center is created in order to enhance creation and innovation as well as preserving the originality and the national patrimony.

It supervises artisans and assists them in developing working methods, improving the quality of crude materials as well as diversifying their sources.

It enhances the use of national crude materials as well techniques which preserve environment and natural resources.

It assists new projects and supervises their execution during different steps.

It inventories national wealth consisting in crude materials liable to be used in handicraft sector.

It collects and analyses all information relative to sub sectors depending of their intervention field.

In fact, the Centre has realised 50 designs in carpet and weaving and has distributed them to artisans and handicraft establishments.

It organised some workshop in order to create new designs, modernize the methods of work, improve the techniques and promote the quality.

Regarding FDIs; in your view, how can investing in Tunisian TCI benefit investors? Any message for our myriad investor-visitors worldwide?

A liberal legal framework has helped foreign companies establish sound partnerships that have helped them develop their activity in Tunisia. More than 1000 Tunisian companies work in partnership with EU companies.

Over the period 2005-2008, investment in the textile and clothing sector grew by 27% and over the past five years, one fifth of all foreign direct investment to manufacturing industries went to the textile and clothing sector.

The presence of world-renowned companies like Benetton or Van Laack as well as co-contracting with major principals has contributed significantly to the success of the textile and clothing sector. This is an additional proof of how competitive Tunisia is in this sector. The presence of major brands also shows how active and able this sector is in offering fast and total reactivity to principals, purchasing structures, thus meeting constantly changing demand.

The legislative and regulatory framework in Tunisia provides real advantages for foreign investors: total freedom to invest and the possibility of holding 100% of capital, repatriation of dividends and of proceeds from the sale of capital, the right to foreign exchange for current transactions and the possibility of using bank accounts held abroad.

To encourage export of goods and services, incentives are available in the form of total exemption from duty and levies on imported equipment, raw materials and semi-finished goods, as well as total exemption from tax on profits for the first ten years of activity.

Furthermore, procedures for setting up a business have been greatly simplified, facilitated by the establishment of one-stop shops at which a company can be set up and administrative formalities carried out.

With its geo-strategic position in the heart of the Euro-Mediterranean logistic chain, near the main European cities and on the doorstep of a market of 500 million consumers, its modern infrastructure, and its high degree of know how and competitive costs, Tunisia offers a favourable investment environment as well as a preferential access to the main targeted markets through the several agreements signed with partner countries such as the free trade agreement signed with EU, the Agadir Agreement (Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan and Morocco) that went into effect in 2007, and the agreement signed with Turkey allowing a cumuli of the rules of origin and reinforces the competitive position of Tunisia.

Face2Face is grateful for your time and precious comments, Mr Mosbah! We wish you and TCI industry a great year ahead!

Pleasure. Same to you!

Published on: 25/01/2010

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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