New Legal and Institutional Framework for Investment in Tunisia

Following four years of coordinated donor technical assistance, the government of Tunisia recently announced the implementation of a new legal framework for investment. The implementation of several key changes will improve efficiency and productivity through the development of investments in innovative and high value-added sectors that will improve the competitiveness of the national economy and reduce unemployment and regional disparities.

The new regime streamlines and facilitates new investment by: 1) removing several sector-specific authorizations, in particular for market access, 2) setting deadlines for the approval of investment authorizations, 3) requiring authorities to justify the rejection and considering their silence after deadline expiry as an implicit authorization, 4) revising technical specifications and simplifying administrative procedures in the investor’s favor. Moreover, this new legal framework grants investors the freedom of recourse to arbitration to settle commercial disputes. It also reinforces the principle of free international transfer of funds for foreign investors. Lastly, the new legal framework also enshrines the principle of freedom for companies to recruit foreign executives.

MEPI-funded CLDP engagement, in partnership with the World Bank, has been providing technical assistance on this issue to the Government of Tunisia, including reviews and comments to four successive drafts of the investment law and guidance on its implementation, emphasizing best international investment practices. The new law is expected to increase the value added, competitiveness, export capacity and technological content of the Tunisian economy, as well as provide a more level playing field for US investors.