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26/04/2017 - 17:17hs

Tunisians wish to partner up for business, jobs

At an event in São Paulo, a delegation from the Arab country discussed their interest in having a Brazilian business mission to Tunis, and in cooperating to address youth unemployment.

Aurea Santos/ANBA

Jhinaoui: 260,000 young Tunisians are unemployed

São Paulo – Tunisia plans to enhance trade with Brazil, but it also hopes for cooperation from Brazilians to address unemployment among its youth. The goal is to harness Brazil’s experience in startup businesses and technical education.

The subject was discussed this Wednesday (24) during the Brazil-Tunisia Economic Forum organized by the Federation of Industries of the State of São Paulo (Fiesp) and by the Tunisian embassy in Brasília, with backing from the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce. A delegation of Tunisian executives and government officials is in Brazil, headed by foreign minister Khemaies Jhinaoui.

“We have 260,000 unemployed youths in Tunisia who could launch startups. Instead of seeking public sector jobs, they could create jobs for other youths. These unemployed youths need professional training. We wish to see Brazil partake in Tunisia’s restructuring effort,” asserted Jhinaoui.

Also speaking on cooperation in fighting unemployment, Roberto Monteiro Spada, the Foreign Relations director with the National Service of Industry (Senai) in São Paulo, presented the organization’s technical education system, as well as its international cooperation actions. According to Spada, Tunisia can be helped to put in place a similar system for its young people.

Jhinaoui said there are major opportunities in place to increase Brazil-Tunisia trade, and he spoke of having a delegation of Brazilian executives travel to his country. “Our relations remain modest. We hope to welcome in Tunis a Brazilian business delegation with whom we will also discuss investments,” he said.

Orlando Ribeiro, director of the Commercial Promotion Department at the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, remarked that in 2016, Brazil-Tunisia trade reached USD 245 million, with USD 197 million in sales from Brazil and USD 48 million in sales from Tunisia.

According to him, there is a big list of goods which Brazil exports and which could be of interest to Tunisia. “From aircraft to cereals, including plastic products and footwear,” he said. To the diplomat, Tunisia could also increase the list of goods it exports to Brazil. At this time, Tunisia’s top-selling items to Brazil are aluminum fluoride, radio transmitter parts, and olive oil.

Aurea Santos/ANBA

Hannun: working for Tunisian trade with South America

Arab Brazilian Chamber president Rubens Hannun discussed the organization’s work to foster Tunisia’ s trade not only with Brazil, but also with other South American countries.

“We are looking into how to fast-track the Tunisia-Mercosur [free trade] agreement. We are also pooling together the Arab-South American chambers of commerce, which will be able to discuss the Tunisia-Mercosur agreement under Brazilian leadership,” he said.

Also in attendance were Mohamed Soltani, Tunisian ambassador to Brasília; Thomas Zanotto, director of Fiesp’s International Relations and Foreign Trade Department; Marcia Maro, Brazilian ambassador to Tunisia; Aziza Hetira, president of the Export Promotion Center (Cepex); Mounir Romdhani, head of cabinet to the Tunisian minister of Development and International Cooperation; and Rami Jebali, representing the Tunisian Ministry of Tourism.

Also on the schedule of the Tunisian delegation in Brazil is a Brazil-Tunisia Business Council meeting this Wednesday, and Jhinaoui will have meetings in Brasília on Thursday and Friday.

*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

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