AmCham studies the challenges faced by companies exporting to the US market

Tunis March 12, 2018

Amcham Tunisia led a market survey among its members and the business community during January 2018 in order to fix the challenges faced by companies exporting to the US market.

The US market is strong with a population of 325 million consumers and a GDP per capita of 57,254 USD (2016). According to the US Census Bureau, Tunisian exports to the US market in 2017 are about 462 million dollars versus imports of an amount of 551 million dollars.

In a general context, the US market is not a traditional market for the Tunisian exporters. The Amcham notes through this study that most of its members share a relatively recent experience even for companies achieving maturity. This market requires important investments at the level of labeling, sanitary standards, the cost of prospecting and products adjustments, etc. It is not thus within the reach of modest companies or young entrepreneurs without export experience.

The companies surveyed unanimously tackled the issue of bureaucracy (mainly export certifications), of harbors’ infrastructure, of penalizing customs taxes but evenly of the penalizing administrative process. A new fact these last years which is the companies need to be able to access international electronic payment in order to be willing to penetrate markets through online sales (Amazon Paypal, Ebay, etc.).

The study also raises the prospect of the exporters to receive subsidies and aids from the administration that consider that the international competitiveness must be supported by these state aids.

The conclusions of this study and the opportunities identified in the US market strengthen the Amcham’s conviction of the need to support a policy of developing a qualified Tunisian brand image in the USA and in high value-added markets. The Amcham supports the requests of its members who look for some reforms in the export procedures.

It should be noted that the American Chamber of Commerce in Tunisia set up “Tunisia Export Lab” funded by MEPI (Middle East Partnership Initiative, State Department) having for objective the development of Tunisian exports of 45 companies operating in the agribusiness, craft and digital sectors towards the United States.

Naceur Hidoussi

President, AmCham Tunisia