Article 4 of Law No. 94-41 of March 7, 1994, relating to Foreign Trade stipulates that “Except in the case of occasional operations without a commercial character, imports and exports of products are carried out by natural or legal persons whose activity involves the use, production or sale of imported or exported products and who exercise in accordance with the regulations governing their activities in Tunisia”
The applicant can file his request for the creation of a customs code at the customs office near his home or at the counter of the Agency for the Promotion of Industry and Innovation (APII). The file contains the following documents:
- The original certificate of registration in the commercial register;
- A request on a specific form to be withdrawn from the nearest customs office or from the office of the Agency for the Promotion of Industry and
- A copy of the tax identity card legalized at the tax control office;
- A copy of the declaration of existence certified by the tax control office;
- A certificate of publication of the notice of creation of the company in the Official Journal of the Tunisian Republic (in the case of a legal person)
- A copy of the status of the company (in the case of a legal person)
- A copy of the applicant’s national identity card or the company’s legal representative
The status of authorized economic operator shall be granted in accordance with an agreement between the General Directorate of Customs and any company established in Tunisia carrying
on an activity related to foreign trade or logistics, subject to trust with the General Directorate of Customs and fulfills a number of conditions:
- The company must have a sound customs, financial and tax situation, in particular during the last three years preceding the date of submission of the application.
- Keep commercial accounts in accordance with the legislation in force, and using computer systems that meet the requirements of customs control.
- Have good situation with social funds.
The status of authorized economic operator allows the operator to benefit from facilities in its transactions with customs services, it is granted according to three categories:
1/ Simplification of customs procedures
2/ Safety and security
For more information on these categories, please consult the provisions of Decree no. 2018-612 of 17 July 2018, laying down the conditions, procedures and procedures for granting, suspending and withdrawing the status of authorized economic operator available on the website: www.legislation.tn
- Bilateral Agreements with Morocco, Jordan, Egypt, Libya, Kuwait, Algeria, Mauritania, Palestine, Syria, Sudan, Senegal, Niger and Turkey.
- Multilateral Agreements with GZALE (Great Arab Free Trade Area with 18 countries, AGADIR (Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt and Jordan) and COMESA (The Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa with 21 members).
- Partnership agreement with the European Union (27 Member States).
- European Free Trade Association EFTA (Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein).
The Pan-Euro-Med zone includes the 27 Member States of the European Union, EFTA (Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein), Turkey, the Faroe Islands and the Euro-Med countries (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and Gaza Strip).
In the context of that zone, cumulation of origin means that materials imported from the partner country are considered to be “originating” in the country where they are used.
The proof of origin can be issued either by EURO-MED or EURO 1 type certificate of origin (which are forms that the exporter must buy, draw up and have customs certified when exporting) or by declaration of origin on DOF invoice (a simple mention affixed to a commercial document specific to the company) according to the two following cases:
- Any trader can issue a DOF if the value of the goods is less than or equal to 6000 euro or its equivalent in local currency.
- Only the approved exporter can issue a DOF regardless of the value of the goods.
- Q: What are the principles of the approved exporter status within the framework of the Pan-Euro-Med zone?
Approved exporter means any exporter frequently carrying out export operations of products originating in one of the countries of the Pan-Euro-Med zone and offering, to the satisfaction of the customs administration, all the guarantees to control the character origin of the goods as well as compliance with all other conditions provided for in the Pan-Euro-Med Protocol on rules of origin.
To benefit from this status, it is necessary to submit an application according to a predefined model to the territorially competent customs office and to subscribe to a commitment by which the exporter is required to honor a certain number of obligations, and in particular, the undertaking not to draw up and issue invoice declarations and EURMED invoice declarations except for goods to be exported which have acquired originating status, which have satisfied all the Pan-Euro-Med rules of origin and for which it has, at the time of issue, all the necessary documents and accounting evidence.
Once the request is registered, the customs office concerned verifies that:
- The exporter carries out frequent and regular exports.
- Material accounts exist for producers allowing the identification of the origin of imported products as well as the origin of the compensating products.
- The company presents sound and regularized situations vis-à-vis the customs administration and other tax administration services.
- The company offers to the satisfaction of the customs administration all the necessary guarantees.
The Tunisian Trade Net (TTN) network provides foreign trade operators (Commercial or industrial importing and exporting companies, freight forwarders and customs agents, air carriers, shipping and airport agents) with an effective solution to simplify, facilitate and ensure the follow-up of the formalities to which they are subject.
In order to benefit from this service and to further optimize transaction costs, foreign trade operators are encouraged to subscribe to the TTN network. For more information, please visit the website of Tunisia Trade net: www.tradenet.com.tn
Easy export enables micro, small and medium-sized companies (MPME) to simplify foreign trade procedures and to access foreign markets through postal networks. The benefits of this program include:
- Access to a single export window through the postal network that brings together the main stakeholders in the export process.
- Access to a web portal containing the necessary information on export operations.
- Accomplish transit and customs clearance formalities in a reduced time.
- Benefit from a 50% reduction on transport costs for craft, agricultural and food products.
For more information, please visit the website: www.easyexport.com.tn
The activities of these companies are governed by Law No. 94-42 of 7 March 1994, laying down the rules applicable to the activities of companies engaged in international trade (Amended and supplemented by Law No. 96-59 of 6 July 1996 and Law No. 98-102 of 30 November 1998).
It should also be noted that fully exporting international trading companies are not involved in the foreign trade procedure (export authorization). In this sense, it is the supplier of the product to be exported by SCI who is required to have the export authorization for a transfer to the dock. On the other hand, partially exporting international trade companies are required to apply for this authorization from the Ministry of Trade for non-free products for export.
The Rules of Origin Facilitator (www.findrulesoforigin.org) is a unique tool designed to provide economic operators with essential market access information through a simple search. It also allows to compare requirements between different bilateral and multilateral agreements.
For each product that the user wishes to export to a predefined destination, this tool provides him with the necessary information on trade agreements and applicable tariff rates. The database also includes product-specific rules of origin as well as provisions on certification of origin.
This means allows users to reduce information search costs and to seize more business opportunities.
- Q: Is there an effective way to find out about OTC (Technical Barriers to Trade) and SPS (Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures) notifications?
The EPING platform (www.eping.org) allows economic operators to easily adapt to changing requirements for different products. Thanks to this tool, the registered user can benefit from a service of alerts by mail on SPS and OTC notifications and access to a database with a multi-criteria search (export market, type of product targeted, type notification…).
It should be noted that sanitary and phytosanitary measures include all laws, decrees, regulations, requirements and procedures applied:
- To protect human and animal life from risks arising from additives, contaminants, toxins or pathogenic organisms in food products;
- To protect human health from diseases carried by plants or animals;
- To protect the life of animals or preserve plants from parasites, diseases or pathogenic organisms;
- To prevent or limit other damage to a country from the entry into the establishment or the spread of pests;
- To protect the health of fish and wildlife, as well as to preserve forests and wild flora
These measures set out in the SPS agreement only cover agricultural products and foodstuffs.
On the other hand, OTC measures target certain non-tariff measures applicable to products: technical regulations (which are mandatory requirements), standards (which are not mandatory) and conformity assessment procedures (aiming to verify compliance with technical regulations and/or standards). These measures set out in the OTC Agreement cover trade in all goods (agricultural and industrial products).
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