Ambassador Blome’s Remarks  at Launch of Tunisia OECD Competition Assessment Report

Ambassador Blome’s Remarks  at Launch of Tunisia OECD Competition Assessment Report

Tunis, September 18, 2019

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning!  Sabaah – El – Kheer!

It is a pleasure to be with you this morning at the launch of the OECD Competition Assessment Review for Tunisia. I would like to extend my gratitude to Minister Ladhari, Mr. Ben Mahmoud as well as all other Government of Tunisia officials for their collaboration on this project. I would also like to thank Mr. Schuknecht and colleagues at the OECD for your excellent work. Finally, thank you also to Mr. Anthony Welcher and colleagues from the Millennium Challenge Corporation for your commitment to supporting this study.

I am proud that the US Government has partnered with the Government of Tunisia and the OECD to conduct this assessment of barriers to competition in strategic sectors of the Tunisian economy.  An open, fair and competitive business environment is critical for an inclusive and dynamic economy and private sector in Tunisia.  In recent years, the Government of Tunisia has undertaken important reforms to improve the business climate, such as the Investment Law and a law enabling public-private partnerships. The recommendations in this report will allow the Government to continue business climate reform work in key sectors which will result in lower barriers to entry for new firms, including small and medium enterprises, more choices for businesses and consumers, and lower costs of goods and services.

This report is an important input to the compact program that the Government of Tunisia and the Millennium Challenge Corporation are developing and aiming to finalize next year.  Specifically, OECD’s recommendations will contribute to the Compact’s planned Business Climate Modernization Project, which aims to create a more transparent, accessible and equitable business environment.  MCC’s planned work on improving Tunisia’s business climate will complement other United States Government assistance programs. This includes a recently announced $335 million USAID program designed to boost economic and social development through encouraging entrepreneurship and improving governance.

In addition, USAID’s ongoing Tunisia Jobs, Opportunities, and Business Success (JOBS) program is assisting small and medium enterprises and addressing market and policy constraints to improve the business climate.  These programs aim to improve the business climate both for Tunisian companies as well as for foreign investors.  In addition to supporting growth, I hope this assistance will also lead to more opportunities for trade and investment from American companies in Tunisia.  Ultimately, in order to realize economic benefits, the intensive work of implementing the recommendations in this report will be key and the United States Government is proud to be able to work with the Government of Tunisia on the execution of these reforms.

In the coming months, I look forward to learning more about how these reforms will be implemented through the planned compact between MCC and the Government of Tunisia.

Thank you for your attention and thank you again to all stakeholders that worked to bring us to the launch of this report.