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Shipping route sets course for trade boon

China Daily | Updated: 2017-12-04 07:21

Containers are offloaded from a ship in the Tunisian port city of Rades, near the capital Tunis, September 28, 2015. [Photo/VCG]

TUNIS - The launch of a new shipping route will help Tunisia recover its regional positioning and enhance China's presence in the African continent, experts and investors have said.

The Spanish company Transglory inaugurated the maritime trade route that will link Tunisia's Rades port and Qingdao, Shandong province.

"Importing and exporting to and from this Chinese destination are consolidating similar services from other leading ports," said Louis Florensa, chief of Transglory's Development Department.

"Our main challenge, now fulfilled, is to be the preferential partner of Tunisian importers, with four weekly services from Hong Kong, Ningbo and two others in Shanghai."

Khaled Ben Abdallah, the director of foreign trade department at Tunisian Ministry of Industry and Trade, believes the launch of the line could generate a triangular trade platform linking China, East Africa and Tunisia.

He said the route will bring together all kinds of services, including health, tourism, equipment and information and communication technologies.

Tunisia has been trying to keep its African position despite its worsening trade deficit. By the end of October this year, Tunisia's trade deficit rose to 13 billion dinars (about $5 billion), from 10.78 billion dinars during the same period in 2016, according to the National Institute of Statistics of Tunisia (INS).

Imports reached 40.85 billion dinars, but exports were 27.64 billion dinars, according to INS.

The deficit mainly resulted from trade with some partners such as China, Italy and Turkey. With China, the deficit is 3.64 billion dinars, according to the INS of Tunisia.

"In the first 10 months of this year, we have seen a worsening of the trade deficit with China of about 486.8 million dinars," said Abdallah.

With adequate logistics that can link Tunisia and China economically, Abdallah believes the shipping line will give China greater access to North Africa.

"Political stability, security and a long-term strategy are already there to augur a successful future between Tunisia and China in trade and global economic partnership," Abdallah said.

Xinhua

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