(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) The European Union launched negotiations on a free trade agreement with Tunisia on Tuesday. "The EU stands by Tunisia to support its economic and political reform, and to help the country move forward. Closer trade relations play an important role here," EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom wrote, dpa reported.
Tunisia is the second country in the region to enter into free trade negotiations with the EU, following Morocco in 2013. Exploratory talks have also taken place with Egypt and Jordan.The 28-member bloc is Tunisia's first trading partner, Malmstrom said, receiving almost three quarters of the country's exports last year and providing more than half of its imports.
Tunisian Trade Minister Ridha Lahouel said the EU would have to take into account the different levels of development between his country and the bloc.