Tunisia and the European Union are in the final phase of negotiations on a comprehensive free trade agreement to be signed at the end of 2019.
The agreement mostly concerns farmers, and Prime Minister Youssef Chahed says his government will not sign any deal that conflicts with their interests.
The PM noted that any agreement will have to take into account the difference between the two parties and be accompanied by a set of measures for agriculture and fishing.
Tunisian NGOs, trade unions, elected officials and economists have all voiced concerns about the accord, criticising its forced liberalisation of the Northern African country’s economy.
Critics fear the deal could worsen Tunisia’s gap in trade and tax deficits and give an unfair advantage to European agricultural and industrial firms.
The deal, which would strengthen an association agreement in place since 1995, has been under negotiation since 2015.
It aims to better integrate the Tunisian economy with that of Europe, in particularly by liberalising trade in services and easing customs barriers.
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