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This seminar will take place exceptionally next FRIDAY 4th of November 2016!
TBS Policy and Practice seminar series is organized by the new Major in International Political Economy at the Tunis Business School (TBS), with sponsorship from the World Trade Organization (WTO) Chair and the London School of Economics Middle East Centre. The seminar series will bring together leading analysts, academics, political and civil society actors to explore issues related to Tunisia’s International Political Economy in light of the Transition.
You are cordially invited to join us.
Date: November 4th, 2016
Speakers: Dr. Sami Ben Sassi
Topic: Estimating informal trade across Tunisia’s land borders

Time: 14:00 – 15:30
Place: Smart Center, Tunis Business School, Bir El Kasaa, Morouj. (Location on Google Maps https://goo.gl/yIAjzX )
Bio: After completing a PhD in Economics (University of Paris Nanterre, France), Dr. Sami Ben Sassi joined the University Jaume I (Spain) in 2009. During the period he passed in Spain, he led a research project on the impact of maritime trade on the Mediterranean countries for the Center for Research on the Mediterranean Economies (CREMED). In 2012, Sami started lecturing at the University of Portsmouth. He won an award for his research on the Barcelona process and on modern maritime piracy. Sami joined the Birmingham Business School in January 2013.
Abstract: This paper uses mirror statistics and research in the field to estimate the magnitude of Tunisia’s informal trade with Libya and Algeria. The aim is to assess the scale of this trade and to evaluate the amount lost in taxes and duties as a result as well as to assess the local impact in terms of income generation. The main findings show that within Tunisian trade as a whole, informal trade accounts for only a small share (5 percent of total imports). However, informal trade represents an important part of the Tunisia’s bilateral trade with Libya and Algeria, accounting for more than half the official trade with Libya and more than total official trade with Algeria. The main reasons behind this large-scale informal trade are differences in the levels of subsidies on either side of the border as well as the varying tax regimes. Tackling informal trade is not simply a question of stepping up the number of controls and sanctions, because differences in prices lead to informal trade (and to an increase in corruption levels among border officials) even in cases where the sanctions are severe. As local populations depend on cross-border trade for income generation, they worry about local authorities taking action against cross-border trade. At the same time, customs officials are concerned about the risk of local protests if they strictly enforce the tariff regimes in place. This issue will become even more significant if fuel prices in Tunisia rise again as a result of a reduction in the levels of domestic subsidies.

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