By Publisher Lee Kyung-sik with Editor Kevin Lee, Song Na-ra, Lynda Youn
Ambassador Nabih El Abed of the Republic of Tunisia in Seoul said, “President Kais Saied has a very high regard for President Yoon Suk-yeol and he has presented very warm congratulatory remarks on the election of President Yoon.” This statement was made by Ambassador El Abed of Tunisia in Seoul at an exclusive interview with The Korea Post media at his in Yongsan, Seoul on June 22, 2022.
Then he expressed his hopes that President Yoon would visit Tunisia in the very near future, which he was sure, would highly contribute to the promotion of the relations of friendship and which would meet the mutual aspirations for further progress in the political, economic and various other fields.
Ambassador El Abed then said that “we have success stories in the history of our bilateral cooperation with the Republic of Korea, which constitute a solid foundation on which we can build in the future.”
He said, “President Yoon's visit to Tunisia during his term will serve as a good opportunity to enhance bilateral relations between the two countries.”
Excerpts from the interview with Ambassador El Abed follow:
Question: What do you think about the newly elected South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol?
Answer: He embodies a new hope for our bilateral relationship, President Kais Saied of Tunisia sent a congratulatory message to President Yoon in May this year, saying “We welcome and sincerely congratulate President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol on his election as the new President of the Republic of Korea. As the international community faces major transformations and change, Tunisia hopes to upgrade its relations with Korea.”
Q: What the areas in your country where you want Korean companies to invest?
A: We think that Korean companies would gain much from investing in Tunisia, a particularly competitive economy that offers businesses an environment of higher quality than those found in main competing countries. Tunisia is also a key offshore destination with more than 3,708 foreign companies settled in There, providing almost 416,500 jobs. In a business environment like that of many countries of southern Europe, where they enjoy more attractive incentives. So, I think Korean companies should take full advantage of all of that to invest in knowledge economy, in automobile industry and in all areas with high added value.
As it is already the case for Hyundai, Kia and many Korean big companies that have already invested in Tunisia.
Moreover, many Tunisian people love Korean products, such as mobile phone, consumer products and K-drama. Korean products are very popular in particular with the younger generation in Tunisia.
Q: Korea’s small and medium-sized enterprises are also very competitive. What do you think about their advance in your country?
A: Tunisia is also eager to see many competitive and high technology –armed Korea’s smaller companies doing business here.
In May, a Korean business and trade mission consisting of 70 big and smaller companies visited Tunisia to search for new business opportunities.
In a separate move, Tunisia has participated in the Import Goods Fair (IGF) held at COEX in Seoul from June 23 by establishing a Tunisia booth where we will introduce 50 Tunisian food products to Korean companies and consumers, including different kinds of organic products such as olive oil, dates and other type such as pasta and processed food.
Q: How about the travel situation in Tunisia at a time when the COVID-19 epidemic is subsiding gradually?
A: The Tunisian government has lifted all restrictions on travel. There is no vaccination requirement and, no quarantine procedure. Also, Korean travelers are most welcome to visit Tunisia without visa.
We hope the number of Korean visitors to Tunisia will very soon return to the 2019 level.
With just five days of itinerary, Korean travelers can enjoy a combined tour of Tunisia, a varied North African country with influences from the Mediterranean and Europe.
We are very aware of the importance of the Korean tourist market and its magnitude, which is why we decided to take part in the Seoul International Tourism Industry Fair (SITIF) which was held recently from June 23 to 26. 2022. This event was an excellent opportunity to present the Tunisian tourist product to the Korean public and professionals.
Our participation was not only well received by the visitors but also by the organizing committee who awarded us with "the booth contents Award" in reward for "introducing novel and creative ideas in the booth contents.
Tunisia is a truly wonderful country, especially in terms of tourist attractions, including, of course, the ‘irresistibly’ tasty foods. In terms of history and culture, there are not many countries in the world comparable to Tunisia. As the ‘Home of the ancient Carthaginian Empire,’ Tunisia is culturally proud enough to be called a 'roofless museum.'
A Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs literature has an adequate introduction of the wondrous features of Tunisia. Here are excerpts:
Tunisia is a long-time ally of the Republic of Korea.
Since the establishment of Ambassador-level diplomatic relations in 1969, Korea and Tunisia have been cooperating in various fields including culture, science and technology for the past 50-plus years.
On the international stage, Tunisia is a strong ally of Korea and maintains a closely coordinated position for the pursuit of common interests.
Tunisia is a unique, attractive and respectable country.
The land is a little smaller than the Korean peninsula, a little larger than South Korea, and the population is about one-fifth of South Korea.
However, as the home of the ancient Carthaginian Empire, it is culturally proud enough to be called a 'roofless museum'.
Surprising nature and climate are attracting many people from neighboring countries, including Europe.
In the Arab region, Tunisia has maintained a rare solid republican identity.
After the Arab Spring, the country is enthusiastically working to achieve mature democratization.
Unlike neighboring countries, the development strategy to achieve national development through investment in education, trade, and human resources is similar to those of the Republic of Korea because of the lack of natural resources.
Korea and Tunisia have a lot of potential for increased cooperation.
Tunisia is making Korea a development model who has achieved democratization and economic development in a short period of time.
Korea wants to expand her business and trade, and the Korean Wave boom is taking place, including formation of K-Pop clubs.
For Korea, Tunisia is a very, very important country as a strategic bridgehead in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe.
In Tunisia, resident Koreans are known to be building an exemplary Korean community.
Friendship with the open and warm, especially the Tunisian people who are friendly to Korea, is deepening through the medium of the Korean community in Tunisia.
Activities of the Korean businesses in Tunisia in high-tech fields including SMEs, language training, tourism, and IT are naturally laying the foundation for the development of continued and increasing ties of bilateral relations, cooperation and friendship