Tunisia distinguishes between “offshore” and “onshore” investment regimes. Offshore investment, in general, supports export-only goods and services (at least 70 percent of the production must be destined for the export market), and it benefits from several incentives including tax breaks. Investments in some sectors can be classified as “offshore” with lower foreign equity. For instance, foreign capital in the agricultural sector cannot exceed 66%, and foreign investors cannot directly own agricultural land. Still, investments in this sector can be classified as “offshore” if they meet the export threshold.
In most non-industrial projects, the “onshore” investment regime limits foreign equity participation at a maximum of 49 percent, unless specifically approved otherwise by the government, in which case the foreign equity rate can reach 100%.
Upon Article 4 of the 2016 Investment Law (entered into force on April 1, 2017), the implementing decree of May 11, 2018 (effective July 1, 2018) regulates those investment categories which are subject to governmental authorization, namely: Natural resources; construction materials; land, sea and air transport; banking, finance, and insurance; hazardous and polluting industries; health; education; telecommunications. If the competent authority does not respond to an investment request within (normally) 60 days, the authorization is considered as automatically granted.
For foreign-exchange transactions require prior approval by the Tunisian Central Bank. Restrictions to foreign-exchange accounts and operations may apply. Certain foreign investors, though, who benefit from tax exemptions are not subject to this requirement.
All non-resident companies (firms having more than 66% foreign ownership) are free to repatriate funds and assets under the new investment law. In turn, firms with foreign ownership below 66% (hence considered resident companies) must request the Central Bank to authorize the repatriation of funds and assets.