Exports of textiles and garments from Tunisia grew by 6% in 2013 on the previous year totalling just over TND5.2bn (US$3.26bn).

According to figures from customs and the country's export agency, exports of garments increased by 7%, with jeans (+13.4%) and lingerie/swimwear (+10.4 %) recording the strongest growth. 

Exports to France, the biggest market for Tunisia's textile and garments, rose by 5.5% on 2012 to TND1.8bn. However, shipments to its second largest market, Italy, fell by 2.6% to TND1.4bn due to poor economic conditions in the country.

Exports to smaller European markets fared better, with Germany rising in value by 18.2%, and Spain and the UK by 10% and 33.4% respectively.

"This was a good performance given the gloominess of European markets and the complex socio-political climate in Tunisia," said Jean-François Limantour, president of trade body, the Cercle Euro-méditerranéen des Dirigeants Textile-Habillement (CEDITH).

"The adoption of a new constitution, the forming of a technocratic government, the withdrawal from power of Islamic radicals and the prospect of legislative and presidential elections, suggests that Tunisia will finally become, after numerous months of political uncertainty, the first veritable democracy in the Arab world. This should raise foreign investor confidence," Limantour added.