Tunisia's exports of clothing and textiles during the first ten months to October fell 4.6% to TND7.8bn (US$2.7bn).

According to new data from the National Institute of Statistics, the figures contributed to an overall fall of 3.8% of the country's exports during the ten-month period.

Imports of textiles, clothing and leather fell 7.8%.

According to the re:source by just-style strategic sourcing tool, apparel is an important sector for Tunisia, the second largest behind electronics, accounting for 22% of exports. The country has nearly 1100 garment factories.

Earlier this year Tunisian head of government, Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, signed an agreement with UTICA (the Tunisian Union of Industry, Business and Artisans) and FTTH (the Tunisian Textile and Garment Federation) to create a public/private partnership to push through a five-year recovery and development plan.

The plan involves the government pledging TND100m (US$33m) to boost development and leverage further investment of TND350m (US$115m) from both private sector and private equity funds. The ambition is to create a more vertically integrated supply chain along with 50,000 new jobs by 2023, elevating the Tunisian clothing sector to one the top five producers supplying Europe.