As Tunisia strives to expand commercial ties with the U.S., it may find opportunities for greater economic partnership at the state-level, said American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL) delegates today.
A delegation of the ACYPL – composed of eight young American politicians and policymakers from different U.S. states – is currently visiting Tunisia where it met today with board members of the Tunisian American Chamber of Commerce (TACC).
“They [the delegates] are not people, who are coming from Washington, D.C.,” said Mohamed Malouche, president and founding member of Tunisian American Young Professionals (TAYP).
This is significant because the Tunisian government and other organizations like TACC may find more opportunities to strengthen economic relations with the U.S., going directly to states rather than to the federal government first.
“The U.S. is not only Washington, D.C., and investors are in general coming from outside of Washington,” said Malouche.
TAYP, the association that Malouche helped found in 2011, seeks to facilitate the flow of investments and commercial exchange between the U.S. and Tunisia through its network of members located in both countries.
Malouche recounted, “When we went to Chicago, when we went to Atlanta, we had much more success in our message than when we stayed in Washington.”
And it’s not without any reason that U.S. officials in state governments as well as the local companies they represent are interested in business opportunities abroad. The U.S. is going through a recession, and the local economies in states across the U.S. have been hit hard.
Amanda Reeve, a Republican member of the Arizona House of Representatives, and Colmon Elridge, executive assistant to Kentucky’s governor, both underscored that their respective states are looking globally for economic opportunities to power economic recovery at home.
According to Elridge, the current recession has allowed him to make the point to constituents that “we now [operate] in a global economy and that Kentucky’s survival [is] dependant upon our ability to see and recognize and invest in that global community.”
In such a way, Tunisia may find more opportunities for economic partnership with state governments, who may be able to work more effectively than the federal government in D.C. to connect local businesses with Tunisian ones.
The ACYPL mission arrived in Tunisia this past Saturday and will stay through Thursday, December 13, during which time it will meet with Tunisian government officials and civil society members. The ACYPL’s goal in its visit is to promote mutual understanding and long-lasting relationships between young leaders of Tunisia and the U.S., as well as reinforce bilateral relations.
“One of the reasons I’ve said since day one that I got here that I’ve been feverishly emailing the governor to come to Tunisia next year is recognizing the opportunities of the rebirth of Tunisia,” said Elridge.