By Sami Zaptia.
London, 19 August 2020:
The grandly named Supreme Council of Libyan Tunisian Businessmen (SCLTB), an organization that represents one group of Libyan and Tunisian business leaders, called for the full opening of the Libyan Tunisian borders.
It called for the activation of exchange of trade and the removal of trade barriers – with the implementation of health and safety protocols by both sides.
The call was made during a press conference held by the SCLTB yesterday at its Tunis headquarters.
It will be recalled, however, that land and maritime-based trade has been continuing between the two neighbouring countries on a certain level for months now.
Equally, on 13 August, Libya’s Tripoli-based Interior Ministry had announced that it was ready to reopen the country’s borders with Tunisia, subject to adequate preventative health measures being put in place. This was backed up by the country’s prime Coronavirus-fighting agency, the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
In April, 180 goods-laden trucks destined for Libya at the main border crossing were help up for about a month until an exceptional new procedure that took into account the Coronavirus pandemic – was put in place.
On June 21, land-based trade resumed routinely taking into account the new anti-Coronavirus measures. This involved trucks transporting goods from both countries delivering their goods to a neutral ‘‘point zero’’ (no man’s land) – without truck drivers meeting or crossing into the other country. Some business leaders find the process cumbersome and are calling for a faster processing protocol.