In order to request the clearance of containers and trailers parked in Tunisian ports that arrived in Tunisia prior to the customs decision to stop the import of used tires, a group of rubber manufacturers and processors staged an open sit-in in front of the General Directorate of Customs' headquarters. The Confederation of Citizen Businesses of Tunisia (CONECT) Group encouraged the government to find immediate solutions so that these businesses may receive the authorizations required for them to resume their legal operations.

According to the latest news, CONECT stated that the decision to stage the sit-in was made as a result of the supervisory authority's failure to grant the Professional Group of Rubber Industrialists and Transformers' requests.

The General Directorate of Customs indicated in a statement that the group can take legal action, given that it has carried out, as representative of the companies concerned, all the meetings and discussions necessary for this purpose.

For his part, the Chairman of CONECT Group, Amir Ben Harb, emphasized that the General Directorate of Customs has prohibited rubber producers and processors since August 2020 from carrying out their business, importing the raw material (end-of-life tires), and exporting the stock they have.

Ben Harb claims that the decision was made administratively and unilaterally by the former Director of the Office of Exporting Companies at the General Directorate of Customs in response to an environmental decision.

The Customs Directorate had charged the businesses with selling imported used tires in the neighborhood market, he continued.

Additionally, he mentioned that the group had gotten a document from the Ministry of the Environment in January 2022 demonstrating that the import of used tires is not subject to the ban and does not require prior authorization from the ministry.

To protect the interests of industry leaders, the group demanded that the investigation into this complaint be expedited. In Tunisia, businesses have been operating in the rubber processing industry since 2006. For the production and export of finished goods, they import old tires. Due to the activities of the Customs Office, there are now only 18 of these companies instead of 40.

Article by African Manager magazine.