New exchange code: Foreign currency accounts, PayPal and cryptocurrency, what will change?

The alleged draft of the project Exchange code which leaked sparked a lively controversy among experts in finance and economics as well as all economic actors who saw it as a coercive code which cannot ensure the revival of an economy in “slow light” mode or restore confidence with the private sector or players in the new highly technological economy and, as a bonus, startups. The Ministry of Finance, leader of the new exchange law, quickly denied the authenticity of the leaked document, ensuring that it is not the version actual project.

Sihem Boughdiri Nemssia, Minister of Finance, spoke on express FM outlining the main points of the new exchange code. She declared that the government took into account the specificities of the current economic context and that it involved all economic players in its development. She affirmed that the new exchange code took into consideration new economies as well as new means of payment, namely digital transactions and international electronic payment systems.

As a bonus, the new exchange code addresses the status of resident and non-resident. To benefit from it, you are no longer obliged to reside for 2 years, but 6 months continuously or discontinuously and carry out an activity in an economic sector.

the principle of liberalization has been adopted within the framework of the new exchange code and that authorization will be an exception

Regarding legal entities, for a company to benefit from non-resident status, its head office must be located abroad or if in Tunisia, it must have authorization. Companies that can benefit from this status are those that are fully exporters, international trade companies, or companies offering international services.

The minister assured that the principle of liberalization has been adopted within the framework of the new exchange code and that the authorization will be an exception.

The legal articles of the new exchange code encourage and support, says the minister, investment. This whether it concerns foreign investors or investments made by Tunisian operators abroad.

Total liberalization of foreign investment and freedom of repatriation of profits

With regard to foreign investments, the principle of total liberalization has been adopted. From now on, no foreign investor is subject to authorization from the BCT when launching or financing their project. But not only that, he has complete freedom to repatriate his profits and, in the event of liquidation, the corresponding amounts.

Foreign investors also have complete freedom to subscribe to debt securities issued by the State or other institutions. The right to subscribe now goes from 20% to 100%.

Tunisian companies now have the right to freely transfer funds when investing abroad in compliance with certain criteria.

Tunisian companies now have the right to freely transfer funds when they invest abroad while respecting certain criteria. The minister did not explain what criteria these are and whether or not these criteria can be blocking or even contradictory with the principle of total liberalization, which has been granted to foreigners.

Let's wait and see.

Another new feature: Tunisian companies can now take out loans from foreign financial institutions.

Natural and legal persons, who have accounts in hard currencies and invest these funds in Tunisia, can now convert their profits into foreign currencies, as is the case for foreign investors. Companies that carry out activities involving transactions in foreign currencies can also open a foreign currency account.

Tunisian companies now have the right to freely transfer funds when investing abroad in compliance with certain criteria.

Operators who benefit from the status of approved foreign exchange operator now have complete freedom to transfer currencies abroad to make investments.

Regarding freelancers and startups, the minister indicated that they can today have accounts in hard currencies or convertible dinars and that they can use their income to cover their expenses abroad.

THE PayPal has also entered the new code, thus individuals and businesses can open payment accounts accepted by electronic payment systems in response to the insistent requests of those concerned regarding the use of their foreign currency income. They can now recover their dues by opening foreign currency accounts and can also use their foreign currency assets to cover their expenses abroad.

Individuals now have the possibility of opening accounts abroad to cover their training, study or work expenses.

Individuals now have the possibility of opening accounts abroad to cover their training, study or work expenses. Under the new exchange code, persons residing abroad, whether legal or natural, who sign service contracts with foreign partners in Africa, Arab countries or Europe, can open accounts on place within the framework of their service contracts.

Regarding the “ cryptocurrency “, it is now possible to conclude transactions via this payment method with prior authorization from the BCT from certain amounts and by committing to repatriate the profits resulting from the conversion of these assets into currency.

Regarding penalties relating to exchange offenses, the penalties incurred for the most serious have been reduced from 5 to 3 years accompanied by fines in the event of failure to declare assets abroad or cryptographic assets, the non restitution of profits in Tunisia, or failure to comply with the obligation to deposit amounts in foreign currency with an intermediary as well as those who carry out currency exchanges outside legal frameworks, and others. For other foreign exchange offenses, penalties will be limited to fines, the magnitude of which will vary depending on the seriousness of the offense committed.

ABA

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