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More productive Middle-Eastern firms exporting more?




How do Maghreb and Middle-Eastern SMEs shape up when it comes to exporting? Does a productive company export more? Alfred Tovias, professor of international relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Jan Michalek, professor of economics at the University of Warsaw, revealed the preliminary results of their study at the FEMISE annual conference in Athens on 14th February last*.



Alfred Tovias, professor of international relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. (Photo N.B.C)
Alfred Tovias, professor of international relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. (Photo N.B.C)
Tovias and Michalek chose productivity as the principal variable in the study, funded by the Forum Euro-Méditerranéen des Instituts de Sciences Economiques (FEMISE) and due to be published at the end of summer.
Workforce productivity, size and number of years in business, level of research and development and share capital structure all have a bearing on a company's ability to position their products in foreign markets. At the FEMISE annual conference on 14th February, 2016, Alfred Tovias, professor of international relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Jan Michalek, professor of economics at the University of Warsaw, revealed the preliminary results of the study.

"We are working on the determinants of companies' exports in MENA countries compared with those in Central and Eastern Europe (that have joined the European Union), Turkey and Israel. We wanted to know whether exports are dependent upon a company's level of productivity. In the Eastern European countries and Israel, productivity is a factor in companies' ability to export," explains Tovias.

"Tunisian businesses are export-oriented from the word 'go'"

"In MENA countries (Egypt, Israel, Morocco, Jordan), foreign technology plays a big part in the ability to export," says Jan Michalek.

This can be put down to innovation, since the companies regularly launch new products and invest huge sums in research and development. "We also note that they work with universities," points out Alfred Tovias, who also mentions another peculiarity, "In Tunisia and Morocco, it's not the newly-founded companies who export. These foreign-owned Tunisian start-ups are an integral part of the international production chain. They export finished and semi-finished products. The traditional firms from before the transition concentrated on the domestic market."

A specialist in economic relations in Mediterranean countries, Alfred Tovias joined the FEMISE at its inception in 1996. In the studies he has carried out for the FEMISE, he has worked with universities in Europe (France, Poland) and the Mediterranean (Morocco, Turkey). In 2005, he published a study on the Israeli economy in association with economists from both sides of the Mediterranean.
 
* To find out more on the FEMISE conference, click here


Nathalie Bureau du Colombier à Athènes


Tuesday, March 29th 2016



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