A vendor displays clothing for sale at "Souk Libya" marketplace in the town of Ben Guerdane, near the Libyan border in Tunisia May 24, 2019. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi
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The town in Tunisia's impoverished south has for decades served as an entrepot for goods, smuggled or imported, 35km across the border from Libya.Around 700 stores have closed in the past eight years as supplies dwindled and prices soared, according to a local traders' association.The fighting nixed a trade deal between Tunisia and Libya which would have allowed travelers to import consumer goods worth 10,000 Libyan dinars ($7,140) to Tunisia, reversing the limits and arbitrary bans previously put on imports by armed groups and officials representing the Libyan state, traders and officials in Ben Guerdane said.Imports of goods into Tunisia have been in decline for more than three years as rival groups in Libya jostle for supremacy.Imports from Libya to Tunisia by land fell to 3,500 tons in April this year from 4,188 tons in April 2010, according to Tunisian customs data.Traders from Tunisia often go on day trips to Libya for business.
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