Rades/Tunis is the principal commercial, industrial, and distribution center; most of the import and export houses, banks, and mining firms have their central offices in the city. Other commercial and distribution centers are Sfax, noted for olive oil and phosphate shipments, and Bizerte, known for grain and olive oil. Fairs are held at various times of the year in Sfax, Sousse, Tunis, and other towns. Most businesses are family-owned and operated. The government has posed some resistance to the establishment of foreign firms, particularly foreign franchises. An extensive system of price controls was for the most part eliminated in 1998, but the government still exerts pressure on private firms to show restraint in price increases. The chief advertising media are daily newspapers, outdoor displays, and motion picture theaters. Arabic is the language of sales promotion, French the language of commercial correspondence.
Normal business hours in winter are from 8:30 AM to noon or 1 PM and 3 to 5:45 PM , Monday–Thursday, and from 8 AM to 1 or 1:30 PM on Friday and Saturday; summer hours are 7 AM to 1 PM , six days a week. Banks are open in winter from 8 to 11 AM and 2 to 4 PM , Monday–Thursday, and 8 to 11 AM and 1 to 3 PM on Friday; summer hours, on weekdays, are 8 to 11 AM .