Foreign trade indicators of the Central Asian country reached about 17.9 billion dollars.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Turkmenistan was able to timely transform trade relations with the EAEU member states. Local authorities focused on the circumstances and used their resources for the production of food and agricultural products to ensure the stability of the national economy.
The corresponding statement is supported by statistical data of several economic organizations, analyzed by the correspondent of CentralAsia.news.
Trade volume with the EAEU
According to a report of the EEC Department of Agroindustrial Policy «Analysis of the Access of Agricultural Products, Raw Materials and Foods of the EAEU Member States to the Markets of the Commonwealth of the Independent States, Georgia, and Ukraine», the average per capita income is about 3.5 thousand dollars, while, as in Turkmenistan, the maximum value reaches about 7 thousand dollars.
Most of the GDP of the Central Asian country comes from the industrial sector. At the end of 2019, the country took 37th place in the list of the largest consumers of products of the Eurasian Economic Union.
In 2014-2019, indicators of Turkmenistan in the volume of trade with the EAEU increased by 7,2%. It is important to note that during the period under review, the EAEU reduced the export of agricultural products to Turkmenistan, but imports from the country increased by 8.8 times, amounting to 0.9 million dollars.
In 2018, Turkmenistan imported meat worth 9.9 million dollars, grains worth 9.3 million dollars, sugar, and confectionery worth 11 million dollars, as reported by the International Trade Center. Touching upon the structure of exports of agricultural products, it is important to note that in 2014-2018 Turkmenistan mainly exported natural shellac (43.2%).
Tomatoes are the main export product of Turkmenistan. Their deliveries to the EAEU countries from January to April doubled compared to the same period in 2020 and amounted to 34.7 thousand tons worth 38.1 million dollars. The main buyer is Russia (71% of total exports to the EAEU), followed by Kazakhstan (20.6%) and Kyrgyzstan (8.3%). Insignificant volumes, about 0,1%, were exported to Belarus.
On June 11, the National Statistical Committee of Kyrgyzstan reported that Turkmenistan has become the largest exporter of tomatoes to Kyrgyzstan in January-April 2021. In four months, 5.42 thousand tons of Turkmen tomatoes worth 5.28 million dollars were supplied to the Kyrgyz markets.
Transformation of economic relations
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, economic relations in the world have undergone some transformation. The situation also affected the foreign trade relations of Turkmenistan. Despite several difficulties, the authorities were able to build a new format of trade cooperation with other countries, using their resources for the production of food and agricultural land.
In the first six months of 2021, the growth in agricultural and food production amounted to 136,3%.
It is important to note that the Central Asian country does not aim to completely isolate itself in terms of exports and imports of food and agricultural products. On April 29-30, in Kazan, within the framework of the meeting of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council, it was stated that the establishment of interaction between Turkmenistan and the EAEU member states can contribute to the dynamic course of economic processes in Eurasia.
At the relevant meeting, the Turkmen delegation stated that, despite the coronavirus pandemic, Turkmenistan’s GDP grew by 5,9% in 2020, and the country has resources that arouse interest in economic cooperation with partner states.
At a meeting of the co-chairs of the intergovernmental Russian-Turkmen commission on economic cooperation Alexei Overchuk, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, stressed that the trade between Russia and Turkmenistan increased by more than a third, amounting to almost 1 billion dollars in 2020.
The authorities of Turkmenistan take measures to diversify the economy, minimize the consequences of the crisis on the hydrocarbon market. A state program for increasing export volumes and a state program for the production of import-substituting products have been adopted. They provide for the construction of more than 1000 new enterprises.
Trading partners, export and import
According to foreign trade indicators, Turkmenistan’s exports reached 7.7 billion dollars, while imports totaled 10.1 billion dollars. The main trading partners of the country are Turkey (3.7 billion dollars), the United Arab Emirates (1.5 billion dollars), Japan (1.05 billion dollars), China (0.75 billion dollars), and Russia (0.42 billion dollars).
The Central Asian state currently exports mostly natural gas (5.1 billion dollars); petroleum products (1.1 billion dollars), oil (0.61 billion dollars), cotton fiber (0.27 billion dollars), electricity (0.12 billion dollars).
The leaders in the share of imports of Turkmenistan are machines, mechanisms, and equipment (1.68 billion dollars), base metals and products made of them (1.04 billion dollars), stone, plaster, and glass products (0.4 billion dollars), chemical products. industry (0.35 billion dollars), food products (0.34 billion dollars).
Trade and economic relations between Turkmenistan and Belarus, which are characterized by a consistently positive balance for a European country, deserve special attention. The record mark for the export of goods and services was registered in 2013. At the same time, in recent years, there has been a tendency towards a decrease in trade turnover.
In the corresponding direction, there is a noticeable excess of the share of services over the share of goods in the total volume of exports (52.5% and 47,5%, respectively). Significant potential for bilateral cooperation is seen in agriculture, healthcare, education, science and new technologies, and the IT-sphere. Belarus supplies elevators for construction projects and within the framework of the program for replacing old hoisting-and-transport equipment, as well as trucks to Turkmenistan.
A large-scale reform aimed at building a competitive agro-industrial complex in agriculture, strengthening food security, and the export potential is currently underway in Turkmenistan.
The country is now completely self-sufficient in grain production. In 2021, the volume of the grain harvest exceeded 1.4 million tons. If necessary, the surplus of domestic consumption of wheat can be exported to foreign countries. The successful development of fur farming is possible due to the regular work to increase crop yields, active development of arable land, and solving the problems of land reclamation and water supply to agricultural land. The government allocates money for the purchase of modern machinery and equipment for the needs of the agro-industrial complex.
The agricultural sector is in private hands
In recent years, arable land has been actively allocated and transferred for long-term use under the ownership of citizens and private enterprises. The agricultural sector of the country has become more attractive for medium and small businesses.
Local authorities take measures to further expand the scale of private production in order to reliably ensure food abundance and strengthen food security in the country. The entrepreneurs get state support in the cultivation of ecologically clean and high-quality local vegetables and melons, fruits and fodder crops, in the registration of land plots, and the food production.