St. Petersburg Develops Trade Ties With Turkmenistan

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Another result in the trend of Russia’s regional Governments taking the initiative to expand international trade ties has arisen with the Governor of St. Petersburg, Alexander Beglov, holding trade and investment discussions with the President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov.

During the meeting, the sides discussed concrete steps to implement the agreements reached previously at the SPIEF conference earlier this year, and outlined in the roadmap for cooperation in trade, economic, scientific, technical, cultural and humanitarian fields for 2020-2025.

Among the main areas of partnership were energy, transport and communications, construction, road transport infrastructure and shipbuilding, investment and digitalization. At the same time, interaction in the construction of smart cities is of particular importance.

Berdimuhamedov noted that currently Turkmenistan is ready to supply agricultural products, textile and petrochemical industries, as well as other goods manufactured in the country.

At the same time, the sides stressed that an important component of the Turkmen-Russian relations is the humanitarian field, where a productive dialogue has been established in the field of education and training, science and culture. Touching upon this topic, they spoke in favor of further deepening fruitful ties in this area.

Russian companies are also eager to invest in Turkmenistan’s gas and chemicals industries.

Alexander Blokhin, Moscow’s envoy to Ashgabat, evinced relative indifference to the fate of the European market, which he described as a dead-end for Russia. Countries such as Turkmenistan offer new potential. “For example, we are prepared to get involved in reconstruction of Maryazot and have been negotiations concerning a nitrogen fertilizer plant in the Mary province.”

Russia is eager to show that heavy industry isn’t the be-all and end-all of the economic relationship, though. The volume of Turkmen agricultural exports to Russia in January-May 2022 saw a 30% increase on 2021. Once energy resources are factored out of the equation, the numbers for overall trade are relatively modest, yet still growing. Russia-Turkmenistan trade turnover in 2021 was US$865 million, whereas in the first five months of 2022 it was US$278 million, which is an 18% increase Year-on-Year.  

Trade should also develop with Turkmenistan via the Caspian Sea Routes, which extend from Turkmenbashi Port and can reach Russia’s Astrakhan and Olya Caspian Ports in about 30 hours. From there, connection to St. Petersburg via rail covers just under 2,000km and takes just 36 hours.

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