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2017 †N7-8(148-149)
The weekly reports by the State Commodity and Raw Materials Exchange of Turkmenistan present a clear view of the current export potential of the national economy. It is easy to see that the share of textile products in the total exports is steadily growing.
The strategy of diversification and comprehensive modernization of Turkmenistan's economy provides for the leading role of the textile industry with its powerful manufacturing infrastructure and raw materials base. As the demand for cotton fiber products increases around the world, the national textile industry sees greater export opportunities.
Turkmenistan's textile industry has got greater export opportunities owing to the enormous transformations that occurred in the national light industry in the last quarter of a century. If in the first years of independence Turkmenistan's enterprises were able to process only a small fraction of generous cotton harvests, nowadays almost all raw cotton coming from agricultural lands is processed domestically. The end products of processing include a wide range of yarn and fabrics, as well as a huge range of finished products.
The manufacturing of first-class fabrics gave a powerful impetus to the development of the sewing and knitting sectors of the national textile industry and saturation of the domestic market with beautiful and high-quality national products that successfully replace the imported goods. A major reconstruction of the country's leading garment factories made it possible to significantly increase the output of ready-made clothes.
The implementation of the import substitution program that provides for construction of new industrial plants or re-profiling of existing ones is an important factor for the balanced development of all sectors of the industry. The efficient implementation of this task allowed Turkmenistan to significantly reduce imports due to the domestic production of a wide range of high-quality goods at affordable prices. Thanks to significant investments in construction of new high-tech enterprises with the support of foreign partners, the domestic market is now saturated with a great variety of products that yield to no imported goods.
One of the illustrative examples of the successful import substitution is the government's order for the Turkmen textile workers to design and manufacture sportswear as part of the country's preparations for the V Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games. The textile enterprises of Turkmenistan have produced sets of outfits for various sports, clothes and accessories with the emblem and symbols of the Asian Games - 2017 for the successful holding of the Games and creation of the country's solid image as a sports power. The design of ceremonial uniforms for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games, suits for the national team of Turkmenistan, special outfits for volunteers and personnel feature the patterns of traditional national ornaments in combination with the modern patterns. The symbols of the Asian Games decorate both popular souvenirs manufactured by the textile enterprises and various home textiles that are in great demand.
The upgraded production basis of the industry accounts for about seven dozen facilities, including large complexes, cotton spinning, weaving, sewing and knitting and silk plants. They make it possible to manufacture up to 118 thousand tons of cotton yarn and 178 million square meters of fabrics per year. These numbers considerably exceed the domestic consumption, leaving a significant share - 70 percent - of Turkmenistan's total textile output for exports. Foreign customers like these products for their ecological friendliness and high technological quality.
New industries that have never existed in Turkmenistan serve the purposes of increasing the export potential of the textile industry. For example, a workshop for textile waste processing with the capacity of 5 thousand tons of regenerated fiber per year has been established on the basis of the Ashgabat textile complex. In the near future, this new processing line will be producing goods that are in great demand in many foreign countries. In addition, the programs for production-technical re-equipment of the industry are being developed. The under-construction infrastructure of new industrial plants is designed to ensure high competitiveness of Turkmenistan's products abroad.
At the same time, however strong export potential of the textile industry may be, enormous efforts should be made to promote products to the international markets with the view of full-scale implementation of such potential. Figuratively speaking, the full-flowing textile rivers should be diverted into reliable channels towards a greater consumer interest.
Reaching a consumer market of the big economic partner such as Russia is one of the promising areas of work for Turkmenistan's textile industry. Over the past few years, a partnership dialogue between trade and industry organizations of the two countries has significantly intensified. The purposeful work of the bilateral intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation created conditions for partnership relations between the relevant bodies of the two countries.
This is evidenced by the large-scale business forums held in St. Petersburg, Belgorod, Yekaterinburg and Ashgabat, which helped to lay a solid foundation for direct interstate cooperation. The continuous and live professional dialogue is maintained through regular meetings and consultations between business structures of the two countries.
In fact, a delegation of Turkmen businessmen visited the Russian capital last spring at the invitation of the Moscow Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI). The Russian and Turkmen businessmen held at a round table meeting at the MCCI to discuss prospects for the expansion of export opportunities. Following the recommendations of the tenth meeting of the intergovernmental Russian-Turkmen commission, the visiting delegation organized an exhibition of Turkmen goods for promising Russian buyers.
The exchange of views helped the meeting participants to identify the key areas of development of the trade and economic partnership between the industry-related enterprises and organizations of the two countries and establish new business contacts. Both delegations exchanged recommendations with the view of increasing export offers for the near future. A significant share of offers to which the Russian side showed a great deal of interest came from the textile industry of Turkmenistan for a wide range of products, such as cotton yarn, gray and printed fabrics, hosiery, ready-made garments and knitwear, bed linens, home textiles.
Strengthening the position of Turkmenistan's textile industry in the Russian market was largely facilitated by the Trade House "Turkmentekstil" that specializes both in selling national textile products and providing consulting services for Russian business structures interested in establishing direct trade and economic ties with Turkmen partners. The demand for this kind of organization was confirmed by the great interest in cooperation on the part of representatives of the core Russian enterprises.
In the last year alone, direct partnerships were established in large Russian regions: St. Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Altai Territory, Tatarstan, and Krasnodar Territory. The large Russian retail chain "Rio" is among the permanent partners of the Trade House "Turkmentextil".
The group of leading partners of Turkmen textile workers includes BTK Group of Companies, which is the largest vertically integrated holding of the Russian light industry.
This Russian company specializes in manufacturing high-tech textiles, designing and producing clothing and footwear, including uniforms, professional and special clothes for business, casual and outdoor clothing. It boasts a modern manufacturing base that includes 13 enterprises in the Russian Federation, the Republic of Belarus and the Republic of South Ossetia.
The company's facilities can ensure the output of up to 5 million pieces of garment and 17 million pieces of knitwear. The textile facilities of BTK are capable of producing 25 million meters of synthetic and mixed fabrics, as well as knitted fabrics. Among the clients of BTK are OJSC Aeroflot - Russian Airlines, OJSC Rossiya Airlines, OJSC Russian Railways, OJSC Gazprom Gazoraspredeleniye, ministries and departments of Russia.
The interest in cooperation shown by such reputable Russian partner as BTK Group of Companies provides convincing evidence of the great export opportunities for the enterprises of Turkmenistan's textile industry in the Russian market.
Most importantly, Turkmen textile products have already received high praise from regular Russian buyers. Goods labeled "Made in Turkmenistan" are best sellers in the shopping centers of Moscow and Ivanovo, St. Petersburg and Nizhny Novgorod. High quality, adequate consumer properties, affordable prices of underwear and terry towels, sports suits and T-shirts, jeans and polo shirts, bed linens and socks are the best way to win the buyer's trust. This means that the Turkmen textile products are ready to take their place in the Russian market for a pretty long time.


©Turkmenistan Analytic magazine, 2005