THE STRATEGY OF DIVERSIFICATION
The trade and exhibition pavilion "Turkmenistan" officially opened this autumn at Moscow's largest wholesale and retail food center "Food City."
The Eurasian Business Union, the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Russia and Turkmenistan, as well as the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Turkmenistan cosponsored the new project with the view of developing trade and economic partnership between the two countries. The Turkmen pavilion joined many other Food City's trading platforms of Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Israel, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Macedonia, Pakistan, South Korea and several regions of the Russian Federation.
The compact placement of pavilions in one space allows the manufacturers and buyers to make contracts for supply of products without intermediaries, thus significantly saving on costs. This results in establishing the commodity distribution system, cooperative and trade relations between food producers from many countries who have already joined or will join the global trading platform in the near future.
As part of the presentation of the new pavilion, Russian and Turkmen businessmen held a series of negotiations on bilateral cooperation and acquainted themselves with the samples of products displayed at the pavilion. As the project develops, the range of goods will increase, the Turkmen businessmen said.
This example is only one episode of the rapid development and strengthening of partnership between business structures of Turkmenistan and Russia. As a whole, the system of trade and economic contacts between the two countries has changed quite a lot in recent years, and it is structurally adapting to the current requirements.
If in the past the two countries' interaction in the fuel and energy sector made up the lion's share of trade between Turkmenistan and Russia, nowadays the priority seems to have shifted towards increasing business contacts and the range of goods in import-export operations.
This trend has not emerged overnight. It has been the result of the multifaceted painstaking work on establishing strong economic ties between the sides. Regular business forums with participation of a wide range of representatives of business structures of the two countries provide clear evidence of new trends in development of bilateral economic partnership.
The IV Russian-Turkmen economic forum held four years ago in the administrative center of Belgorod region of Russia was one of such landmark events. The forum was one of the activities held as part of the chairmanship of Turkmenistan's Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Council of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the CIS countries in 2013.
It was not accidental that Belgorod was chosen as a venue of such high-level forum. This Russian region and Turkmenistan maintain strong trade and economic, scientific-technical and humanitarian relations. Belgorod region is also involved in Turkmenistan's large-scale program of trade-economic and humanitarian integration with the regions of the Russian Federation that is actively supported by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. A lot of boys and girls from Turkmenistan study at Belgorod's higher education establishments. Turkmen consumers know very well the products of industrial enterprises of Belgorod region. The Belgorod Bakery Equipment Plant already proved a reliable partner of specialized companies in the cities of Turkmenistan. A lot of bridge structures produced in Belgorod find their way to the many construction sites in Turkmenistan.
The Belgorod forum participants sought to broaden their vision of partnership prospects as much as possible. The Russian side was represented by the heads and leading specialists of relevant ministries, departments, research and educational institutions, including the Academy of Sciences of the Russian Federation, the administration of Belgorod region, large enterprises, companies and firms operating in various sectors of the economy.
The program of the forum included plenary sessions, round tables and bilateral meetings, visits to the enterprises of Belgorod region. The panelists discussed the expansion of cooperation in the field of agriculture, trade, construction, transport and communications, housing and communal services and energy. The discussions also covered issues related to the future development of the Turkmen-Russian cooperation in science and education, healthcare and medical industry, energy, chemical industry, transportation and communications.
As part of the forum, the representatives of government agencies of Turkmenistan and enterprises of Belgorod region, as well as other regions of the Russian Federation held bilateral meetings, during which the potential investors made their proposals for cooperation. The forum participants supported the idea of increasing fruitful relations in various fields, noting the mutual interest in strengthening the long-term efficient partnership.
During the meetings on the last day of the forum, the representatives of the business community of Belgorod region noted that Russia, being one of the leaders in the field of advanced technologies, is ready to offer the latest scientific and industrial solutions prioritized by modern Turkmenistan. In this regard, the forum participants held a detailed discussion of the prospects of launching new joint projects in strategic areas of bilateral cooperation. Agriculture, food-processing industry, construction, transport, as well as education, science and healthcare were named the major areas of cooperation.
Speaking of the importance of the business forum, the participants noted that it focused on finding effective forms of business partnership and expanding the areas of cooperation in order to better use the economic and intellectual capacities of the regions of Turkmenistan and the Russian Federation.
Commenting on the results of work, the Russian partners noted that their deep confidence in the prospects of expansion of comprehensive relations with Turkmenistan is supported by the atmosphere of goodwill and mutual understanding which is traditionally dominant in the bilateral relations.
The fifth Turkmen-Russian economic forum held in the city of Yekaterinburg, an administrative center of Sverdlovsk region of the Russian Federation, was another important milestone in the history of bilateral partnership. The forum was attended by the delegation of Turkmenistan consisting of the heads of leading ministries and departments, as well as members of the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs.
The Russian side at the business forum was represented by the heads of state-owned organizations, as well as representatives of major enterprises and companies specializing in the field of information and communication technologies, pharmaceuticals and healthcare, design and construction, chemical industry, mechanical engineering, metallurgy and other fields.
During the forum, the sides exchanged views on the issues related to increasing cooperation in the sphere of trade and economy, fuel and energy complex, agriculture, textile, food and chemical industries. They also discussed the efficient forms of bilateral cooperation.
The forum noted that the strategic intergovernmental Turkmen-Russian dialogue is developing successfully in many areas. Building up bilateral relations with the regions and largest industrial and cultural centers of the Russian Federation is one of the priorities of the foreign policy strategy of Turkmenistan. This is vividly exemplified by Turkmenistan's cooperation with the Republic of Tatarstan, St. Petersburg, Astrakhan region and other regions of the Russian Federation.
As part of the plenary session, the Turkmen side briefed their Russian colleagues on the key aspects of the economic strategy of Turkmenistan that provides for the diversification of the national economy through introduction of new technologies and advanced management techniques, gradual transition to the market economy and support for private enterprises.
Speaking at the forum, the Russian partners confirmed their readiness to strengthen and develop business contacts with Turkmenistan. According to the sides, there are great prospects for the expansion of bilateral trade and implementation of joint projects. One of the forms of communication at the forum was "the exchange of contracts", i.e. the bilateral meetings between the forum participants to establish direct partnerships. Describing the ongoing process of strengthening the Russian-Turkmen business contacts in its entirety, the forum participants noted their willingness to look for fundamentally new forms of cooperation that promise visible mutual benefit.
The efforts of representatives of the Turkmen textile industry are very significant in terms of increasing cooperation.
For example, 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 a round table meeting at the MCCI to discuss prospects of improving 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 the 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 in both selling national textile products and providing consulting services for the 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 the Russian industry-related enterprises.
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.
All these examples make it possible to confirm that the process of diversification of the Turkmen-Russian trade and economic contacts is an accomplished fact with the most favorable prospects for development and prosperity.