PRIORITY OF PRAGMATIC INTERESTS
Turkmenistan and Russia make no secret of the fact that the two countries enjoy a long-term strategic cooperation in all spheres. This can be best illustrated by the agreements reached at the summit talks between President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and President Vladimir Putin as part of the Russian leader's official visit to Turkmenistan in October 2017.
The heads of the two states signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement between Turkmenistan and the Russian Federation during the October summit. This agreement provides a strong incentive for the further promotion of bilateral cooperation in all areas. While signing such major document, the heads of state confirmed their intention to facilitate the expansion of trade, economic and investment cooperation and give it a fresh impetus to improve further the wellbeing of the two friendly peoples. In addition, the sides stressed the importance of the intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the field of industry with the view of establishing mutually beneficial competitive environment in the markets of relevant goods of Turkmenistan and the Russian Federation.
The sixth Turkmen-Russian Economic Forum in Ashgabat was the immediate effect of the agreements reached. It was held at the conference hall of "Archabil" hotel in Ashgabat. The forum was attended by the delegation of the Russian Federation consisting of representatives of a number of public institutions and organizations, as well as companies specializing in trade, food industry, construction, electronic information technology, engineering, oil and gas.
The delegation of Turkmenistan to the business forum included heads and specialists of branch ministries and departments, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, representatives of enterprises and companies producing export-oriented goods.
The forum participants stressed that the Turkmen-Russian partnership is strategic. This is evidenced by the regular bilateral meetings and top-level talks, including contacts at the major international events. At the same time, it's very important that the heads of the two friendly countries have mutual understanding and trust and focus on taking the traditional interstate dialogue to a new level that meets mutual interests and modern realities.
The partners pay priority attention to the implementation of the Intergovernmental Turkmen-Russian Program for Economic Cooperation for 2017-2019 and projects in the areas of trade, industry, energy and engineering support, construction, agriculture and fisheries, transport and transport communications, sports, tourism and healthcare. The Intergovernmental Turkmen-Russian Commission on Economic Cooperation remains a reliable driving force for the achievement of the agreed objectives. The High-Level Group on Trade and Investment Promotion works under this commission.
The presence in the Turkmen market of a number of leading Russian companies that implement joint projects and show interest in the further strengthening of business contacts is a graphic example of the efficient economic cooperation. As of today, Turkmenistan has registered more than 180 companies with Russian participation.
Noting with satisfaction the successful Turkmen-Russian relations, the forum participants stressed that the forum was yet another confirmation of the mutual desire to strengthen and build up mutually beneficial partnership in key areas of multifaceted cooperation to make even greater use of the economic and intellectual potentials. The forum participants were informed that according to the CIS Statistics Committee Turkmenistan ranks among top five CIS countries with GDP growth rate totaling some 6-7 percent. The impressive potential of cooperation in the common market is exactly the platform that should provide a benchmark for the long-term perspective.
Building up bilateral ties with the regions and major industrial and cultural centers of the Russian Federation is one of Turkmenistan's foreign policy priorities. It was not accidental that representatives of eight regions of Russia took part in the Ashgabat forum. The Republic of Tatarstan, the city of St. Petersburg, Astrakhan, Sverdlovsk, Belgorod regions and other subjects of the Russian Federation are doing great in terms of trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian cooperation with Turkmenistan.
In his speech at the forum, Vice-president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation Vladimir Padalko touched on the topic of development of interregional relations:
- Representatives of the Russian business are interested in the progressive development of interregional trade and economic cooperation with Turkmenistan. This year, we exchanged delegations at the level of Turkmen velayats and Russian provinces, and today we have with us representatives of eight regions of Russia. We intend to continue working in this direction to increase the exchange of visits and programs of multidimensional interaction, he stressed.
The forum participants noted that both countries aim to continue developing interregional relations by enhancing their legal frameworks, increasing mutual visits of delegations, developing and implementing partnership programs and participating in exhibitions and fairs.
The key areas of bilateral cooperation also include the humanitarian sphere. In particular, Deputy Head of the Orel Region Office under the Government of the Russian Federation noted that sister-city relations were established between the cities of Mary and Orel. A great number of Turkmen students study at the higher education establishments of the city of Orel. There was confirmed the intention to organize more joint cultural events, art exhibitions, performances of cultural workers and artists, Days of Culture, scientific and educational forums and seminars. It was noted that the art intelligentsia of Orel region is well acquainted with the works of Turkmen painters. There was expressed confidence that all these measures would further contribute to the strengthening of business contacts and friendly ties between our peoples.
A short video film was demonstrated at the forum, describing the economic achievements of Turkmenistan, a country with the rapidly growing and attractive for foreign investment economy. Over the past few years, Turkmenistan has done tremendous work to further diversify the national economy and improve the living standards of the people. The economic strategy of Turkmenistan is based on the innovative principles and methods, allowing the country to maintain significant GDP growth rates, industrial production, foreign trade turnover, price stability in the domestic market of goods and services and increase investments in the social sphere. The efficiency of the national development model is also confirmed by the high socio-economic growth rates, which was recognized by the reputable international non-governmental and financial institutions. Among the main factors of success are the development of credit policy, rapid industrialization of the country, creation of production facilities for import-substituting products and increasing export supplies, namely natural gas.
The opportunities for the Russian companies' joining large-scale projects were discussed in detail during bilateral meetings. The Russian specialists' visits to the leading enterprises of the private sector of the Turkmen economy were an important aspect the Ashgabat forum agenda. Other than this, the guests enjoyed an impressive cultural program, including sightseeing.
Therefore, the Ashgabat forum was yet another confirmation of the fact that the deep-rooted Turkmen-Russian relations are at the high level, and they fully correspond to the spirit of friendship and mutual understanding, meeting the fundamental interests of the peoples of Turkmenistan and the Russian Federation.