ARTICLE OF THE ISSUE
TECHNOLOGIES WIDEN BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES
Turkmenistan’s textile industry enterprises presented their achievements and plans for the future at the International Online Exhibition “Central Asia – Virtual EXPO (CAVEX)” organized last February by the Japanese Association for Trade with Russia and Newly Independent States.
Turkmenistan’s participation in the exhibition was another step in promoting Turkmen textiles abroad and establishing new business contacts. Textile products from Turkmen manufacturers are now in great demand not only in Turkmenistan but also at the foreign markets.
About 80 percent of textile products manufactured in Turkmenistan are exported to the CIS countries, Europe, Asia and other parts of the world. Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Ukraine and Turkey are the major consumers of Turkmen textiles.
The total exports of Turkmenistan’s textiles amounted to USD 318.9 million over 11 months of 2020. At the same time, the products of 30 enterprises are sold at the commodity exchange in Turkmenistan and through trading houses in foreign countries.
The textile industry enterprises annually participate in international exhibitions in China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Korea, Turkey, Germany and other countries. Turkmenistan also hosts specialized exhibitions for foreign partners that result in the signing of export contracts.
Work is under way to launch an electronic trading platform for textiles in the country to ensure a many-fold increase in sales of Turkmen products. This work is carried out by the marketing center “Altyn Asyr” of the Ministry of Textile Industry jointly with the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Turkmenistan. At the first stage, deliveries of textile products will be made within Turkmenistan. In the future, textile products will be also delivered abroad. It is also planned to establish cooperation with international virtual trading platforms and national information services and trading platforms. The traditional trade network is also expanding, as new stores and shopping centers appear throughout Turkmenistan.
In February 2021, a denim store of the Ashgabat Denim Complex named after Turkmenbashi opened in the capital city. It offers a wide range of denim clothing for men, women and children, such as jeans, shorts, skirts, vests, shirts and jackets. All products are of high quality and modern design. Similar stores will be opened in all regions of the country in the near future.
The Ashgabat Denim Complex is one of the largest enterprises of Turkmenistan’s textile industry. Built in 1996, it now produces more than 130 thousand pieces of various clothes per month and 1.560 million pieces per year. The complex employs over 900 female workers in two shifts. The products manufactured by the complex are very popular for their high quality, wide assortment and affordable price.
At the end of 2020, the volume of products manufactured by the enterprises of the Ministry of the Textile Industry, including cotton yarn and fabrics increased by 17.1 percent and 1.8 percent respectively, garments and knitwear by 23.2 percent and leather products by 5 percent.
Turkmenistan grows over 1 million tons of raw cotton annually, which is the most important resource for the effective development of the textile industry. The year 2020 hit a record – 1.250 million tons of cotton was harvested.
If in previous years the country exported most of the harvested raw cotton (Turkmenistan was one of the top ten world exporters of cotton), President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov has set a task to bring the domestic cotton processing to 100 percent. This is reasonable, as the textile industry is the second most profitable sector in Turkmenistan after exports of hydrocarbons.
Thanks to the state support, the textile industry has become one of the fastest growing sectors of the national economy. In the years of independence, about two billion USD have been invested in construction of new and reconstruction of existing textile enterprises. 13 modern textile complexes were put into operation with the support of foreign companies. These complexes manufacture the products in accordance with modern international standards of quality, management and marketing standards. High-tech equipment from the international brands is operated at the existing production facilities.
The textile industry currently accounts for over 70 enterprises, including large textile complexes, cotton spinning and weaving plants, garment factories, silk processing enterprises, shoe factories, factories for the primary processing of leather and wool.
The implementation of state programs for import substitution and increasing the volume of export-oriented products is an important factor in the development of the textile industry. These programs provide for establishment of new industries and reconstruction of existing ones that will significantly reduce imports through the domestic production of high-quality goods.
By 2025, over USD 300 million will be allocated to support more than 30 projects in the textile industry. Investments will be channeled into the expansion of existing capacities and establishment of a dozen new industries on the basis of enterprises using modern technologies for production of environmentally friendly products.
In the future, Spunlace and Spunbond nonwovens, corduroy fabrics, new types of fabrics for women and sportswear will be launched at these enterprises.
Turkmenistan has developed a sectoral comprehensive program for production and technical re-equipment of enterprises of the textile industry and establishment of innovative industries based on the use of domestic natural resources. The implementation of this program will make it possible to reduce imports by producing a wide range of goods domestically.
Along with the introduction of the latest technologies the textile industry pays great attention to improving the quality and compliance of products with the environmental safety standards. The textile industry of Turkmenistan traditionally uses natural materials, which makes its products attractive to international brands that place orders around the world. The products manufactured by the industry leading enterprises have won international recognition and certification in accordance with ISO 9001, 9002, ISO 14001, WRAP and OHSAS 18001 standards.
Turkmenistan attaches special importance to carpet weaving as a valuable national heritage. A wide network of carpet manufacturing facilities has been created in the country. Seven new carpet factories are under construction.
Silkworm breeding is another promising area of business of the textile industry of Turkmenistan. This business is being revived, and measures are being taken to increase output of silkworm cocoons and modernize processing complexes.
Production of first-class woven fabrics helped to significantly boost the development of sewing and knitwear sectors. An increase in production of ready-made clothes was due to the major overhaul of Turkmenistan’s main garment factories: “Akhal” in Ashgabat, “Cheper” in Dashoguz, “Yenish” in Mary as well as the Turkmenabad garment factory in Lebab.
The competitiveness and demand for Turkmen textiles in the foreign markets are increasing every year. For example, businessmen from the United States, Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and other countries signed about 20 contracts in excess of USD 6.3 million for the purchase of cotton, flannel and denim at the commodity exchange as part of the first Caspian Economic Forum held in August 2019.
Turkmenistan is taking steps to build new production facilities for the textile industry. In fact, two new textile complexes are being built in Akhal province with the processing capacity of 5 thousand tons of fine-staple cotton each. The annual production capacity of each complex is 3,650 tons of cotton yarn, 12 million square meters of high-quality garment fabric, including 10 million square meters of dyed fabric, and 1.2 million pieces of finished garments.
The commissioning of these complexes will significantly increase the range of finished textile products on the basis of new types of fabrics made from fine-staple cotton that is highly popular abroad. For example, fine-staple cotton is used for production of cambric, marquise, percale, taffeta, guipure and other fabrics that are especially valued at the trading platforms of the global textile industry.
Reconstruction and re-equipment of existing facilities is an equally important area. According to the long-term plan for 2019–2025, 38 textile enterprises will be reconstructed and modernized, and new production facilities will be built on the basis of 22 operating complexes. It is expected that these measures will help to create about 3.15 thousand new jobs.
Obsolete, unprofitable and idle enterprises, unfinished facilities owned by the textile ministry will be privatized, and a number of textile complexes will be corporatized in the near future.
The opening of the Lapis-Lazuri transport route between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan in 2018 made it possible to accelerate the delivery of Turkmen products to the Turkish and European markets by reducing the transportation time for products that are considered highly competitive in the textile market.
Turkmenistan’s textile products are increasingly appreciated abroad. Products labeled “Made in Turkmenistan” are best sellers in the shopping centers around the world. Terry towels, tracksuits and T-shirts, jeans and shirts, bedding and underwear, socks are sold fast. Their high quality, affordable prices are a sure way to gain consumer confidence. It means that the Turkmen textiles intend to settle in the foreign markets seriously and permanently.