Economic diplomacy of Turkmenistan as an instrument of national interest

Diplomacy is a tool of foreign policy in terms of national interests, values, principles and priorities, as it is an instrument in the field of international relations. It approves and ensures the official position of the state.

One form of diplomacy is economic diplomacy, which is characterized at the present stage as the most important type of traditional diplomacy. Its main purpose is to create favorable conditions for accessing and promoting domestic goods and services to foreign markets, protecting the national strategic and economic interests of the state abroad, and promoting the means and methods of the country’s socio-economic development, increasing the competitiveness of its economy in the world, ensuring its national and economic security.

In this regard, it is very important to use national competitive advantages, specialization and cooperation of production in order to achieve common strategic and current interests of the country.

Today, in the context of global trends and challenges of the time, issues that have a tremendous impact on the socio-economic development of states are being updated, and in this direction our country follows the course of integration into the world economy with an open door policy, standing for the development of long-term cooperation.
Our country pursues a policy of conversion aimed at strengthening its economic potential and, on this basis, the main task set by the President of the country, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, is to ensure the welfare of our people.
The constructive initiatives of the President of Turkmenistan are aimed at carrying out large-scale reforms in the economy, expanding international cooperation on the basis of equal, mutually beneficial relations in all relevant areas.

Since taking office as head of state, the President of Turkmenistan has taken significant steps for closer interaction with international structures. In this regard, the speech of the President of Turkmenistan at the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York in September 2007, the defining moment of which were the following words, can be considered a symbolic point of reference for the new foreign policy strategy of Turkmenistan: “Today, Turkmenistan is open to the world, open to wide partnership in all areas. Together with the Community of Nations, our country is ready to continue to work in the name of affirming the principles of international law, the ideals of humanism, justice, tolerance, mutual respect as factors determining the current relations between states”.

Our country is one of the most rapidly developing countries in the world and has managed to build its foreign policy in such a way that the policy of neutrality is the guarantor of political stability, economic prosperity and social development of society.

Being one of the countries providing stability and security in the region, today the interests of Turkmenistan are designated both at the regional, continental and global levels.

Due to its unique geographical location, namely at the intersection of the Eurasian routes, on the most important part of the Great Silk Road, which allows us to be the shortest way to access the markets of Europe, the Near and Middle East, South Asia, the Black Sea and Mediterranean regions, today our country supports economic, trade and investment relations with more than one hundred countries around the world.

In this regard, the key sectors of the external economic relations of Turkmenistan are the extraction and transportation of hydrocarbons and other minerals, electricity, agriculture, construction, transport, communications etc.

Today, the main international partners of Turkmenistan are India, Russia, China, Iran, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Italy, Afghanistan, the United Kingdom, South Korea and Japan.

In particular, our country has trade relations with India, which is also involved in a large regional energy project for the construction of the trans-national gas pipeline TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India).
Construction of the Turkmen section of the TAPI began in December 2015, the total length of the pipeline is 1,814 kilometers and it has a capacity of 33 billion cubic meters of gas per year. The implementation of this project will allow our country to diversify export supplies of natural gas to world markets. According to President of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the construction of a new trunk pipeline, in addition to solving economic problems, will also contribute to the socio-economic development of the project’s participating countries, will improve the level and quality of life of the population, and help overcome a number of social and humanitarian problems.

Another relevant direction in the development of bilateral economic relations between Turkmenistan and India is transportation. The parties have discussed participation in the North-South transnational transit-transport corridor, interaction of the ports of the two countries and the development of air transport.

It is also necessary to note the prosperous trade relations of our country with Russia, which continues to be one of the leading foreign trade partners of our country. The basis of trade relations are food products and agricultural raw materials; machinery, equipment and vehicles; chemical industry products; wood and pulp and paper products; metals and products from them, mineral products, textiles and footwear. The Turkmen-Russian intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation plays an important role in building up trade relations.

The High-Level Trade and Investment Support Group established within its framework is a kind of mechanism for monitoring the implementation of decisions and stimulating economic relations between countries, as well as regions of two states.

Another important economic partner of Turkmenistan is China. As its known, our country is one of the world leaders in the extraction and transportation of energy, and China is one of the world leaders in the consumption of energy resources. In this regard, a model of mutually beneficial economic cooperation is the construction of the longest gas pipeline in the world “Turkmenistan – Uzbekistan – Kazakhstan – China”. This is one of the most ambitious projects of the twenty-first century. Currently, the pipeline has three branches with a total capacity of 55 billion cubic meters per year. The parties are planning to build a fourth gas pipeline along the new route Turkmenistan – Uzbekistan – Tajikistan – Kyrgyzstan – China, with a capacity of 25 billion cubic meters per year. According to the agreement signed between the Chinese national oil and gas corporation “CNPC” and the “Turkmengas” State Concern, Turkmenistan will increase annual deliveries to China to 65 billion cubic meters of gas.

The most important direction of the Turkmen-Chinese cooperation is the joint work on the formation of a powerful transport and communication infrastructure. It covers all areas of transport links, including rail, road, aviation and others. The European Union is a partner of Turkmenistan in implementing a number of economic projects and programs that meet the interests of the parties and are aimed at sustainable development and socio-economic progress. It is worth noting that bilateral relations between Turkmenistan and the EU have intensified markedly in recent years.

In particular, I would especially like to note the closely developing friendly relations of our country with Romania, which is an important trade and economic partner of Turkmenistan in the European region.Given the constructive nature of Romania’s foreign policy, in recent years Turkmenistan has supported a number of initiatives of this friendly country, including in specialized structures and UN institutions. The parties demonstrate the coincidence or proximity of views on many topical issues of international and regional geopolitics.

In this regard, it should be noted that the Parties pay much attention to the prospect of partnership between the seaports of “Turkmenbashi” and “Constanta”. In this direction, the Parties regularly carry out relevant work to enhance economic ties. At 4th April of this year in Bucharest held a quadripartite meeting of the foreign ministries of Turkmenistan, Romania, Georgia and Azerbaijan under the project to create the “Caspian Sea – Black Sea” international transport corridor.

Undoubtedly, this project will give even more impetus to the development of our country’s trade and economic relations with Romania. It will increase trade between countries and further strengthen the friendly relations between the two countries.

Thus, as already noted, the development of international relations in the foreign economic sphere is the most important aspect of the activities of any country. Our country in its foreign economic diplomacy has confidential and constructive ties. Led by the esteemed President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, Turkmenistan will build relations with many countries on the principles of friendship and fruitful cooperation, and seeks to further build up a constructive partnership for the benefit of the peoples of all countries of the world.