flag Turkmenistan Turkmenistan: Trade Profile

Foreign Trade in Figures

The Government of Turkmenistan closely monitors all foreign trade through the State Commodities and Commodity Exchange. The country's trade policy aims to develop export markets for gas, petroleum products, electricity and cotton. Tariffs are relatively low in Turkmenistan, yet non-tariff barriers hinder trade. The total value of exports and imports equals 35% of GDP (according to the latest data available from the World Bank). More than 90% of exports involve natural gas, followed by cotton and plastics. Imports are led by iron pipes, harvesting machinery, and medicaments. Turkmenistan is part of the Commonwealth of Independent States and has regional and preferential trade agreements with a number of trading partners. In 2020, WTO members agreed to grant Turkmenistan observer status in the organization. Market access remains very limited and trade continues to be hampered by low productivity, limited access to financial services, high transport costs, and underdeveloped infrastructure and quality management. Despite the ongoing and planned diversification of its markets, Turkmenistan's exports are increasingly dependent on a single large market (China) and continue to be dominated by a single product (natural gas), making the economy vulnerable to fluctuations in world prices, beyond its control. In this context, a pipeline project for China (which became operative in April 2022) and the pipeline proposed by Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI), could more than double the gas export capacity. After Russia's decision in early 2016 to suspend its gas imports from Turkmenistan, China is now the key customer of the country and accounts for nearly three-quarters of its gas exports. However, Russia resumed gas imports from Turkmenistan in 2019, after a three-year hiatus. Nevertheless, exports to Iran have been also suspended since 2017 due to a pricing dispute. On January 21, 2021, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan signed a memorandum of understanding over the joint exploration of the Dostlug gas field in order to strengthen the export capacity.

Turkmenistan's trade balance has a structural surplus. Substantial cuts in public investment, foreign exchange controls and stricter import legislation have led to a decline in imported goods and a markedly improved trade balance. Nevertheless, the trend reversed in 2020: according to WTO, exports of goods totalled USD 6.4 billion (a decrease of 34.1% year-on-year), with imports reaching USD 3.1 billion (+7.3% y-o-y). According to preliminary data from Eurostat, Turkmenistan’s total exports to European Union countries rose by 63% in January-October 2021 compared to the previous year and reached EUR 440.3 million.
The trade surplus is expected to shrink further in 2022 as import growth accelerates due to a relaxation of import controls (Coface).

Foreign Trade Indicators 20172018201920202021
Imports of Goods (million USD) 4,5712,3512,9133,1274,026
Exports of Goods (million USD) 7,4589,5739,6956,3859,212
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 5435n/an/an/a
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 3112n/an/an/a
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 2223n/an/an/a

Source: WTO – World Trade Organisation ; World Bank - Latest available data.

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Commercial Policy

International Economic Cooperation
Member of CIS - Commonwealth of Independent States
Assessment of Commercial Policy
Turkmenistan Commercial Policy
Average Customs Duty (Excluding Agricultural Products)

Trade Compliance

International Economic Cooperation
Member of CIS - Commonwealth of Independent States
Useful Resources
National Organisation of Intellectual Property
You can contact the Patent Department by Email.

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Latest Update: February 2023