Improving Turkmenistan’s business environment with Ready4Trade Central Asia
(Geneva/Ashgabat) Businesses in Turkmenistan will benefit from expanded export opportunities and new trade prospects through the activities organized under the Ready4Trade Central Asia initiative.
With this project, the European Union (EU), the International Trade Centre (ITC) and national partner institutions have joined forces to provide Turkmenistan with a key thrust for an inclusive and sustainable economic development through an increased intra-regional and international trade. Ready4Trade aims to support Turkmenistan to further boost its economy by diversifying its markets through e-commerce, by simplifying some of its trade procedures and by alleviating the most stringent barriers to trade.
Ready4Trade’s plan of action has officially been endorsed by the Turkmen government. Over 20 government agencies and public organizations took part in this internal approval process.
High-level stocktaking exercise
During a high-level online event held on 5 May 2021, stakeholders reviewed the initial outcomes and planned next steps of the Ready4Trade project. Keynote speakers included Mr. Begench Gochmollayev, Deputy Minister of Trade and Foreign Economic Relations of Turkmenistan, H.E. Mr. Diego Ruiz Alonso, Ambassador, Head of the Delegation of the EU to Turkmenistan, and Ms. Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director of ITC and Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Ambassador, Head of the Delegation of the EU to Turkmenistan Diego Ruiz Alonso: ‘The European Union believes that private sector should be placed at the heart of any country’s development, a driver of positive transformation, a source of initiatives to lead society to the future. The European Union would like to promote those same values that we use inside our borders and share with our partners experiences and lessons learned throughout the process of building the European Union’.
Representative of the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Turkmenistan Serdarnepes Annenepesov: ‘Beneficiary SMEs are happy with the project support, which positively impacts their business activity. Specifically export management coaches help companies solve real issues. SMEs are also thankful to ITC for the numerous trade information resources, including ITC market analysis tools’.
ITC Executive Director and United Nations Assistant Secretary-General Pamela Coke-Hamilton: ‘This ambitious project signals a renewed effort to boost trade-led growth in Central Asian countries. ITC is pleased to work with the government of Turkmenistan and the business community to support a more inclusive and sustainable approach to economic development. The project aligns with the development strategy defined by Turkmenistan, with a focus on modernizing strategic areas such as trade facilitation and e-commerce’.
During this stocktaking exercise, participants discussed:
- The conclusions from the 6-months inception phase, which has allowed the project to customize its approach to Turkmenistan’s specific needs.
- Results achieved in Turkmenistan during the first 10 months of the implementation phase, which began in July 2020.
- Future activities to ensure that the project moves forward in a way that is best fitted to the Turkmen environment.
Two areas of focus: trade facilitation and e-commerce
To reach its objectives, Ready4Trade will enhance transparency of cross-border requirements, strengthen business capacities to comply with trade formalities and standards, and improve cross-border e-commerce. Activities are organized around two key areas:
Introducing trade-facilitation reform can have significant impact on the Turkmen economy by boosting the speed and efficiency of cross-border trade procedures while reducing costs. Ready4Trade supports the government of Turkmenistan in implementing a Trade Facilitation Portal to enhance the transparency of cross-border regulatory requirements. This online platform will serve as a one-stop shop providing clear, precise and up-to-date information on trade procedures that traders have to comply with when exporting or importing specific commodities. By bringing transparency to national rules and procedures, the Portal not only reduces the time and cost for traders to search for information on trade formalities, but creates a foundation to introduce further reforms towards an enabling border environment in Turkmenistan. The project will also strengthen the capacity of businesses to comply with trade formalities and standards and enhance women’s skills and confidence to engage in international trade.
Digitally enabled trade drives economic growth and creates jobs for young people, women and poor communities. It can also help SMEs reach new target markets internationally. Ready4Trade supports SMEs to identify new markets and trade online nationally, regionally and internationally. Offline SMEs benefit from specific help to create a digital presence, while more digitally advanced SMEs receive support to increase visibility and improve their current offering. Members of business associations benefit from e-commerce training and awareness-raising activities.
Ready4Trade will also help Turkmen SMEs to be better equipped in addressing the challenges in the context of the global pandemic and adapt to the growing digitalization of economies. In the wake of these new realities, Ready4Trade’s action plan has become even more relevant.
In addition, Turkmenistan while enjoying an observer’s status in the WTO since July 2020, has recently adopted new Foreign Trade Strategy 2021-2030 which specifies collaboration with ITC and WTO. The Ready4Trade project stands ready to provide initial support to the Government in the preparation of Turkmenistan’s accession to the WTO.
Turkmenistan is one of the five beneficiary countries of the EU-funded Ready4Trade project implemented by ITC.
More information: intracen.org/ready4trade/
Stay connected: #Ready4Trade #CentralAsia
With the project ‘Ready4Trade Central Asia’, the European Union (EU) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) are joining forces to contribute to the overall sustainable and inclusive economic development of Central Asia by boosting intra-regional and international trade in the region. Beneficiaries of the Ready4Trade Central Asia project include governments, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), in particular women led enterprises, and Business Support Organizations (BSOs). The project operates in 5 countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
About ITC - The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
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