Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan Discuss Cooperation In China-Central Asia-Europe Supply Chain & Manufacturing Corridors

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Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan are discussing new ways to develop industrial cooperation, according to the Uzbek Ministry of Investment and Foreign Trade. Sardor Umurzakov, Minister of Investments and Foreign Trade of Uzbekistan held discussions with Baymyrat Annamamedov the Minister of Industry and Construction Production of Turkmenistan last week, with discussions focusing on to intensifying industrial cooperation and create complete value chains with the involvement of production facilities located in the two countries.

Uzbekistan, which is land-locked and Turkmenistan, which has port access to the Caspian sea, share a 1,793km border. Uzbekistan has significant trade agreements with the European Union and United Kingdom and needs assistance with getting products to markets in Europe. Turkmenistan is a significant partner in this regard, while Turkmenistan will also wish to incorporate its own component parts into products destined for Europe – and other markets. Uzbekistan is also a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, which includes Russia, and will be seen as a key market as EU retailers leave the Russian markets. China is another key market – with Chinese freight trains now able to access Turkmenistan via Uzbekistan. The Central Asian supply chains are developing as critical alternatives in Asia-European routes as the overland Russian routes to Europe are diverted.

Proposals were put forward to expand industrial cooperation, based upon the competitive advantages of the economies of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan in order to maximize the strongest points of each. Over the past four years, Uzbek-Turkmen trade has increased 500%, with a 65% growth in 2021 compared to the previous year. This has been due to significant economic reforms taking place in Uzbekistan during that period, a process now being taken up by Turkmenistan. Bilateral trade is currently running at about US$800 million with expectations it will break the US$1 billion mark in 2022. Both countries are now part of the transit routes between China and Europe, with Chinese logistics companies looking at investing in both to secure and improve delivery times.

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Chris Devonshire-Ellis is the Chairman of Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm assists British and Foreign Investment into Asia and has 28 offices throughout China, India, the ASEAN nations and Russia. For strategic and business intelligence concerning China’s Belt & Road Initiative please email or visit us at