Turkmen – American Business Council is 10 years
Bilateral cooperation between Turkmenistan and USA is built on long-term beneficial base, which was laid after establishment of diplomatic relations on 19 February 1992.
One month after in the same year, the Embassy of USA to Turkmenistan was opened in Ashgabat and the Embassy of Turkmenistan to USA, in Washington, DC has been opened in 1994. Diplomatic contacts of two countries allowed defining the spectrum of topical directions of the partnership, which was more intensive with the time. At present, contractual and legal framework between Turkmenistan and USA consists of 59 documents – 53 intergovernmental and 6 interdepartmental.
Developing the practice of cooperation and improving the mechanisms, both states have been taken steadfast measures for implementation of its big potential in different spheres, especially in trade and economic relations.
Relations with the leading American companies working in such spheres as oil, gas and chemical industry, computer technologies, energy, agriculture, transport and logistics have been established for this period. It includes «Boeing», «General Electric», «John Deere», «Microsoft», «Caterpillar», «Coca-Cola» and many other companies.
The visit of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov to New York in September 2007 where the Head of the State spoke at the 62nd session of UN General Assembly was a turning point in the history of Turkmen – American cooperation. It was a breakthrough to new level from many points of view in the context of the dialog of Turkmenistan with the world community and the talks of Turkmen leader held during the visit have opened new opportunities for bilateral relations of the country with USA.
Meeting of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and President George Bush was important factor of further rapprochement of the interests in practical view.
It is worth mentioning that by that time, the role of Turkmenistan with its colossal energy resources has grown significantly in the world owing to the efforts of Turkmen leader. It was confirmed by Condoleezza Rice, the USA State Secretary during the meeting with the Head of Turkmenistan. She mentioned that our country not only has the richest hydrocarbon reserves but also propose very interesting projects for their use as well as has big opportunities for formation of interregional transport corridors and transit routes woing to its geographic location.
Concerning American business circles, they were also sensitive to the changes in Turkmenistan. It was confirmed by the meeting of Turkmen leader in the Colombia University where the President was awarded with the diploma of Honorary Academic of the Developing Markets Academy for the merits in progressive reforms in our country. the meeting of Turkmen leader with US business elite in famous Rockefeller Centre with the participation of the representative of the Government of USA and around 300 heads of American companies and corporations was also very symptomatic. The atmosphere of the meeting, keen interest of the interlocutors of the Head of Turkmenistan, their strong wish not only to start such attractive partnership immediately left no doubts that Turkmen market becomes more demanding in all senses.
Political guarantees, the Head of our state was talking about, including the protection of foreign investments have strengthened the intent of foreign business circles to intensify economic cooperation with Turkmenistan as with the tenable and reliable partner.
Indeed, that meeting has turned into a strong impulse in Turkmen – American business relations, starting point for filling them with new content. In general, this visit of Turkmen leader promoted American vector of foreign policy of Turkmenistan to be pointed to the only right direction, which follows from political logics of the country practising peace, humanity and prosperity of all nations.
Therefore, back in 2008, Turkmen – American Business Council was founded by the initiative of the President of Turkmenistan proposed at the remarkable meeting in the Rockefeller Centre.
Development of trade and economic relations between Turkmenistan and USA is outlined as the main objective of the Council with the Headquarter in Washington. Joint work for promotion of the proposals given by Turkmen leader in New York has started. Dozens of big American companies of different specialization established partnership contacts with the Government of Turkmenistan and branch departments.
Next meeting of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov with the US officials and business circles as well as with the members of Turkmen – American Business Council during the visit of the Head of Turkmenistan to New York on 22 September 2009 was new step in the activity of joint structure. One of the main moments, the participants paid attention during the discussions back then, was high growth rates of Turkmen economy despite global financial and economic crisis, which indicates the competence of national model of the development.
In addition, investment policy of Turkmenistan received high appraisal of the experts of the International Monetary Fund. The World Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Speaking of large-scale development plans of production branches, agriculture, chemical and petrochemical industry, creation of modern transport and communication, social and economic infrastructure in the country, the President of the country highlighted that orientation toward latest innovative and technical developments and know-hows are the absolute priorities in this case.
Today, the outcomes of the implementation of these projects are obvious, while it was just the plans back then, however the great plans, which American businessmen and government structures saw as the real basis, serious economic opportunities and political will for their implementation.
That meeting was held at new stage of the reforms carried out by Turkmen leader in the context of technological modernization and diversification of the country’s economy, improvement of its investment attractiveness. 101 investment projects to the amount of more than 1.6 billion US dollars have been registered in Turkmenistan by that time. the sides were searching for new ways of the expansion of beneficial partnership, particularly in such directions as oil and gas sphere, energy, development of Turkmen sector of Caspian Sea, communication technologies, industry and transport infrastructure.
Session of Turkmen – American Business Council and Turkmen – American business forum were held simultaneously on June 16, 2010. Members of the Government of Turkmenistan and US Government delegation, representatives of such American companies as «Boeing», «Exxon Mobil», «Conoco Phillips», «Chevron», «Case New Holland, International SA», «Jоhn Deere», «Caterpillar», «General Electric», «Honeywell International Inc.» and other took part in the business meeting.
Speaking at the forum, Executive Director of Turkmen – American Business council Eric Stuart noted that number of members of the Council has doubled and it visually demonstrates the interest of American business circles in cooperation with our country.
It was stated that there are 63 companies with American capital in Turkmenistan and total number of contract grew to 110. At the same time, investment policy of Turkmenistan aims more at the attraction of investments not only in money but also in the form of latest technologies. The state purposefully turns into textile, chemical and food producing country from the supplier.
The fact that largest US companies plan to expand their presence in Turkmenistan market was indicated by American Production Exhibition organized under regular bilateral business forum in Ashgabat on May 19 – 20, 2011.
270 businessmen and more than 60 big American companies from the list of the leading world manufacturers demonstrated their products, technologies and services. The exposition has covered oil and gas sphere and energy, programme software and information technologies, communication, agriculture and air transport, food industry and logistics, education and other areas.
According to the management of the Council, the events with wide presentation of the leading US companies was the first to be held in Central Asia and thought to be one of the achievements of Turkmen – American Business Council.
The status of the event and the importance paid by American side were highlighted by the participation of the Government representatives of both countries including Deputy Assistant of the US Minister of Trade Juan Verdi, First Deputy of the Assistant of the US State Secretary Jeffrey Pate and other in the opening of the exhibition.
Brightly expressed working orientation made the exhibition not only the demonstration ground but primarily the business dialog allowing making, consolidating and intensifying business contacts, optimizing the cooperation and spectrum of the proposals, defining perspective projects.
Around 70 bilateral meetings of the officials from more than 30 ministries and departments of Turkmenistan and entrepreneurs of our country with the top management of American companies have been organized during the forum.
The second exhibition of US companies was held in Ashgabat next year on May 3 – 5, 2012 under the session of Turkmen – American Business Council. This time, the number of exhibitors was more than 100. These were the companies with the world names including «Exxon Mobil», «Chevron», «IHS», «Honeywell», «Weatherford», «Conoco Phillips», «Argust», «General Electric», «Emerson», «IBM», «Cisco Systems», «Sikorsky», «Boeing» and other.
Equipment and technologies were on the top in the structure of import supplies to Turkmenistan in this period what was taken into account during organization of the exhibition. As the country was relying on the development of the entrepreneurship, American producers expressed special interest in the contacts with actively growing Turkmen business. New ideas and proposals were made in joint discussions, perspective spheres and mechanisms of cooperation were outlined.
The work on corporate level has never stopped between the exhibitions, forums and business meetings. This is where technologies and know-hows were tried, wishes to the manufacturers taking into account the conditions and requirements of Turkmenistan were formulated and specialist form other spheres for the development of integrated solutions were attracted.
Everything was reflected in the agenda of Turkmen – American Business Council. Its regular sessions with the participation of representatives of academic circles of Turkmenistan and USA were held on April 30 and November 12, 2013.
In particular, the spring round was dedicated mainly to such priority directions of trade and economic cooperation as oil and gas sphere and agricultural complex. It is remarkable that professors of leading profile universities of both countries and Turkmen students who undergo the training in this specialities in national high educational institutes took part in the forum.
In the autumn session, the emphasis was laid upon the transport sphere taking into account favourable geographic location of our country on the intersection of transcontinental routes between Europe and Asia as well as upon the subjects of information and communication technologies and partnership in innovations’ sphere.
Hence, Turkmen – American Business Council demonstrates not only support of the initiatives of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov but also the willingness to take part in their promotion in practical direction. Attraction of scientific community of both countries as well as future professionals – today’s students, speaks of quite serious approach and long-term intents.
As it is seen, the meetings organized by bilateral business council become more specific and focused with the time and representative format of these meetings become more extended, what allows discussing the main subjects from different points of view.
The role of high technologies in the development of industrial and agricultural complexes was defined as the key theme of the next Turkmen – American business forum held on January 21 – 22, 2015. Scientists and financial specialists as well as the experts of production sphere, who would have to introduce the innovations, as well as the teachers of the universities, who in their turn would have to be aware of changing tendencies of training of the professionals, took part in the forum together with the Government structures and business circles.
Progress session of Turkmen – American business council was held on June 29, 2016 where Eric Stuart was re-elected for new period as the Executive Director and «Boeing» as the chairing company, which replaced «General Electric» at this position. In 2017, «Coca-Cola» was elected as the chairing company.
Results of the activity of the Council were regularly reviewed during personal meetings of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov with Executive Director of this structure Eric Stuart. The results and perspectives of joint work are discussed, targeted measures in accordance with the objectives of national programmes are outlined and general directions and priorities of cooperation are given by the Leader of the Nation at such meetings.
Annual meeting of Turkmen – American business council was held on December 14, 2016 in Ashgabat, during which the reports of representatives of Turkmen profile departments of energy, gas and civil aviation sphere have been presented. Representatives and managers of «General Electric» and «Ionrex/Jar Capital» made the reports from American side. Representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Management, State Association of Food Industry of Turkmenistan as well as the specialists of «John Deere», «IMS/Ellicot Dredges» and «CNH» shared their visions on the directions of the partnership in different spheres of agricultural complex and food industry.
Besides, it was told on the intensification of the cooperation in education, health protection and communications including exchange of the practice and students, training of highly qualified specialists.
US businessmen also had number of meetings with the representatives of ministries and departments of Turkmenistan including fuel and energy sector and agriculture where special attention has been paid to the the realization of high technology joint projects aimed at further expansion and intensification of beneficial Turkmen – American cooperation.
Turkmen – American business session was held in Washington on July 10 – 11, 2017, which brought together the leaders, experts and specialists of such famous companies as «Argus Limited», «Boeing», «CNH Industrial», «Ellicott Dredges», «General Electric», «John Deere», «Lindsey», «Microsoft», «Oxbow Energy Solutions», «Caterpillar», «Westport Trading Europe Limited» representing different branches of the US economy. Turkmen delegation included the heads of profile ministries and departments of our country, Trade and Industrial Chamber and Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs.
The agenda of business session included the subjects of expansion of cooperation in trade and economic sphere, energy complex, transport and communication sector as well as in computer technologies, oil and gas industry, heavy engineering and agriculture.
Substantial dialog was continued again in Ashgabat during the next session of Turkmen – American business council in Ashgabat on December 1, 2017 where the success of actively developing cooperation was analysed and further objectives in its traditional directions were formulated, opportunities of establishment of closer relations in such promising spheres and food production and tourism were reviewed.
Visit of Mark von Pentz, the President of «John Deere» was held on April 4, 2018 where he was received by the President of Turkmenistan. The Head of the State and his guest discussed the outcomes of 25 years of bilateral partnership, which can easily referred to as an exemplary. Tripartite Memorandum between «John Deere», Ministry of Agriculture and Water management and Turkmenistan Agricultural University on cooperation in training of personnel for agricultural branch in 2018 – 2021 has also been signed during the visit.
Therefore, for 10 year of its work, the Council proved its efficiency as well as promptness and vision of the initiative of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov on its foundation.
Big and daring projects has been implemented for all these years including in electrical energy with the participation of «General Electriс», in civil aviation with the participation of our old partner, aircraft-building giant «Boeing», and other.
As for May 1, 2018, 156 projects with the participation of American companies to total amount of 2573.43 million US dollars and 0.3 million EUROs ae registered in Turkmenistan.
Favourable investment climate, terms and benefits in our country for successful activity of foreign companies, continuing process of economic reforms and modernization of industrial branches, state support of small business and private entrepreneurship increase the interest of US business circles in cooperation with our country.
Owing to the measures taken by the President of Turkmenistan, the country achieve high indicators of economic growth every year. This is good guarantee for activation of investment activity and development of big joint projects.
Turkmenistan used to be important connecting link in the development of trade relations between the East and West during the day of the Silk Road. The country has the same function of transportation intersection of transcontinental routes in new historical conditions. This is the great merit of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov pursuing multidimensional foreign policy.
In this context, further activity of Turkmen – American business council will not only expand the opportunities for trade and economic and investment cooperation of two countries but also will serve as the input to the development of international cooperation in intercontinental scale.