Turkmenistan

GDP (US$ Billion)

37.93 (2017)

World Ranking 94/192

GDP Per Capita (US$)

6,643 (2017)

World Ranking 86/192

Economic Structure

(in terms of GDP composition, 2017)

Services
(47.70%)
Industry
(44.90%)
Agriculture
(7.50%)

External Trade (% of GDP)

117.7 (2012)

Currency (Period Average)

Turkmenistani Manat

3.50 per US$ (2017)

Political System

Republic

Overview

Turkmenistan is a large but sparsely inhabited country with abundant hydrocarbon resources, particularly natural gas. Turkmenistan's gas reserves are estimated to be the world's fourth largest, representing about 10% of global reserves. In addition, the country is also a major producer of cotton and a net exporter of electricity. It is also rich in petroleum, sulphur, iodine and several other inputs to chemical and construction industries. That said, the public sector and state-owned entities continue to dominate the economy and the labour market. Apart from the hydrocarbon sector, foreign direct investment remains limited and principally linked to suppliers' contracts. The government's industrial policy looks to promote non-hydrocarbon activity. Nevertheless, tight administrative controls and the public sector's large overall role in economic activity remain the key obstacles to private sector development in Turkmenistan.

Sources: World Bank, Fitch Solutions

 

Major Economic/Political Events and Upcoming Elections

September 2016
Constitutional changes extended the presidential term limit from five years to seven years, ahead of a presidential vote on February 12, 2017. The constitutional amendment also removed the 70-year age limit and now allows the president to serve without term limits.

February 2017
President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov won a third term in office.

September 2017
Turkmenistan launched the USD1.5 billion Garabogazkarbamid nitrogen fertiliser plant, located near the Caspian coastal city of Garabogaz, in the Balkan Region. The project also involved the construction of a 50MW natural-gas-fired combined heat and power plant, as well as an access road to Bekdash port and a new water treatment plant.

October 2017
President Berdymukhamedov signed a decree to gradually phase out subsidies for water, gas and electricity, stating that the savings obtained from phasing out these subsidies would help to fund a seven-year investment programme.

February 2018
Regional leaders strengthened construction work on the Afghan section of the natural gas pipeline that would link Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan and India.

June 2018
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development invested more than EUR250 million in various sectors of the Turkmen economy within 65 investment projects throughout the country and supported more than 200 enterprises via consulting projects.

August 2018
The five Caspian nations (Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan) signed a new Convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea in Aktau, Kazakhstan. The convention focuses on the legal status of the Caspian Sea and the rights of the five bordering nations, with key areas of interest including the division of natural resources, territorial rights and enhancing multilateral relations.

November 2018
The Asian Development Bank approved a USD500 million loan in November 2018 for the USD675 million National Power Grid Strengthening Project. The loan aimed to boost Turkmenistan's transmission network and make power supply in the country more reliable. When complete in 2023, the project would help boost Turkmenistan's capacity to trade electricity and increase the volume of current electricity exports to Afghanistan.

March 2019
Representatives from Pakistan and Turkmenistan met to discuss connecting the two countries' power grids in order to export and import electricity between the two. The connection would supply Afghanistan with power. Currently, Afghanistan relies on imported electricity for the majority of the power that it consumes.

August 2019
The inaugural Caspian Economic Forum was held in Awaza, Turkmenistan and it was attended by Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. Territorial issues were discussed in relation to exploitation rights in the Caspian Sea.

Sources: BBC Country Profile – Timeline, national sources, Fitch Solutions

Major Economic Indicators
Graph: Turkmenistan real GDP and inflation
 
Graph: Turkmenistan real GDP and inflation
 
Graph: Turkmenistan GDP by sector (2015)
Note: 2015 is the latest available data
Graph: Turkmenistan GDP by sector (2015)
Note: 2015 is the latest available data
Graph: Turkmenistan unemployment rate
Note: Data shows total unemployment (% of total labour force) (modelled ILO estimate)
Graph: Turkmenistan unemployment rate
Note: Data shows total unemployment (% of total labour force) (modelled ILO estimate)
Graph: Turkmenistan current account balance
 
Graph: Turkmenistan current account balance
 

e = estimate, f = forecast
Sources: IMF, World Bank, Fitch Solutions
Date last reviewed: August 15, 2019

External Trade

Merchandise Trade

Graph: Turkmenistan merchandise trade
 
Graph: Turkmenistan merchandise trade
 
 

e = estimate
Source: WTO
Date last reviewed: August 15, 2019

Graph: Turkmenistan major export commodities (2018)
Note: Some product categories aggregated into other goods as they account for less than 1% individually
Graph: Turkmenistan major export commodities (2018)
Note: Some product categories aggregated into other goods as they account for less than 1% individually
Graph: Turkmenistan major export markets (2018)
Note: Data derived from mirror data as there is no direct data available for recent years
 
Graph: Turkmenistan major export markets (2017)
 
Graph: Turkmenistan major import commodities (2018)
Note: Unclassfied products not graphically represented as they count for less than 1%
Graph: Turkmenistan major import commodities (2018)
Note: Unclassfied products not graphically represented as they count for less than 1%
Graph: Turkmenistan major import markets (2018)
 
Graph: Turkmenistan major import markets (2018)
 

Sources: Trade Map (mirror data), Fitch Solutions
Date last reviewed: August 15, 2019

 

Trade in Services

Graph: Turkmenistan trade in services
 
Graph: Turkmenistan trade in services
 
 

Note: There was no data available from the WTO/Trade Map for this indicator for years other than 1996-1997
Source: WTO
Date last reviewed: August 15, 2019

Trade Policies
  • Turkmenistan is not a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO); however, when drafting laws and regulations, the government usually includes a clause that states that international agreements and laws will prevail in case there is a conflict between local and international legislations.

  • Turkmenistan pursues a policy of neutrality (acknowledged by the United Nations in 1995) and does not join regional blocs. Turkmenistan is currently a member of the Economic Cooperation Organization, a 10-member intergovernmental organisation created in 1985 to promote trade and economic co-operation among its members. The country also signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement in 2004 with the United States, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It acts as a regional forum to improve investment climate and expand trade within Central Asia.

  • Turkmenistan requires that all export and import contracts and investment projects be registered at the State Commodity and Raw Materials Exchange (SCRME) and at the Ministry of Economy. The procedure applies not only to the contracts signed at the SCRME, but also to contracts signed between third parties. The SCRME is state-owned and is the only exchange in the country. The contract registration procedure includes an assessment of price justification.

  • All import contracts must be registered before goods are delivered to Turkmenistan. The government generally favours long-term investment projects that do not require regular hard currency purchases of raw materials from foreign markets.

  • The import of goods into Turkmenistan is generally subject to 2% customs duty. The taxable base is determined as the customs value of imported goods. There is a list of certain items that are subject to specific customs duty (around 50 items), and the rates of specific customs duties may vary from 5% (for products such as cement) to 100% (eg, for carbonic acid) depending on the type of imported goods. There is also a customs clearance fee of 0.2% from the customs value of imported goods. Excise tax is paid on goods or products that are considered in the list of excised goods or products. Normally, excised goods consist of alcoholic beverages, tobacco products and automobiles. Excise rates vary based on the type of goods as well as by domestic production or import.

  • In an attempt to diversify gas exports, Turkmenistan is embarking on the construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline and, after a summit of the heads of the Caspian states, is considering the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline. In addition, the potential resumption of gas supplies to Russia as well as the possibility of exporting gas to the South Caucasus by using gas swaps with Iran would help to diminish the risk of overreliance on a single client. The resumption of natural gas supplies to Russia will take pressure off the government to boost electricity exports to Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkey to raise revenue.

  • The government introduced an amendment to the Administrative Offences Code that raises the fines for illegal foreign exchange transactions (selling and purchasing foreign currency via informal channels) and trading in foreign currency on the territory of Turkmenistan. The currency is not easily convertible, and an inability to convert enough Turkmenistan manat into hard currency is problematic for many companies operating in the country.

  • In 2015, Turkmenistan launched a policy of import substitution and there are reports of rising customs duties. Turkmenistan has introduced new customs fees for a list of six types of imported goods, including fruits and vegetables, juices and other unannounced products. A presidential resolution may waive all or some customs duties and taxes, including the excise tax. There are no standards-setting consortia or organisations besides Turkmen State Standards and the licensing agency. There is no independent body for filing complaints. Financial disclosure requirements are neither transparent nor consistent with international norms.

Sources: WTO – Trade Policy Review, Fitch Solutions

Trade Agreement

Multinational Trade Agreements

Active

  1. Armenia-Turkmenistan Free Trade Agreement (FTA): This agreement was signed and came into effect in July 1996 and enables the free flow of goods between the two countries at preferential tariffs and trade terms. In May 2017, Serzh Sarkisian, Armenian president at the time, called for the launch of large-scale joint economic projects by Armenia and Turkmenistan. Hydrocarbon-rich Turkmenistan was Armenia’s principal supplier of natural gas until the Armenian government signed a long-term deal with Russia’s Gazprom monopoly in the late 1990s. In 2017, the Armenian government indicated its desire to resume imports of Turkmen gas via neighbouring Iran.

  2. The Azerbaijan-Turkmenistan FTA: This FTA entered into force in March 1996, but had not been notified to the WTO. Trade between the countries remains limited.

  3. Russia-Turkmenistan FTA: This agreement was signed and came into force (GATT notified) in April 1993 and enables the free flow of goods between the two countries at preferential tariffs and terms.

  4. Georgia-Turkmenistan FTA: This agreement was signed and came into force in January 2000 and enables the free flow of goods between the two countries at preferential tariffs and terms and streamlines customs procedures.

Under Negotiation

Commonwealth of Independent States Free Trade Area (CISFTA): The CISFTA's participating countries are Azerbaijan, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, and the agreement was signed on October 18. The free trade zone area was designed to reduce all trade fees on a number of goods between participating countries. Turkmenistan is an associate member. The key areas of partnership among the countries are energy, transport and communications.

Sources: WTO Regional Trade Agreements database, The United Nations Economic and Social Commissions for Asia and the Pacific, The Asian Development Bank

Investment Policy

Foreign Direct Investment

Graph: Turkmenistan FDI stock
 
Graph: Turkmenistan FDI stock
 
Graph: Turkmenistan FDI flow
 
Graph: Turkmenistan FDI flow
 

Note: Data not available for outward flows and stock
Source: UNCTAD
Date last reviewed: August 15, 2019

 

Foreign Direct Investment Policy

  1. In January 2013, Turkmenistan created the Agency for Protection from Economic Risks to oversee international investments in Turkmenistan. The agency is responsible for a comprehensive review of foreign companies wishing to enter Turkmenistan's market that includes assessment of the financial and political risks associated with allowing the company to do business in Turkmenistan. According to the 2008 Law on Foreign Investment, all foreign and domestic companies and foreign investments must be registered at the Ministry of Economy. Development and implementation of public policies to attract foreign investment, investment coordination and assistance to foreign investors are carried out by the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan and its authorised state body. The Agency for Protection from Economic Risks under the Ministry of Economy and Development makes a decision on providing any investment-related services to potential foreign investors based on criteria such as the financial status of the investor.

  2. In 2018, Turkmenistan's president put out a seven-year economic and social development plan for 2018-2024, which shows some continued intention to continue with reforms in an effort to improve the country's macroeconomic prospects. Among other things the plan aims to encourage greater participation by the private sector and reduce the dominance of the public sector. This includes the privatisation of state-owned enterprises, the creation of special economic zones and simplifying administrative procedures and regulations in an attempt to attract domestic and foreign private investment.

  3. Turkmenistan has entered into a five-year Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) with The Asian Development Bank, and this should aid in the country's reform initiatives until 2021. The Asian Development Bank stated that the CPS will support the country in three ways: promoting energy trade, diversifying non-hydrocarbon sectors by enhancing connectivity through investments in transport infrastructure and spurring the private sector, and providing knowledge on economic diversification and reforms.

  4. The Government of Turkmenistan has not undergone an investment policy review by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) or WTO. While Turkmenistan has expressed interest in exploring the WTO accession process and has created an intergovernmental commission in January 2013 to review the benefits of accession, the country has not yet formally applied to join. Nevertheless, Turkmenistan has signed bilateral investment agreements with Armenia, Bahrain, Belgium, China, Egypt, France, Georgia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Pakistan, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and Uzbekistan. In July 2009, the European Union passed a trade agreement with Turkmenistan.

  5. The Petroleum Law of 2008 (last amended in 2012) regulates offshore and onshore petroleum operations in Turkmenistan, including petroleum licensing, taxation, accounting and other rights and obligations of state agencies and foreign partners. The Petroleum Law supersedes all other legislation pertaining to petroleum activities, including the Tax Code.

  6. According to the Land Code (2004), foreign companies or individuals are permitted to lease land for non-agricultural purposes, but only the president has the authority to grant the lease. Foreign companies may own structures and buildings.

  7. Incoming foreign investment is regulated by the Law on Foreign Investment (last amended in 2008), the Law on Investments (last amended in 1993), and the Law on Joint Stock Societies (1999), which pertains to start-up corporations, acquisitions, mergers and takeovers.

  8. Turkmenistan adopted a Bankruptcy Law in 1993. Other laws affecting foreign investors include the Law on Investments (last amended in 1993), the Law on Joint Stock Societies (1999), the Law on Enterprises (2000), the Law on Business Activities (last amended in 1993), the Civil Code enforced since 2000 and the 1993 Law on Property.

  9. Most foreign investment is governed by project-specific presidential decrees, which can grant privileges not provided by legislation. Legally, there are no limits on the foreign ownership of companies. Although Turkmenistan regularly amends its laws ostensibly to meet international standards, the country often fails to implement investment-related legislation.

  10. Tax and investment incentives may be negotiated on a case-by-case basis. The president has often issued special decrees granting taxation exemptions and other privileges to specific investors. However, since adopting a new edition of the Tax Code in 2004, such practice has been significantly reduced. Cross-border transactions are normally scrutinised by tax authorities during statutory tax audits in view of withholding tax and reverse-charge VAT implications. Foreign tax credits are available to tax residents of Turkmenistan based on the provisions of the respective tax treaties.

  11. Private entities in Turkmenistan have the right to establish and own business enterprises. The 2000 Law on Enterprises defines the legal forms of state and private businesses (state enterprises, sole proprietorships, cooperatives, partnerships, corporations and enterprises of non-government organisations). The law allows foreign companies to establish subsidiaries, though the government does not currently register subsidiaries. The Civil Code of Turkmenistan and the Law on Enterprises govern the operation of representative and branch offices in Turkmenistan and all firms must be registered with the Ministry of Economy.

  12. Turkmenistan's legislation is not clear about acquisitions and mergers involving foreign parties, nor does it have specific provisions for the disposition of interests in business enterprises, either solely domestic and those with foreign participation. Governmental approval is necessary for acquisitions and mergers of enterprises with state shares.

  13. On January 1, 2012, Turkmenistan's banks switched to International Financial Reporting Standards. Government agencies transitioned to National Financial Reporting Standards in January 2014. Despite these positive steps, Turkmenistan remains one of the most closed economies in the region and some financing of large projects remains off the banks' books.

  14. The nature of government-awarded contracts may vary in terms of the requirements for ownership of a local enterprises. All contractors operating in Turkmenistan for a period of at least 183 days a year must register at the Main State Tax Service. National accounting and international financial reporting standards apply to foreign investors. In the energy sector, Turkmenistan precludes foreign investors from investing in the exploration and production of its onshore gas resources. All land in Turkmenistan is government owned. The State Migration Service of Turkmenistan requires that citizens of Turkmenistan make up 90% of the workforce of a company owned by a foreign investor.

  15. Although there is no specific legislation requiring foreign investors to receive government approval to divest, in practice they are expected to co-ordinate such actions with the government. Moreover, there are several tax examinations, licence extension permits, and customs clearance and visa issuance obstacles that investors face. In most cases, the government has insisted on maintaining a majority interest in any joint venture.

  16. There are no legal limits on the foreign ownership or control of companies. In practice, the government has only allowed fully-owned foreign operations in the oil sector and, in one case, in cellular communications. Foreigners may establish and own businesses and engage in business activities within the boundaries of domestic laws, but repatriation of revenues is very challenging as currency conversion remains a major issue in the country. According to the Law on Foreign Investments, foreign investors, especially those operating in the free economic zones (FEZs), may enjoy some incentives and privileges including licence and tax exemptions, reduced registration and certification fees, land leasing rights and extended visa validity.

  17. There are no legal limits on the foreign ownership or control of companies. In practice, the government has only allowed fully-owned foreign operations in the oil sector and, in one case, in cellular communications. Foreigners may establish and own businesses and engage in business activities within the boundaries of domestic laws, but repatriation of revenues is very challenging as currency conversion remains a major issue in the country. According to the Law on Foreign Investments, foreign investors, especially those operating in the FEZs, may enjoy some incentives and privileges including licence and tax exemptions, reduced registration and certification fees, land leasing rights and extended visa validity.

  18. On October 9, 2017, Turkmenistan introduced a new Law on FEZs. The law provides simplified administrative procedures for establishing new ventures and provides significant tax, customs, licensing and other regulatory benefits.

Sources: WTO – Trade Policy Review, ITA, US Department of Commerce

 

Free Trade Zones and Investment Incentives

Free Trade Zone/Incentive Programme Main Incentives Available
There are 10 FEZs in Turkmenistan: Mary-Bayramaly, Ekerem-Hazar, Turkmenabat-Seydi, Bakharly-Serdar, Ashgabat-Anew, Ashgabat-Abadan, Saragt, Guneshli, Ashgabat International Airport and Dashoguz Airport The Law on Economic Zones for Free Enterprise was enacted in 1993, and guarantees the rights of businesses, both foreign and domestic, to operate in FEZs without profit ceilings. The law forbids the nationalisation of enterprises operating in the zones and discriminating against foreign investors.

In October 2017 the government announced that FEZs were exempt from:

- Land lease fees for the first 3 years of operation of land and 50% fee exemptions for the next 7 years
- Business licence requirements for the duration of FEZ membership
- VAT for the duration of FEZ membership
- Property tax for the first 10 years of operation at an FEZ
- Corporate income tax for the first 10 years of operation at an FEZ
- Customs duty for both imported and exported goods
Awaza (Avaza) Tourist Zone (ATZ) In 2007, Turkmenistan created the ATZ to promote tourism and the development of its Caspian Sea coast. It granted some tax incentives to entities willing to invest in the construction of hotels and recreational facilities. Amendments to the Tax Code in October 2007 exempted construction and tourist facilities in the ATZ from VAT. Services offered at tourist facilities, including catering and room accommodations, are also exempt from VAT until 2020. In general, tax and investment incentives for the ATZ can be negotiated case by case. Turkmenistan also adopted multiple-year national development programmes in various sectors of the economy, which might include separate sub-sections on attracting investment in these sectors. However, the country's visa regime is rigid.

Sources: US Department of Commerce, national sources, Fitch Solutions

Taxation – 2019
  • Value Added Tax: 15%
  • Corporate Income Tax: 8-20%

Source: Turkmenistan State Tax Service

 

Important Updates to Taxation Information

Legal entities (qualified as small-and-medium-sized enterprises) operating under the simplified tax regime are required to pay 2% CIT from revenue in the form of advance payments from the date when they receive revenues to their bank accounts. Banking institutions act as a tax agents and perform the withholding of 2% CIT from the taxpayer's funds and make the respective tax payments to the State Budget of Turkmenistan.

 

Business Taxes

Type of Tax Tax Rate and Base
CIT income tax - 8% for resident non-governmental entities (or 2% in cases where the company qualifies as a small-or medium-sized enterprise)
- 20% for other resident activities
- 20% for branches of foreign legal entities
- 20% for companies involved in oil and gas operations
- 20% for entities with more than 50% government stake
Subsurface-use tax applicable to legal entities and individual entrepreneurs extracting natural resources and using land or subsoil waters for the extraction of chemical products Taxable operations include the sale of natural resources extracted by taxpayers and utilisation of natural resources for consumption. Tax rates vary depending on the goods being extracted. Natural or associated gas extraction is taxed at 22%, and crude oil extraction is taxed at 10%. Tax rates for other mineral resources vary depending on profitability (internal rate of return) from 0% to 50%.
Social security contributions (all employers) Employers are subject to a 20% pension fund contribution (PFC) to the State Pension Fund of Turkmenistan for obligatory pension insurance. The PFC does not apply to foreign personnel (unless they permanently reside in Turkmenistan). Employers can be subject to obligatory professional pension insurance at a rate of 3.5% with respect to certain types of employees (eg, those who work in hazardous conditions/military service/civil aviation).
A special purpose duty aimed at improving urban and rural territories is imposed on registered entities 1% of the taxable base (contractors and subcontractors operating under the umbrella of the petroleum law may be exempt from this duty)
Development fund contributions Agriculture Development Fund is 3%, and the contribution rate for the Ashgabat City Development Fund is 0.5% of the accounting income. Generally, contractors and subcontractors operating under the umbrella of the petroleum law may be exempt from these contributions.
VAT/goods and services tax (standard) 15%; a zero rate applies to exports of goods (except for oil and gas) and international transport services. Generally, contractors operating under the umbrella of the petroleum law may be exempt from this tax.
Withholding Tax (for non-residents) - Income from dividends and interest : 15%
- Income from royalties : 15%
- Income from technical service fees : 15%
- Income from other sources : 15%
- Income from branch remittance : 0%
Property Tax 1% on the average annual net book value of fixed assets and average annual value of tangible assets used for business purposes and located in Turkmenistan. Generally, contractors operating under the umbrella of the petroleum law may be exempt from this levy.

Source: Turkmenistan State Tax Service
Date last reviewed: August 15, 2019

Foreign Worker Requirements

Localisation Requirements

The Turkmen government seeks to implement a labour rule that requires foreign companies to hire nine local employees for every one international staff member employed in the country. The State Migration Service of Turkmenistan requires that citizens of Turkmenistan make up 90% of the workforce of a company owned by a foreign investor. The regulation on this ratio does not differentiate between senior management and other employees. Generally, with respect to the issuance of work permits to foreign individuals, the State Migration Service adheres to the principle of priority to Turkmenistan citizens regarding the filling of vacant positions as well as adherence to an established ratio of the number of Turkmenistan citizens and foreign individuals working at a company.

 

Special Skills Requirements

An invitation to a foreign specialist to hold a position of the head of a company, division, department, workshop or similar unit must be accompanied by copies of documents confirming work positions held by such specialists within the last five years. The sponsor (inviting organisation) must submit the application for a work permit to the State Migration Service. A work permit is usually issued for one year and should be renewed each subsequent year. The maximum number of work permit renewals is not established in the Turkmenistan legislation. Foreign individuals or stateless persons can apply for residence permits if they have resided in Turkmenistan for two years.

 

Visa requirements

In accordance with the law, citizens of all countries require a visa to visit Turkmenistan. To obtain a tourist visa for Turkmenistan, all foreign nationals must supply an invitation letter issued by an agency licensed in Turkmenistan. A work permit is required if a person arrives in the country for business (employment) purposes and intends to stay in the country for more than one month. A business stay in the country for 30 days or less does not require a work permit. The State Migration Service controls access to the country and monitors the movement of foreign citizens. All visitors staying for more than three business days are required to register with the State Migration Service on entry. Representatives of foreign businesses seeking to enter Turkmenistan for the first time may have difficulty obtaining an entry visa unless invited by a government agency or by a local business partner.

Travel to most border areas requires a special permit. A special permit, issued prior to arrival by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is required if visiting the following places: Atamurat, Cheleken, Dashoguz, Serakhs and Serhetabat.

Foreign citizens and stateless persons may enter and stay in Turkmenistan on the basis of an entry visa to Turkmenistan, unless otherwise stipulated by international treaties of Turkmenistan. For members of diplomatic missions, consular offices and other equivalent representative offices of foreign states and international organisations in Turkmenistan and foreign journalists accredited in Turkmenistan and their families, an accreditation card issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan and written or electronic requests from these missions, agencies or organisations is required.

Sources: Government sources, Fitch Solutions

Risks

Sovereign Credit Ratings

  Rating (Outlook) Rating Date
Moody's Not rated N/A
Standard & Poor's Not rated N/A
Fitch Ratings Not rated N/A

 

Competitiveness and Efficiency Indicators

  World Ranking
2017 2018 2019
Ease of Doing Business Index N/A N/A N/A
Ease of Paying Taxes Index N/A N/A N/A
Logistics Performance Index N/A 126/160 N/A
Corruption Perception Index 167/180 161/180 N/A
IMD World Competitiveness N/A N/A N/A

Sources: World Bank, IMD, Transparency International

 

Fitch Solutions Risk Indices

  World Ranking
2017 2018 2019
Economic Risk Index Rank N/A 155/202 158/202
Short Term Economic Risk Score 35.8 37.1 36.9
Long Term Economic Risk Score 41.2 42.0 42.6
Political Risk Index Rank N/A 149/202 152/202
Short Term Political Risk Score 73.1 73.1 72.5
Long Term Political Risk Score 53.2 53.2 52.4
Operational Risk Index Rank N/A 146/201 150/201
Operational Risk Score 35.8 37.7 37.6

Source: Fitch Solutions
Date last reviewed: August 15, 2019

 

Fitch Solutions Risk Summary

ECONOMIC RISK

Turkmenistan's economic growth prospects will remain flat over the coming years owing to its heavy reliance on hydrocarbon and electricity exports and a narrow economic base. Despite a ramp-up in demand for gas from Mainland China, Turkmenistan's gas exports to the country are unlikely to increase significantly as a substantial part of this demand will be met by liquefied natural gas imports from Australia over the near term. Over the longer term, however, gas exports to Mainland China are likely to pick up following the completion of Line D of the Central Asia-Mainland China Pipeline set for 2020. The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline construction has also started in Afghanistan and will lead to new gas markets for the country. However, its completion date cannot be estimated at this stage. Furthermore, Turkmenistan has shown a willingness to conduct reforms over the coming years as seen from its ambitious seven-year plan, and the government is likely to adopt them at a gradual pace, which will be positive for the business environment.

OPERATIONAL RISK

Turkmenistan imports the vast majority of its industrial equipment and consumer goods. The government's foreign exchange reserves and foreign loans pay for industrial equipment and infrastructure projects; however, the country's exports remain heavily exposed to fluctuations in global oil and gas prices due to the narrow basket of key export products. The abundant gas deposits underneath the Karakum Desert, which occupies 70% of the land area of Turkmenistan, remain the backbone of the economy. Logistics risks remain elevated due to the lack of sufficient overland connectivity and limitations in utilities infrastructure. Regional infrastructure development projects in the energy space bode well for logistics capacity enhancements in the years ahead. Furthermore, labour market risks remain elevated due to foreign worker limitations and relatively uncompetitive domestic skills development.

Source: Fitch Solutions
Date last reviewed: August 18, 2019

 

Fitch Solutions Political and Economic Risk Indicies

Graph: Turkmenistan short term political risk index
 
Graph: Turkmenistan short term political risk index
 
Graph: Turkmenistan long term political risk index
 
Graph: Turkmenistan long term political risk index
 
Graph: Turkmenistan short term economic risk index
 
Graph: Turkmenistan short term economic risk index
 
Graph: Turkmenistan long term economic risk index
 
Graph: Turkmenistan long term economic risk index
 

100 = Lowest risk; 0 = Highest risk
Source: Fitch Solutions Political and Economic Risk Indices
Date last reviewed: August 15, 2019

 

Fitch Solutions Operational Risk Index

  Operational Risk Labour Market Risk Trade and Investment Risk Logistics Risk Crime and Security Risk
Turkmenistan score 37.6 38.7 39.3 43.1 29.4
Caucasus and Central Asia Average 50.4 56.7 53.4 46.6 44.9
Caucasus and Central Asia Position (out of 8) 8 8 7 5 8
Emerging Europe Average 57.4 55.9 59.1 58.6 55.9
Emerging Europe Position (out of 31) 31 31 30 28 31
Global Average 49.6 50.3 49.8 49.0 49.2
Global Position (out of 201) 150 165 136 113 171

100 = Lowest risk; 0 = Highest risk
Source: Fitch Solutions Operational Risk Index

Graph: Turkmenistan vs global and regional averages
 
Graph: Turkmenistan vs global and regional averages
 
Country Operational Risk Index Labour Market Risk Index Trade and Investment Risk Index Logistics Risk Index Crime and Security Risk Index
Georgia 62.2 64.1 71.4 54.9 58.3
Azerbaijan 59.1 61.1 62.5 59.5 53.2
Kazakhstan 58.7 70.2 58.9 54.1 51.5
Armenia 55.2 58.2 58.6 49.9 54.2
Tajikistan 43.7 53.8 39.1 38.8 43.2
Kyrgyzstan 43.6 54.2 44.6 38.0 37.7
Uzbekistan 43.2 53.4 53.1 34.7 31.7
Turkmenistan 37.6 38.7 39.3 43.1 29.4
Regional Averages 50.4 56.7 53.4 46.6 44.9
Emerging Markets Averages 46.9 48.6 45.4 47.4 46.1
Global Markets Averages 49.6 50.3 49.8 49.0 49.2

100 = Lowest risk; 0 = Highest risk
Source: Fitch Solutions Operational Risk Index
Date last reviewed: August 15, 2019

Hong Kong Connection

Hong Kong’s Trade with Turkmenistan

Graph: Major export commodities to Turkmenistan (2018)
 
Graph: Major export commodities to Turkmenistan (2018)
 
Graph: Major import commodities from Turkmenistan (2018)
 
Graph: Major import commodities from Turkmenistan (2018)
 

Note: Graph shows the main Hong Kong exports to/imports from Turkmenistan (by consignment)
Date last reviewed: August 15, 2019

Graph: Merchandise exports to Turkmenistan
 
Graph: Merchandise exports to Turkmenistan
 
Graph: Merchandise imports from Turkmenistan
 
Graph: Merchandise imports from Turkmenistan
 

Note: Graph shows Hong Kong exports to/imports from Turkmenistan (by consignment)
Exchange Rate HK$/US$, average
7.75 (2014)
7.75 (2015)
7.76 (2016)
7.79 (2017)
7.83 (2018)
Sources: Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department, Fitch Solutions
Date last reviewed: August 15, 2019

  2018 Growth rate (%)
Number of Turkmen residents visiting Hong Kong 23 -28.1

Source: Hong Kong Tourism Board

  2018 Growth rate (%)
Number of European residents visiting Hong Kong 1,961,448 1.7

Source: Hong Kong Tourism Board
Date last reviewed: August 15, 2019

 

Commercial Presence in Hong Kong

  2019 Growth rate (%)
Number of Turkmen companies in Hong Kong N/A
 
N/A
- Regional headquarters
- Regional offices
- Local offices

 

Treaties and Agreements between Hong Kong and Turkmenistan

The double tax agreement (DTA) between China and Turkmenistan and its corresponding protocol came into force on May 30, 2010. The DTA will apply to taxes withheld at source from income derived on or after January 1, 2011, as well as other taxes collected in any taxable year starting January 1, 2011.

Source: China State Administration of Taxation (SAT)

 

Visa Requirements for Hong Kong Residents

HKSAR passport holders require a visa for Turkmenistan for up to 90 days stay. All foreigners require a visa to enter Turkmenistan and transit visas are the only visas issued without a letter of invitation. Permits are needed to visit the border regions of Turkmenistan. The nearest embassy to Hong Kong is in mainland China. The Embassy of Turkmenistan requires that the applicants submit their visa applications directly as they may require an in-person appointment.

The following areas are termed ‘class one’ border zones and entry without documentation is not possible: Eastern Turkmenistan Farab, Atamurat (Kerki) plus adjoining areas, Kugitang Nature Reserve, Tagtabazar and Serkhetabat. Northern Turkmenistan Entire Dashoguz region including Konye-Urgench, Dargan-Ata and Gazachak. Western Turkmenistan Bekdash, Turkmenbashi, Hazar, Dekhistan, Yangykala, Gyzyletrek, Garrygala, Nokhur and surrounding villages. Ashgabat, Mary, Merv, Turkmenabat and Balkanabat are not restricted, but anywhere outside these areas should be listed on a general visa, thus giving permission to go there.

Sources: State Migration Service of Turkmenistan, Fitch Solutions
Date last reviewed: August 15, 2019

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