Turkmenistan is France’s second-leading trading partner in Central Asia, but lags far behind Kazakhstan. France holds a limited market share in Turkmenistan (approximately 3%), far behind Russia (43%), Iran (21%) and Turkey (12%). French exports are essentially made up of mechanical and electrical capital goods as well as intermediate goods (minerals, chemicals) used in the extractive industry.
However, the revival of a certain number of contracts has helped increase trade, which reached a level of nearly €130M in 2008. This increase continued in 2009, during which total trade stood at €192M. This development in trade between France and Turkmenistan was especially beneficial to French exports (up 103% compared with the first 11 months of 2008 and standing at €163.5M). On the other hand, imports, 87% of which are hydrocarbons, are down 30% compared with 2008 (€29M over the first 11 months of 2009), due to the drop in hydrocarbon prices.
The Secretary of State for Foreign Trade’s visit to Ashgabat in March 2009 marked France’s desire, which until then had occupied a backseat despite the presence of certain French companies in the country, to resume Franco-Turkmen economic relations.
In the energy sector, Turkmenistan’s desire to diversify its exports might open up opportunities for French companies. Considerable investments will be necessary to develop national infrastructures that are most often obsolete, to export energy production. To achieve this, Turkmenistan will have to turn to foreign investors.
Updated on 01.05.10