A proactive position, harnessing friendly ties and fundamentally new approaches could pave the way for Ukraine to re-join the list of the major foreign economic partners of Turkmenistan and revive energy cooperation with this Central Asian country. The Ambassador of Ukraine to Turkmenistan Viktor Maiko reflected on the existing opportunities in his article, published by the main news agency of the country “Ukrinform”.
“In order to regain the status of one of the main foreign economic partners of Turkmenistan, as we as the rest of the countries of the Central Asian region, Ukraine should take a proactive position, use the existing potential, friendly ties and established contacts,” the high-ranking diplomat said.
He noted that Turkmenistan is steadily developing nation today. The country’s foreign trade turnover for January-August 2021 grew by almost 10% compared to the same period last year, and GDP increased by more than 6%.
However, the annual trade exchange between Ukraine and Turkmenistan in 2020 is equal to the trade that 15 years ago were ensured in a couple of weeks, Maiko regretted.
According to him, Turkmenistan is interested in importing a wide range of Ukrainian products, including ferrous metal products, locomotives, wagons, turbines, pumps, industrial cranes, agricultural machinery, pharmaceutical and chemical products, paper, cardboard, agricultural products and food.
“The transport and logistics issue is critically important in the context of the development of bilateral relations,” the Ambassador stressed. He cited a simple fact that the cost of exporting one ton of Ukrainian grain to Turkmenistan is about US$ 100, which negates the minimal competitive advantages of Ukraine in the Asian market.
In order to overcome the existing difficulties, the Ukrainian envoy proposes his country’s authority to create a Working Group, looping all relevant public and private stakeholders to develop a transport and logistics strategy for greater Asia.
The diplomat also expressed his views on resuming energy cooperation between Ukraine and Turkmenistan. He recalled that before 2006 Turkmenistan was the only gas supplier to Ukraine.
“The revival of full-fledged cooperation with Turkmenistan in the energy sector requires extremely high motivation, new approaches, new models and proposals,” he said.
Maiko also hinted at the prospects of Ukraine’s participation in Turkmen gas export projects to Europe. “800-kilometer East-West gas pipeline with a capacity of 30 bcm of gas per year has been built, which begins with one of the world’s largest natural gas fields Galkynysh and ends on the coast of the Caspian Sea. In the future, this gas pipeline will serve as the first link in the gas supply infrastructure towards Europe. Whether Ukraine will be able to become a partner and ally of Turkmenistan in the implementation of this ambitious goal will depend only on us,” the Ambassador concluded. /// nCa, 30 September 2021