Turkmenistan: 21st Joint Committee meeting under the Interim Agreement on Trade and trade related matters takes place
The European Union and Turkmenistan held their 21st Joint Committee meeting on 24 November 2022 in hybrid format. The meeting was part of a series of bilateral EU – Turkmenistan events in the same week in Ashgabat. It was preceded by the Joint EU-Turkmenistan conference on “Green energy and EU strategies for the use of hydrogen and the reduction of methane emissions” on 22-23 November and followed by the annual Human Rights Dialogue on 25 November. The Joint Committee reviewed the progress made in the relations between the EU and Turkmenistan in the last year, in particular in the areas of trade, economic and development cooperation.
The EU and Turkmenistan discussed the macroeconomic situation in Turkmenistan and in the EU and exchanged on the challenges in their respective areas of economic activity. The EU is Turkmenistan’s third biggest trade partner. The EU indicated that bilateral trade is still far from its potential and encouraged Turkmenistan to diversify its exports to the EU. The ongoing WTO accession process is an important facilitator in this regard.
The EU and Turkmenistan exchanged views on the latest developments to ensure sustainable transport connections between Europe and Central Asia. The EU underlined the importance of ensuring alternative sustainable, reliable and efficient trade routes to connect Europe and Asia bypassing Russia. Turkmenistan elaborated on practical steps taken to preserve and develop further its role as regional transport and connectivity hub. The EU informed about its response to the current energy crisis, namely REPowerEU, and encouraged Turkmenistan to join the Global Methane Pledge. Turkmenistan explained that it aimed at diversifying its energy exports and that it was working on its integration into the global energy system.
The EU and Turkmenistan discussed ongoing regional programmes and bilateral cooperation in the years 2021-2027. The EU informed about the two regional Team Europe Initiatives for Central Asia focussing on (i) water, energy and climate change, and (ii) digital connectivity, which were launched at the EU-Central Asia Global Gateway Connectivity Conference on 18 November in Samarkand. The parties took stock of the cooperation in the field of education, including the Erasmus+ programme and the new EU programme on vocational training in Central Asia DARYA (Dialogue and action for resourceful youth), and discussed perspectives for the future.
The EU delegation was led by Mr Luc Devigne, Deputy Managing Director for Russia, Eastern Partnership, Central Asia, Regional cooperation and OSCE of the European External Action Service. The delegation of Turkmenistan was led by Mr Muhammetgeldi Serdarov, Minister of Finance and Economy of Turkmenistan.