Global Gateway Forum: EU-ITC sign an agreement to promote Turkmenistan’s participation in trade
27 October 2023
(Brussels/Geneva) – Turkmenistan is set to play a stronger role in global trade with the signing of an agreement by the European Union (EU) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) on 25 October on the sidelines of the Global Gateway Forum.
The agreement marks the launch of a project – to be implemented by ITC and funded by the EU – to support the Government of Turkmenistan in acceding to the World Trade Organization and in becoming a member of the multilateral trading system. The project will support Turkmenistan’s efforts to promote economic development and decent work in the country by improving the national business climate and the competitiveness of its small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Deputy Director General for international Partnerships Myriam Ferran and ITC Executive Director Pamela Coke-Hamilton signed the agreement of €6 million under the bilateral Cooperation Facility (€11 million for 2021-2024), in the presence of the Turkmenistan Minister of Finance and Economy, Serdar Jorayev.
Signing a multifaceted agreement
The agreement places a particular focus on supporting women-led businesses to integrate into regional and global value chains and more broadly, promoting a gender-inclusive environment by supporting women policymakers.
This agreement will also initiate trade facilitation reforms, increasing the country’s investment attractiveness and creating a conducive e-commerce environment. It will promote Turkmenistan’s international economic engagement and participation in regional and global trade.
European Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilianen said: ‘Sustainable connections are key for the Central Asian countries. Through Global Gateway, the EU is supporting Turkmenistan’s integration into global trade. This is how we contribute to economic development and decent work in Turkmenistan, creating new opportunities for its people, youth and businesses and reinforcing multilateralism.’
ITC Executive Director Pamela Coke-Hamilton said: ‘We’ve been working closely with Turkmenistan and the EU for years, with the common goal of achieving economic growth and sustainable development through trade. We’ll continue to support Turkmenistan by providing access to timely trade data and support in key areas, such as accession negotiations, trade and investment facilitation, and value chain development.’
ITC through its EU-funded Ready4Trade Central Asia project has been offering comprehensive support to Turkmenistan since 2020, including assisting on the initial stages of the WTO accession process, enhancing cross-border regulatory transparency, empowering Turkmen businesses in particular women entrepreneurs to meet trade formalities and standards, as well as facilitating the entry of Turkmen artisans into online markets.
Notes for the Editor
About Turkmenistan – Turkmenistan is an upper-middle income country in Central Asia. Although it holds the world's fourth largest reserves of natural gas and its economy relies on the extractive industry, the country has shown in recent years increased interest in developing a greener and more diversified economy, by upscaling the domestic use of renewable energies and reducing methane emissions. The country has currently an overall trade openness rather low at 6% of GDP. Its strategic geographical location makes it an important logistical hub for EU-Asian trade.
In recent years, the EU and Turkmenistan have been increasingly looking to upscale their cooperation in areas of mutual interest, such as the green economy, improvement of the business climate and accession to the World Trade Organization. Turkmenistan was granted the status of acceding country to the World Trade Organization in February 2022.
Bilateral relations between Turkmenistan and the EU are governed by the 2010 Interim Trade Agreement. Within this framework, the EU and Turkmenistan discuss implementation of the EU Strategy on Central Asia, trade and economy, political developments and key aspects of EU cooperation programmes, rule of law, education, health, and support to civil society.
About Global Gateway – The Global Gateway Forum brings together for the first time an assembly of government representatives from the European Union and across the globe, alongside key stakeholders from the private sector, civil society, leaders, financial institutions, and international organisations to promote global investment in transformative infrastructure – hard and soft - to deliver on SDGs.
Global Gateway is the EU’s positive offer to reduce the worldwide investment gap and boost smart, clean and secure connections in digital, energy and transport sectors, and to strengthen health, education and research systems.
The Global Gateway strategy embodies a Team Europe approach that brings together the European Union, EU Member States, and European development finance institutions. Together, it aims to mobilise up to €300 billion in public and private investments from 2021 to 2027, creating essential links rather than dependencies, and closing the global investment gap. For more information, visit:
About the International Trade Centre – The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
Senior Strategic Communications Officer
International Trade Centre