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29.03.09 23:25

From Lively Dialogue to Mutually Beneficial Projects
Moscow plays host to Russian-Turkmen economic forum and exhibition of textile, carpet and jewelry products of Turkmenistan
Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov's official visit to the Russian Federation was preceded by two large-scale events in Moscow. They reflect the level of economic cooperation between the two countries. The Russian-Turkmen economic forum titled "New Quality of Cooperation: From Lively Dialogue to Mutually Beneficial Projects" held a plenary session at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation on 23 March. Turkmen deputy prime minister, minister of foreign affairs Rashid Meredov and Russian first deputy prime minister Victor Zubkov, the co-chairmen of the intergovernmental Turkmen-Russian commission for trade-economic cooperation, delivered opening speeches.

The forum co-chairmen, President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Yevgeniy Primakov and Chairman of the Turkmen Chamber of Commerce and Industry Palvan Taganov, invited Russian and Turkmen businessmen to discuss a wide range of issues in the course of a plenary session and work in four sections.

The economic forum participants were unanimous in noting that the current level of the Russian-Turkmen partnership can vividly exemplify the fruitfulness of bilateral cooperation. Despite the global financial crisis, Turkmenistan is the only country maintaining stable growth in trade with Russia. Russian businessmen attach particular importance to the development of mutually beneficial relations with Turkmenistan.

The relations between the two countries got a boost in December 2007 at the economic forum in Ashgabat. It was for the first time in the last fifteen years that a high-ranking Russian business delegation visited Turkmenistan. The delegation held talks with heads of Turkmenistan's industrial sector.

Representatives of Russian business elite took a number of steps to establish business entities to support Russian-Turkmen business cooperation. The Russian-Turkmen Business Council was the fist of them. In 2008, the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry set up this business structure together with more than seventy Russian companies. The governing board of the Russian-Turkmen Business Council includes representatives of biggest companies such as Zarubezhneft, LukOil, Stroytransgas, Itera, RAO RZhD, Gasprombank, Metropol group of companies and other companies.

The business council has set a task to expand Russian business's presence in the Turkmen market, provide support not only to big but also medium businesses, make bilateral cooperation truly large-scale, and eventually increase trade turnover between the two countries.

A year of frequent economic contacts has allowed partners to help more than fifty companies and organizations sign bilateral agreements. At the same time, the long-standing partners of Turkmenistan such as Mobile Telesystems, Yarovit, Stroytransgas, Itera and other companies that have been long present in the country were able to strengthen their positions in the Turkmen market. Representatives of these companies are currently providing advise and sharing experience with organizations that are looking forward to entering the Turkmen market.

The participants of the economic forum noted that Russian companies and their Turkmen partners defined priority and mutually beneficial projects that have good prospects. It is expected that these projects will be implemented in the near future.

The forum participants prioritized the following areas of business cooperation that are of great interest to the Russian companies. These are the development of the mineral resources and oil and gas industry of Turkmenistan; partnership in developing communication facilities and telecommunications; development of bilateral cooperation in agriculture, light industry and healthcare; multi-branch cooperation in comprehensive modernization of energy facilities and pipeline infrastructure.

The business forum continued at an exhibition titled "Textile, carpet and jewelry products of Turkmenistan - 2009" at the Expocenter exhibition hall in Krasnaya Presnya. Turkmen producers showcased hand-made silk and wool carpets, products made of camel wool, felt and silk fabric (keteni), gold and silver ware, textile industry products, polytrophic products and souvenirs.

Opening the exhibition, deputy prime minister, minister of foreign affairs of Turkmensitan Rashid Meredov read out a greeting message from Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov to the exhibition participants and organizers. The Turkmen leader expressed confidence that the exhibition of textile, carpet and jewelry products of Turkmenistan in Moscow would stimulate a significant growth in trade-economic relations between the two countries and new dynamics of cooperation between Turkmen and Russian businessmen.

First deputy prime minister of the Russian Federation Victor Zubkov greeted the participants and guest of the exhibition. "Turkmenistan's exhibition in Russia is held after the long break. It is meant to become one of practical steps within a comprehensive programme of actions carried out by the leadership of two countries aimed at establishing direct contacts between the regions, enterprises and organizations and familiarizing with the capacities and needs of each other," the first deputy prime minister said.

Victor Zubkov also expressed confidence that the exhibition and economic forum will help establish a solid and reliable basis for development of bilateral relations between Russia and Turkmenistan for years ahead, as well as define new perspective areas for trade-economic cooperation. He also praised a plenary session held in the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry that "identified real opportunities for multifaceted and large-scale trade-economic relations, first of all in the spheres of investments, industry and technical cooperation, trade in goods and services.

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