Belarus and Turkmenistan Economic Cooperation
The official visit of Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov to Belarus on 27-28 April aims at expanding economic, investment and trade cooperation between the two countries. Belarus and Turkmenistan intend to fulfill several joint industrial and infrastructure investment projects with the introduction of modern technology.
At present, there are 15 operating enterprises with the participation of Belarusian capital in Turkmenistan. Thirteen investment projects with Belarus’ share in the total amount of $ 1.123 billion are registered there. The major investment project is the construction of Garlyk mining and processing plant for the production of potash fertilizer with a capacity of 1.4 million tons per year. In January 2010, JSC \"Belgorkhimprom\" and \"Turkmenkhimiya” concern signed a turnkey construction contract with the assistance of Belarusian specialists.
The launch of the plant is scheduled for January 2015. The Process Plant Complex includes a mine, a processing plant and supporting structures. The plant has a 50–year supply of raw materials. Potassium chloride produced at the plant will fully meet the needs of Turkmenistan, and will be exported to other countries.
In the course of the visit, the parties discussed possibilities for Belarus’ participation in the construction of plants for large-panel earthquake-proof housing and for precast concrete products, as well as plants for the production of heat-insulating materials, light metal, ceramic tiles. The sides agreed to continue developing projects in other fields, including banking.
This year, within the frameworks of joint investment projects, Turkmenistan has significantly increased its purchases of Belarusian goods. According to Mr. Berdymukhammedov, in the first quarter of 2012, foreign trade between Belarus and Turkmenistan is projected at $ 320 million.
Turkmenistan imports agricultural, road, construction and utility equipment, machinery, equipment, building materials, food, and medicines.
In April 2012, the Ministry of Public Services of Turkmenistan signed contracts for the purchase of 1,989 units of vehicles produced by “MAZ” and 173 units of “Amkodor” special equipment . Belarus will continue supplying tower cranes and elevators to Turkmenistan.
For reference. According to the National Statistical Committee of the Republic of Belarus, in January-February 2012 the volume of foreign trade between Belarus and Turkmenistan increased by 60.9%, compared to the same period of the previous year, and amounted to $ 25.792 million. Exports of Belarusian goods to Turkmenistan also rose by 65.4% to $ 25.294 million.
According to the International Monetary Fund, in 2012, Turkmenistan’s GDP growth rate was 7%. In absolute terms, the GDP of Turkmenistan in 2012 is estimated at $ 29.93 billion (current prices). Per capita GDP, calculated by purchasing power parity (PPP), in 2012 will amount to 8,367 thousand dollars. The inflation in the country is expected to decline to 7% this year. The population of Turkmenistan will grow in 2012 to 5.614 million people.
Forecasted oil exports for Turkmenistan: in 2010 - $ 8.617 billion, in 2011 - $ 14.782 billion, in 2012 - $ 15.919 billion , in 2013 - $ 16.782 billion, in 2014 - $ 17.095 billion, in 2015 - $ 17.7 billion, in 2016 - $ 17.896 billion , and in 2017 - $ 18.181 billion. 2010 data is what has been reported Figures for 2011 are estimated. Figures for 2012-2017 are the IMF forecast.
The Belarusian authorities regard the Catholic conference as yet another international event to promote Minsk as a global negotiating platform. Minsk’s proposal to organise a meeting between the Roman-Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church is rather an image-making undertaking than a serious intention. However, the authorities could somewhat extend the opportunities for the Roman-Catholic Church in Belarus due to developing contacts with the Catholic world.
Minsk is attempting to lay out a mosaic from various international religious, political and sportive events to shape a positive image of Belarus for promoting the Helsinki 2.0 idea.
Belarus’ invitation to the head of the Holy See for a meeting with the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church should be regarded as a continuation of her foreign policy efforts in shaping Minsk’s peacekeeping image and enhancing Belarus’ international weight. The Belarusian authorities are aware that their initiative is unlikely to find supporters among the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. In Russia, isolationist sentiments prevail.
In addition, for domestic audiences, the authorities make up for the lack of tangible economic growth with demonstrations of growth in Minsk’s authority at international level through providing a platform for religious, sportive and other dialogues.