Turkmenistan - Country Commercial Guide
Trade Barriers
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Slow and bureaucratic customs procedures inhibit efficent movement of goods and trade. Turkmenistan often requires that export and import contracts be registered at the State Commodity and Raw Materials Exchange (SCRME), the only exchange in the country. Contract registration at the commodities exchange is a cumbersome process, involving approval from various agencies and ministries.The contract registration procedure at SCRME includes a justification of prices and the contract’s feasibility is also scrutinized by the Supreme Chamber of Control. The procedure applies not only to contracts signed at SCRME, but also to contracts signed between third parties. All import contracts must be registered before goods are delivered to Turkmenistan. 

Investment projects, including civil construction projects, are required to be registered at the Ministry of Finance and Economy.  Turkmenistan is a Party to the 1995 Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (ICSID) as well as the 1958 Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (New York Convention). The commercial law enforcement system includes the Arbitration Court of Turkmenistan which tries 13 categories of disputes, both pre-contractual and post-contractual, including taxation, legal foundations, and bankruptcy issues. 

We urge U.S. companies to include an international arbitration clause in their contracts, as political considerations still influence local courts.  Several foreign companies have pursued international arbitration against the Turkmen government through the World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes and the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce.  Turkmenistan’s beaurcratic visa regime requiring a letter of invitation,  and taxation policy are also difficult issues for companies to overcome.
Import Tariffs