Turkmenistan - Country Commercial Guide
Trade Barriers

Includes the barriers (tariff and non-tariff) that U.S. companies face when exporting to this country.

Last published date: 2020-10-15

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

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), but it is not a member of 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.   U.S. companies are urged 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 restrictive visa regime and taxation policy are also difficult issues for companies to overcome.