Turkmenistan - Country Commercial Guide
Trade Barriers

Includes information on average tariff rates and types that U.S. firms should be aware of when exporting to the market.

Last published date: 2022-08-08

Slow, bureaucratic customs procedures seriously inhibit trade. When the basis of the consignment is a contract but not a paid invoice, Turkmenistan requires that export and import contracts be registered at the State Commodity and Raw Materials Exchange (SCRME).  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), and announced it will join the 1958 Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (New York Convention), coming in to force in 2023.    

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 restrictive visa regime and taxation policy are also difficult issues for companies to overcome.