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Turkmen, Japanese Companies Ink Cooperation Deals

By Aygul Ospanova December 28, 2022

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The Turkmen delegation led by the country's Foreign Minister Rashid Meredow arrived in Japan for a four-day working visit on December 21, 2022. / MFA Turkmenistan

Turkmen and Japanese companies have signed several documents on cooperation during the 14th joint session of the two countries’ committees for economic cooperation.

"A solid package of documents was signed between the leading state concerns of Turkmenistan and Japanese companies in such areas as the chemical industry, gas industry, transport, and water management during the meeting," the Turkmen Foreign Ministry's website reported on December 22.

The meeting emphasised Japanese companies' participation in the construction and implementation of large facilities in the field of gas chemistry and the electric power industry.

The report also noted the successful development of joint cooperation in areas of mutual interest such as transport, electricity, industry, water management, finance and ecology. It also highlighted expanding partnerships in education and healthcare.

The Turkmen delegation led by the country's Foreign Minister Rashid Meredow arrived in Japan for a four-day working visit on December 21. On December 24, talks were held in Tokyo between the Foreign Ministers of Japan and the Central Asian states - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. This is the ninth round of discussions since the first meeting in 2004.

During the visit, Meredow also attended the ninth foreign ministers' meeting of Central Asia + Japan Dialogue format, as well as meetings with the Japanese government and the leadership of financial and export credit agencies and leading Japanese companies.

On the first day of the visit, in a meeting with the chairman and CEO of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), Nobuhiko Sasaki, the Turkmen foreign minister proposed looking into the possibility of JETRO opening its office in Turkmenistan in order to attract small and medium-sized Japanese enterprises to do business in Turkmenistan and vice versa.

The meeting aimed to assist with the opening of the Turkmen Trade House in Japan to attract Japanese companies to export products from Turkmenistan with high added value, and explored prospects for organising a Japanese trade mission to Turkmenistan.

Meredow also held a meeting with the deputy governor of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), Hayashi Nobumitsu.

"Special emphasis was placed on trade and economic relations as well as the involvement of Japanese companies in the implementation of large-scale projects in Turkmenistan, such as the projects to construct an ammonia and urea plant in the southern city of Mary, and a sulfuric acid production plant in the eastern city of Turkmenabad as well as a urea plant in the western city of Karabogaz, a gas chemical complex in Kiyanly (in western Balkan Region), and a plant for the production of petrol from natural gas in Ovadandepe (in southern Ahal Region)," according as statement issued by the Turkmen foreign ministry.

In another meeting, Meredow and Atsuo Kuroda, chairman and CEO of the Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI), discussed new opportunities for cooperation, including NEXI's activities to attract various financial institutions to fund projects in Turkmenistan.

During his visit, Meredow also met the Senior Managing Executive Officer and President of Energy & Environment Plant Company in Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd, Tatsuya Watanabe, to discuss the results of the talks between the state-owned concern Turkmenhimiya (Turkmen Chemistry) and Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd on the construction of the second plant to produce petrol from natural gas.

Kawasaki and the state-owned Turkmengas launched a plant worth $1.7 billion for processing natural gas into A-92 gasoline, in Ahal province on June 2019. Japan’s fourth largest corporation, Itochu, and Turkmengas recently agreed to explore the Galkynysh gas block, located about 250 miles southeast of Ashgabat.

In 2018, the Garabogaz plant was inaugurated in western Turkmenistan, for the conversion of natural gas into urea fertilizers. The work was done by Mitsubishi Corporation and Türkiye’s Gap Inşaat, and was funded with almost $700 million worth of credit from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.

In October 2015, Japan and Turkmenistan signed a raft of deals, ranging from natural gas to chemicals worth more than $18 billion. One of the biggest agreements saw engineering giant JGC join a large-scale cooperation to build a plant linked to natural gas fields, making it the latest Japanese company to support Turkmenistan's efforts to convert its vast natural gas reserves into anything from plastic to liquid fuel and fertilizers.

In May 2014, the Turkmen government contracted the consortium of Hyundai Engineering (Korea), LG International (Korea) and Toyo Engineering (Japan) to build a new $3.4 billion gas chemical complex in Kiyanly village of Balkan province. Completed in 2018, the facility can produce up to 386,000 tons of polyethene and 81,000 tons of polypropylene annually using 5 billion cubic meters of natural gas as feedstock.