Pakistan and Turkmenistan share historical relations, as Pakistan is one of the first countries to recognise the independence of Turkmenistan in December 1991. Although formal diplomatic relations were established on 10 May 1992.
Turkmenistan is a natural partner for the CPEC extension. Pakistan has accorded approval to Turkmenistan for access to the warm water of Gwadar Port as well as Iran and Russia, thus providing Turkmenistan direct access to the Arabian Sea. This makes Turkmenistan a strategic allay of Pakistan for both trade and security paradigms.
As part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Pakistan has finalised land routes (since January 2016) designed to provide access to Central Asian states, such as Turkmenistan to Pakistan. Both Turkmenistan and Pakistan are members of the Economic Cooperation Organization.
ECO is an Asian political and economic intergovernmental organization which was founded in 1985 in Tehran by the leaders of Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey. It provides a platform to discuss ways to improve development and promote trade and investment opportunities. The ECO is an adhoc organisation under the United Nations Charter. In November 2016, Pakistan joined the Ashgabat Agreement which aims to export Turkmen gas throughout the region in addition to the Lapis Lazuli corridor designed to facilitate trade. Earlier, Pakistan has also affirmed its commitments to Turkmenistan in a Sustainable Transport conference where Pakistan affirmed that Regional connectivity, economic integration are key pillars of Pakistan’s foreign policy.
Turkmenistan’s Trade with Pakistan has been entirely in favour of Turkmenistan over the past ten years. In 2016, imports were $4.00 million, and exports stood at $24.96 million, resulting in a trade surplus of $20.96 million. Cotton is the largest export to Pakistan, and vegetable or animal fats and oils are the most imported commodities from Pakistan. Turkmenistan has the potential to increase its export of cotton, urea and polypropylene to Pakistan. On the other hand, Pakistan can enhance its supply of wheat and medicament to Turkmenistan. In 2016, Turkmenistan’s trade potential with Pakistan for top ten products amounted to $186.68 million for imports and $322.32 million for exports.