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Tajikistan Wants to Reach Europe Through Azerbaijan

To increase the trade turnover between Tajikistan and Azerbaijan, three conditions are necessary. Firstly, the presence of a transport corridor and well-established routes for the transportation of goods and services between countries. For a long time, there was no particular need for such a direct transport corridor, since the main flow of goods in both directions went through Russia. On the one hand, it was, more expensive; however, on the other hand, it was a transport network that had existed and debugged since Soviet times. In addition, for Tajikistan and the countries of Central Asia, access to European markets was also carried out through the Russian transport network, which was quite convenient, as it provided direct access to the European market. However, the war in Ukraine has radically changed the whole alignment – now, in the new conditions of growing confrontation between the Russian Federation and the West, Russian territory is closed for transit to Europe and back. Accordingly, the Europeans intend to transfer most of the trade with post-Soviet Central Asia and China, bypassing Russia, through the so-called Trans-Caspian transport corridor.

Parviz Mullojanov, a well-known political scientist from Tajikistan, said this in an interview with Day.Az.

As our interlocutor noted, secondly, it is necessary to determine the list of goods and services that are most in demand in both countries or can become objects of transit or re-export to third countries.

“Thirdly, it will be necessary to identify the participants in these trade transactions from both sides who would be interested in investing their finances and resources to establish trade between countries. And, most importantly, the parties must agree on the “most favored treatment” for trade participants, their commercial and monetary transactions on both sides of the transport corridor. These can be tax incentives, appropriate legislative frameworks, simplification of bureaucratic and customs procedures, protection against corruption, and so on,” he explained.

Assessing the likelihood of Tajikistan joining the Organization of Turkic States as an observer, the political scientist said that in Central Asia in general, and in Tajikistan in particular, the belief prevails at the moment that the UTC is still based more on ethnic than geographical unity.

“Therefore, in general, in the Tajik society, they are sympathetic to the desire of the Turkic peoples of Eurasia to create a single geopolitical and economic space, but do not see themselves as part of this process. At the same time, the example of Hungary shows that for the status of an observer, belonging to the Turkic peoples is not “is a necessary condition. From this point of view, there is a precedent, and whether it will be used by Tajikistan and other non-Turkic states will depend on the direction and format in which the UTC will develop in the future,” Mullojanov believes.

Answering the question whether in the future Tajikistan can join the transport communications of Azerbaijan, our interlocutor believes that this is in line with the strategic plans and intentions of both states.

“Tajikistan needs direct access to Europe; in turn, the accession of Tajikistan to the Trans-Caspian transport corridor will mean direct access to the markets of South Asia. In particular, at present, a project is being discussed to open the Wakhan transport corridor (a narrow isthmus of Afghan territory between Tajikistan and Pakistan ), which would directly connect the region of Central Asia with the northern provinces of Pakistan. In the future, this is the transit of goods to the markets of South Asia, bypassing the territory of permanently unstable Afghanistan,” Parviz Mullojanov summed up.

Source: Day News