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Executive Summary

Tajikistan presents high-risk, high-reward opportunities for foreign investors who have experience in the region, a long-term investment horizon, and the patience and resources to conduct significant research and due diligence.  At the most senior levels, the Tajik government has consistently expressed interest in attracting more U.S. investment, but has not implemented reforms that would make the poorest of the Central Asian countries a more competitive investment destination.

In 2016, the government introduced the 2016-2030 National Development Strategy and the 2016-2020 Mid-Term Economic Development Strategy.  These strategies emphasize the importance of investment as a driver of growth.  President Rahmon created an investment council in 2007 with European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) support that includes government and private-sector stakeholders and conducts annual meetings.  Nonetheless, the council has not achieved tangible results in terms of increasing investment and improving the country’s business climate.  President Rahmon announced 300 days of reforms in January 2019, but has not made public a roadmap detailing what reforms this proposal would entail.

On January 15, President Rahmon announced a moratorium on all irregular inspections for the manufacturing sector for two years.  The moratorium applies to all inspection and law enforcement agencies, including the Prosecutor General’s office, Chamber of Accounts, Agency on State Financial Control and Fight Against Corruption, National Bank of Tajikistan, and Tax and Customs Authorities.

Tajikistan’s three main strategic goals are energy independence, transportation connectivity, and food security.  The Tajik government has made some progress on these fronts, mostly with grant support from International Financial Institutions (IFIs).  Tajikistan has also benefited from Chinese Belt and Road Initiative loans for infrastructure projects.  However, the terms of these loans remain opaque and the international community – through fora such as the Paris Club – has expressed concerns over Tajikistan’s ability to service the increasing debt burden.  Nonetheless, advancing these strategic goals would make Tajikistan a more competitive investment destination.

The main obstacles to increased investment flows are Tajikistan’s authoritarian policies, geographic isolation, bureaucratic and financial hurdles, widespread corruption, a dysfunctional banking sector, non-transparent tax system, and countless business inspections.  Absent private investment, Tajikistan uses fiscal stimulus to achieve GDP growth, which pressures the Tax Committee to meet ever-increasing revenue targets.  Investors complain most vocally about the Tax Committee, which they claim arbitrarily enforces the tax code to maximize revenue collection.  Potential investors say the uncertainty this causes is more of a deterrent than high taxes.

The Tajik government has dedicated significant financial resources to the construction of Roghun Dam, an ambitious hydropower plant whose 3,600 MW capacity would double Tajikistan’s energy output.  Once completed in 2032, Roghun Dam’s electricity will meet Tajikistan’s domestic energy needs, provide sufficient power for the expansion of industrial enterprises, and be exported to South Asia.  Nonetheless, Roghun’s USD 3.9 billion price tag and the Tajik government’s struggle to secure concessional loans or investor financing has led the government to rely on its budget to fund construction.  This has severely affected Tajikistan’s investment climate, as tax collectors turn to the private sector to meet revenue targets.

The Antimonopoly Service, in consultation with the Tax Committee, the Ministry of Finance, and the Telecommunication Service, has raised rates for internet-based telephone calls and for mobile internet, services on which average Tajiks and businesses rely.  The plan increased internet-based phone tariffs tenfold and in the best case tripled mobile internet tariffs.  Mobile internet now costs USD 6.50 per gigabyte, one of the highest prices for internet in the world.

Tajikistan’s banking sector, which had suffered from lower remittance flows during the 2015 Russian recession, began to stabilize in 2017 despite an official non-performing loan rate of 30.3 percent in December 2018.  Some Embassy contacts believe this rate should be closer to 70 percent of the total loan portfolio.  Nonetheless, the improved stability was more a result of a rebounding world economy and larger remittance volumes, and not structural, economic changes.  At present, the National Bank of Tajikistan (NBT)’s policy rate is at 14.75 percent, with nominal lending rates at about 26 percent for loans in local currency and 18 percent for dollar loans.  A low financial inclusion rate of about 11 percent has forced commercial banks to restrict loan amounts they make available to borrowers.  Loans are therefore unaffordable for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs).  Although IFIs have worked to make Tajikistan’s banking sector more resilient, many of the same vulnerabilities that led to Tajikistan’s 2015 liquidity crisis remain.  There are no U.S. or European banks in Tajikistan.  Tajik banks have not had correspondent banking accounts at U.S. or European banks since 2012.  Russian and Kazakh banks clear virtually all of Tajikistan’s international payments.

Despite Tajikistan’s March 2, 2013 accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), contract sanctity and adequate intellectual property right protections remain elusive.  The Tajik government has not fully engaged with international stakeholders to provide these protections.  The Tajik government has also imposed arbitrary trade policy to protect fledgling, domestic industries without notifying its partners, as occurred with its ban on imported chicken meat in 2017.  It continues to develop its WTO post-accession plan, which requires adaptation and amendment of the legislation and regulation aspects for the post-accession period.  Tajikistan is still considering joining the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union.  Should it apply for and receive membership, U.S. firms could experience higher trade tariffs.

Consumption is a major driver of Tajikistan’s GDP growth and household purchase power relies on migrant remittance flows, mostly from Russia where about one million labor migrants reside.  This reality heavily exposes Tajikistan’s economic performance to external shocks, especially to those from Russia.

Despite these challenges and risks to potential investors, Tajikistan is in the midst of historical opportunities.  Some economists believe the Tajik government recognizes the harm its tax and customs policies, as well as its fragile banking sector, pose to economic growth, and understand they will never finish Roghun’s construction without sustainable economic, structural changes.  Other experts are optimistic that improved regional cooperation might lead to supply and value chains and customs and standards harmonization.  For instance, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan signed a strategic partnership agreement in August 2018.  The Uzbekistan-Tajikistan energy and consumer trades have already experienced a surge since improved ties.

Table 1

Measure Year Index/Rank Website Address
TI Corruption Perceptions Index 2018 152 of 180 http://www.transparency.org/country/TJK
World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2019 126 of 190 http://www.doingbusiness.org/en/data/exploreeconomies/tajikistan
Global Innovation Index 2018 101 of 128 https://www.globalinnovationindex.org/analysis-indicator
U.S. FDI in Partner Country ($M USD, stock positions) 2017 $41 http://www.bea.gov/international/factsheet/
World Bank GNI per capita 2017 $990 http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GNP.PCAP.CD

 

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment

Tajikistan has traditionally courted state-led investment and external loans from larger regional neighbors, including China, Russia, and Iran.  In 2018, China remained Tajikistan’s largest investor, with investments totaling USD 228 million, or 77 percent of total foreign direct investment (FDI) to Tajikistan.  For the last 10 years, China has invested over USD 2.25 billion in Tajikistan, making it Tajikistan’s largest investment partner.

In 2018, the Tajik government increased efforts to attract investments from the Gulf States.  Saudi Arabia invested USD 160.2 million in Tajikistan from 2007-2017.  In addition, Qatar has invested USD 384.5 million in a high-rise luxury apartment complex and the construction of the region’s largest mosque.  Qatar’s central bank is investigating banking opportunities in Tajikistan.

Anecdotally, dozens of foreign-owned companies in Tajikistan have complained to resident European and U.S. officials about continual inspections and arbitrary and discriminatory application of the tax code to exact burdensome payments.

Despite a general deterioration in the investment climate, progressive legislative action on a few issues may yield positive results.  The government abolished a cotton fiber tax in June 2016, reduced the sales tax by one percent in January 2017, and simplified the tax system making a larger population of small-scale entrepreneurs eligible for more favorable tax treatment.

Tajikistan’s Investment Law (Article 7) guarantees equal rights for both local and foreign investors.  According to this law, foreigners can invest by jointly owning shares in existing companies with other Tajik companies or Tajik citizens; by creating fully foreign-owned companies; or by concluding agreements with legal entities or citizens of Tajikistan that provide for other forms of foreign investment activity.  Foreign firms may acquire assets, including shares and other securities, as well as land leasing and mineral usage rights.  Foreign firms may also exercise all property rights to which they are entitled, either independently or shared with other Tajik companies and citizens of Tajikistan.  Most of Tajikistan’s current international agreements provide most-favored-nation status.

Although Tajik law recognizes the sanctity of contracts, the country’s judicial system is opaque and enforcement is poor.  The country’s tax policy is neither predictable nor always favorable to legitimate business interests.  Business representatives note that the Tajik government typically takes an opportunistic interest in private companies that turn a profit.

Tajikistan’s legal code does not discriminate against foreign investors by prohibiting, limiting, or conditioning foreign investment.  To receive permission and licenses for operation, however, a foreign investor must navigate a complicated, cumbersome, and often corrupt bureaucratic system.

Several Tajik government agencies are responsible for investment promotion, but they frequently have competing interests.  The Committee on Investments and State Property Management (https://www.investcom.tj/ ) chiefly facilitates FDI.  In addition, state-owned enterprise Tajinvest under the Committee on Investments and State Property Management is responsible for attracting investment into Tajikistan https://www.tajinvest.tj ).

Tajikistan has established several formal mechanisms to maintain open channels of communication with existing and potential investors.  With EBRD support, the government established a Consultative Council on the Improvement of the Investment Climate in 2007.  This annual council provides a formal venue for dialogue with donors, international financial institutions, and members of the private sector (https://ehost.tj/) 

In January 2015, the government established a National Entrepreneurship Day, annually celebrated in October.  Nevertheless, investors continue to claim that many of their complaints to the government go unheeded.

Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment

Tajikistan’s legislation provides a right for all forms of foreign and domestic ownership to establish business enterprises and engage in remunerative activity.  There are no limits on foreign ownership or control of firms and no sector-specific restrictions that discriminate against market access.  Local law considers all land and subsoil resources to belong exclusively to the state, although initial efforts to establish a private land market are underway.

Tajikistan’s legislation allows for 100 percent foreign ownership of local companies.  In the context of jointly-owned companies, local partners generally seek to possess a controlling share (51 percent or more) at the initial stage of business development and in some cases may seek to increase their stake over time.

All sectors of Tajikistan’s economy are open to foreign participation with the exception of aviation, defense, security, and law enforcement, which require special government permission for the operation of such types of businesses or services.  Tajikistan does not restrict foreign investment; it does not mandate local stakeholder equity positions or local partnership.  In some cases, the government requires specific licenses.  There are no mandatory IP/technology transfer requirements.

Tajikistan’s government maintains an investment screening mechanism for inbound foreign investments involving government interests, including investments into Free Economic Zones, issuing approval or rejection statements in particular for investments requiring government financial support or state guarantees.  The Committee on Investments and State Property Management is responsible for filing and coordinating foreign investment project proposals as they pass through the review pipeline.  The government takes particular interest in determining whether the proposed project may impact the county’s national security and/or economic performance.

Investors must submit their proposals for screening to all relevant government agencies.  This process can be lengthy and cumbersome.  The Committee on Investments and State Property Management circulates the investor’s proposal among the relevant government offices and ministries with instructions to review and then provide a formal opinion.  If a ministry objects to the proposed investment activity, it submits an official note to the Committee on Investments and State Property Management.

Screening proposals often involve background checks on the company, the person(s) representing the company, and identification of a financial source to comply with anti-money laundering regulations.  U.S. businesses have not identified screening mechanisms as a barrier to investment.

The purpose of the investment screening process is to ensure that a proposed investment/project does not violate Tajik laws.  The review process could reject the proposal and the Tajik government may flag it as “incomplete.”  Applicants may appeal the government’s decision by submitting a claim to the Tajik Economic Court.

Other Investment Policy Reviews

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) presented a draft Investment Policy Review of Tajikistan in November 2015 to stakeholders from the government, local and international private sector, and civil society and development partners.  The final report was published on August 10, 2016 (http://unctad.org/en/pages/PublicationWebflyer.aspx?publicationid=1596 )

Tajikistan has not conducted a WTO Trade Policy Review and the WTO has not scheduled a review of Tajikistan in 2018.

Countries for which OECD, WTO (in context of a trade policy), and UNCTAD have conducted IPRs include:

(http://www.oecd.org/investment/countryreviews.htm 

http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/tpr_e/tpr_e.htm 

http://unctad.org/en/Pages/DIAE/Investment percent20Policy percent20Reviews/Investment-Policy-Reviews.aspx )

Some international and local consulting companies in the recent years produced ratings, guides and reports on investment and business in Tajikistan:

2018 Fitch Rating:  https://www.fitchsolutions.com/country-risk-sovereigns/economics/potential-imf-deal-could-ease-downside-risks-tajikistans-economic-growth-17-10-2018 

2018 Fitch Rating: https://www.fitchsolutions.com/country-risk-sovereigns/tajikistan-afghanistan-border-region-rising-threat-stability-19-10-2018?fbclid=IwAR09uP-Uawou5rAyMghgKM642qRz9W9fpJZPSe78LmrsSBN0BW2tKSGmolY 

2017 RSM Guide to Doing Business (https://www.rsm.global/tajikistan/insights/corporate-literature/guide-doing-business-tajikistan )

2017 Tajik Chamber of Commerce (http://tpp.tj/business-guide2017/rus/content_rus.html )

2016 Deloitte Investment and Tax Guide (https://www2.deloitte.com/kz/en/pages/tajikistan/articles/doing-business-tajikistan.html )

Business Facilitation

Although the Tajik government has simplified the business registration process by adopting a single-window registration system, that process still requires significant legal and human resources, government connections, and time.  The Tax Committee is the primary agency responsible for business registration (www.andoz.tj).  In addition to obtaining the state registration through a single-window, a company must also register with the Social Protection Agency (www.nafaka.tj); Statistics Agency under the President of Tajikistan (www.stat.tj); Ministry of Labor, Migration, and Employment (www.mehnat.tj); Sanitary-Epidemiological Service at the Ministry of Health (www.moh.tj); as well as with local authorities, municipal services, and other agencies.  According to the country’s regulations, registering a business should take less than five business days; in reality, it may take several days or even months due to the inappropriate and illegal actions of registering agencies.  The Tajik government must notarize all businesses.

The Committee on Investments and State Property Management is the key agency that collects information and project proposals from investors.  However, numerous other agencies are involved in the investment coordination process, making it cumbersome.

According to the Tajik Tax Code, there are three types of enterprises:  1. Small-scale businesses with turnover up to USD 100,000 during a 12 months period.  2. Medium-scale businesses with annual turnover from USD 100,000 to USD 2.5 million, and 3. Large-scale companies from USD 2.5 million annual turnover.  The international donor community, in coordination with the government, funds a number of projects that stimulate development of small and medium enterprises in Tajikistan.

Outward Investment

The Tajik government does not promote outward investments.  Private companies from Tajikistan have invested in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the UAE, primarily in trade, food processing, real estate, and business development.

The Tajik government does not restrict domestic investors from investing abroad.

2. Bilateral Investment Agreements and Taxation Treaties

Tajikistan signed bilateral investment treaties (BITs) with Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, China, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, India, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Kazakhstan, the Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Republic of Moldova, Mongolia, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, and Turkey.  It has also signed BITs with Algeria, Armenia, the Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Qatar, the Russian Federation, the Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam that are awaiting parliamentarian approval.  BIT information is available at: http://investmentpolicyhub.unctad.org/IIA/CountryBits/206 

Tajikistan’s other investment agreements include: the Eurasian Investment Agreement with Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and the Russian Federation (came into force December 2, 2015); the Economic Cooperation Organization Investment Agreement (not yet in force); the European Community-Tajikistan Partnership Agreement with the European Union; the Commonwealth of Independent States Investor Rights Convention with Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and the Republic of Moldova; the Energy Charter Treaty; the Organization of the Islamic Conference Investment Agreement; and the U.S.-Central Asia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA).

Tajikistan became a signatory to the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement among the United States, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan in 2004.  Tajikistan does not have a bilateral Free Trade Agreement with the United States.  Moreover, Tajikistan is subject to the Jackson-Vanik amendment to the Trade Act of 1994.  Tajikistan does not participate in United States Trade Representative (USTR)’s Generalized System of Preferences program.

Tajikistan does not have a Free Trade Agreement or an Association Agreement in force with the European Union.  Tajikistan, however, is a beneficiary of the EU’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program, a bilateral trade arrangement through which the EU provides preferential access to its market to developing countries and territories in the form of reduced tariffs for their goods when entering the EU market.  Tajikistan is also considering filing an application to the EU’s GSP+ program, which will provide it additional preferences when trading with EU countries.  Preferential imports from Tajikistan are heavily concentrated in two sectors, industrial products – such as base metals – and textiles.

Tajikistan currently has bilateral agreements to avoid double taxation with Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Belgium, Brunei, China, Czech Republic, Finland, India, Indonesia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyz Republic, Latvia, Luxembourg, Moldova, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Russia, South Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.  The provisions of double tax agreements prevail over Tajik domestic law.  Although Tajikistan is not a member of the Eurasian Economic Union (ECC), and therefore not a party to its trade agreements, it nevertheless pledged in 1992 to uphold certain USSR treaty obligations, including an Income Tax Treaty that entered into force in 1976.

Although Tajikistan adopted a new national tax code in January 2013, its tax system remains internally inconsistent and administratively burdensome.  Investors should also be aware that any financial transfers from parent companies to branches within Tajikistan will be taxed as revenue.

Investors who qualify for a value-added tax (VAT) exemption on imported materials should be aware that they must submit applications for exemption no later than January 1 and that any exemption granted will expire December 31 of that year.  Often, the government does not grant exemptions until October, leaving a short window to file.  While the exemption applies retroactively for the calendar year, the Tajik government has said the tax code has no legal mechanism to authorize refunds of VAT paid prior to the date the government granted the exemption.

According to Article 110 of Tajikistan’s Tax Code, new production companies are profit tax exempt for 12 months from the date of state registration.  A company receives a two-year profit tax break if it invests USD 200,000-USD 500,000.  A company receives a three-year profit tax break if investments are USD 500,000-USD 2 million.  A company receives a four-year profit tax break if investment are USD 2-USD 5million.  A foreign company receives a five-year profit tax break if it invests over USD 5 million.  Should the government change its tax code after an investment is made, the investor has the right to keep the initial conditions.

The Convention between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on Matters of Taxation, signed in Washington, June 29, 1973, which entered into force January 29, 1976, is currently in force between the United States and Tajikistan based on principles of succession.  The Tajik government does not recognize this treaty and requested the United States sign a new double taxation treaty with Tajikistan.   (https://www.irs.gov/businesses/international-businesses/tajikistan-tax-treaty-documents ).

3. Legal Regime

Transparency of the Regulatory System

Tajikistan’s regulatory system lacks transparency.  Executive documents – presidential decrees, laws, government orders, instructions, ministerial memos, and regulations – are often inaccessible to the public.  Businesspeople and investors must purchase access to Adliya, a commercial legal database, to obtain updated legal and regulatory information.  Each ministry has its own set of unpublished regulations and these may contradict the laws and/or regulations of other ministries.

The Tajik government rarely publishes proposed laws and regulations in draft form for public comment.  Although the Tajik government solicited public comment on the 2013 Tax Code, it did not modify the draft law based on the input received.

TajikStandard, the government agency responsible for certifying goods and services, calibrating and accrediting testing laboratories, and supervising compliance with state standards, lacks experts and appropriate equipment.  TajikStandard does not publish its fees for licenses and certificates, or its regulatory requirements.

The World Bank funded Public Financial Management Modernization Project helps the Ministry of Finance adopt International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS).  National energy utility company Barqi-Tojik, Dushanbe municipality water and sewerage utility Dushanbevodokanal, and the national rural water utility Khojagii Manziliyu Kommunali received World Bank assistance to fully adopt and apply International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).  The World Bank is exploring opportunities to provide additional assistance to increase State Owned Enterprises (SOE)s’ financial reporting and monitoring capacity.  The 2011 Accounting Law requires all Public Interest Entities, including all major State Owned Enterprises, to apply International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).  As of 2019 the transition process continues.

The Tajik central government is the highest rule-making and regulatory authority.  On a case-by-case basis, the central government will delegate some regulatory functions to regional or district levels.

The Office of General Prosecutor, Anti-Corruption Agency, the Tax Committee, and the State National Security Committee oversee government and administrative procedures.

The Tajik government did not announce any regulatory system and enforcement reforms in 2018.  Government agencies submit proposed draft regulations to working group commissions. Government representatives head the working group commissions.  Once cleared, draft regulations receive final review by the relevant ministries and the Executive Office of President.

Legally, the public has the right to review and monitor the enforcement process.  In practice, however, Tajikistan does not regularly enforce regulations.  The Tajik government does not review regulations based on scientific or data-driven assessments.  Tajikistan archives its laws, regulations, and policies at www.mmk.tj .

International Regulatory Considerations

Tajikistan is a member of the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States).  To date, Tajikistan has decided against membership in the Eurasian Economic Union.

The regulatory system that governs Tajikistan’s cotton sector incorporate CIS and U.S. technical norms.  Tajikistan is a WTO member and must notify all draft technical regulations to the WTO Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade.

Legal System and Judicial Independence

Tajikistan has a civil legal system.  The parties to a contract can seek enforcement by submitting their claims to Tajikistan’s Economic Court.  Tajikistan has written laws on commercial activities and contracts.  Tajikistan’s economic courts review economic/commercial disputes.

Legally, the judicial system is independent.  In practice, the executive branch interferes in judiciary matters.  The current judicial process is neither fair nor reliable.  Outcomes tend to favor the government’s executive branch.

Legally, regulation and enforcement actions are appealable and the national court system adjudicates appeals.  In practice, national courts typically carry out executive preferences, leaving business and commercial interests vulnerable to government interference.

Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment

Several government websites provide information on laws/regulations:

The Tajik government regulates investments through a number of laws, inter alia, the Law on Investment Agreement, Law on Concessions, Law on Resources, Law on Legal Status of Foreigners, Law on Free Economic Zones, Law on Investments, Concept of State Policy on Investments and Protection of Investments, Law on Natural Resources Tenders, and Law on Privatization of Housing.  The government also established the New Coordination Council of Inspection Agencies.  According to the proposed draft decree, an initial risk assessment will now guide all inspections.  Historically, inspections lack justification and are a means to extract fines and revenue from the private sector.

The government’s Action Plan for the Improvement of Investment Climate of the Industrial Sector, Support of Introduction Entrepreneurship, and Development of National Production for 2016-2018 was approved July 27, 2016 and extended to 2020.  President Rahmon introduced new amendments to the Action Plan to support the industrial sector in February 2019 by prohibiting irregular state inspections for industrial businesses for two years.

The Tajik government does not offer a “one-stop-shop” website for investment that provides relevant laws, rules, procedures, and reporting requirements for investors, however the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has expressed interest in helping the Tajik government establish one.

Competition and Anti-Trust Laws

The Antimonopoly Service is responsible for regulating prices for products of monopolistic enterprises, preventing and eliminating monopolistic activity, and monitoring potential monopolistic abuse and unfair competition.

Expropriation and Compensation

The Tajik government can legally expropriate property under the terms of Tajikistan’s Law on Investments, Law on Privatization, civil code, and criminal code.  The laws authorize expropriation if the Tajik government identifies procedural violations in privatizations of state-owned assets or determines a property has been used for anti-government or criminal activities, as defined in the criminal code.  Under the Law on Joint Stock Companies, the government may request that a court cancel the private purchase of shares in SOEs if it determines that there was a violation to the procedure within the original sale.

Tajikistan has a history of expropriating land because the properties involved were illegally privatized following Tajikistan’s independence.  Following an investigation by government anti-corruption, anti-monopoly, and other law enforcement agencies, the Committee for Investments and State Property Management can issue a finding that the asset was illegally privatized, and request that the Tajik court system order its return to government control.  Domestic law requires owners be reimbursed for expropriated property, but the amount of the compensation is usually well below the property’s fair market value.

In several cases, Tajik officials have used government regulatory agencies to pressure businesses and individuals into ceding properties and business assets.  The Tajik government has not shown any pattern of discrimination against U.S. persons by way of illegal expropriation.  All privately owned operations are vulnerable to expropriation actions.

The Tajik government may threaten to impose inflated and baseless taxation charges on companies, and use this as leverage to negotiate the transfer of some share of a company to the government.  In cases of expropriations, claimants and others have generally had no access to due process.

Dispute Settlement

ICSID Convention and New York Convention

Tajikistan is not a member state of the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) Convention.

Investor-State Dispute Settlement

Tajikistan became the 147th country to sign and ratify the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (1958).  Nonetheless, Tajik courts have overturned arbitral awards in favor of connected officials.

Tajikistan acceded to the Convention on August 14, 2012, but it entered into force on November 12, 2012 – 90 days after depositing the signed text at the UN and in accordance with Article XII (2) of the Convention.

Tajikistan signed the Convention with a number of reservations regarding types of arbitration agreements and decisions that Tajikistan can recognize and implement.

One of the reservations established that Tajikistan does not apply the provisions of the Convention to disputes with immovable property.  Norway established a similar reservation, which acceded to the Convention in 1961.

Another reservation established that Tajikistan apply the Convention only to disagreements and decisions “arising after the entry into force of the Convention and to decisions made in the territories of third countries.”

Tajikistan is not a member state at the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes.

In 2011, Tajikistan joined the Cape Town Convention on International Interests and Mobile Equipment.  The Cape Town Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment and the Protocol to the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment on Matters Specific to Aircraft Equipment, together usually referred to as the Cape Town Treaty, is an international treaty intended to standardize transactions involving movable property, particularly aircraft and aircraft engines.  The treaty creates international standards for registration of ownership, security interests (liens), leases, and conditional sales contracts, and various legal remedies for default in financing agreements, including repossession and the effect of a particular states’ bankruptcy laws.

There have been no claims by U.S. investors under a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) or Free Trade Agreement (FTA), because Tajikistan does not have a BIT or an FTA with the United States.

Disputes involving foreign investors have primarily centered on the implementation of tax incentives.  In the last ten years, numerous foreign investors have reported to Embassy officials difficulty utilizing promised value-added tax exemptions on imported items.  Tajik procedures require businesses to submit in January of the calendar year a list of goods to be imported, the exemption then expires at the end of December in that same year.

It takes an average of 430 days to obtain a resolution on a commercial dispute/contract enforcement proceeding in Tajikistan:  40 for filing and service, 120 for trial and judgment, and 270 for enforcement of the decision.

International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts

Tajik law recognizes the role of local courts in dispute resolution and arbitration but in reality there is not a reputable arbitration institution that is a popular venue for resolving disputes domestically among individuals and businesses.  In practice, however, these courts are primarily used to resolve disputes over agricultural plot demarcations as part of the land reform process, and do not serve as venues to resolve non-agricultural commercial disputes.

Tajikistan has signed bilateral agreements with several countries on arbitration and investment disputes, but local domestic courts do not always properly enforce or recognize awards.

Bankruptcy Regulations

Under Tajikistan’s Law on Bankruptcy (2003), both creditors and debtors may file for an insolvent firm’s liquidation.  The debtor may reject overly burdensome contracts, and may choose whether to continue contracts supplying essential goods or services, or avoid preferential or undervalued transactions.  The law does not provide for the possibility of the debtor obtaining credit after the commencement of insolvency proceedings.  Creditors have the right to demand the debtor return creditors’ property if that property was assigned to the debtor less than four months prior to the institution of bankruptcy proceedings.  Tajik law does not criminalize bankruptcy.

4. Industrial Policies

Investment Incentives

According to statements by President Rahmon, there are 240 tax, regulatory, and legal incentives for businesses.  According to IFC Business Regulation and Investment Policy project, there are 97 incentives for investments.  In practice, businesses and investors cannot access or utilize most of these incentives.

The Tajik government has officially expressed an interest in attracting FDI but has taken little practical action to do so.  In 2016, Tajikistan’s government approved an ambitious National Development Strategy 2016-2030, which highlights the critical role of private sector investment.  According to this strategy, the Tajik government plans to attract as much as USD 55 billion in FDI by 2030.  Given the country’s business and tax environment, however, this plan appears to be more aspirational than realistic.  The Committee on Investments and State Property Management’s website lists government-promoted investment opportunities (https://www.investcom.tj/ ).

Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation

The Tajik government has established four Free Economic Zones (FEZs), which offer reduced taxes and customs fees to both foreign and domestic businesses.  To be eligible for preferential tax treatment, manufacturing companies must invest a minimum of USD 500,000, trading companies USD 50,000, and service and consulting companies USD 10,000.

Performance and Data Localization Requirements

According to the Tajik Law on Audits, at least 70 percent of the workforce must be local employees at local companies.  If the CEO of the company is foreign, then the percentage of local staff should be at least 75 percent.  The Tajik government can waive this requirement.

In June 2015, the Minister of Labor, Migration and Employment announced that for large-scale projects implemented in Tajikistan, which are signed between the Tajik government and either a company registered in another country or a government of another country, at least 80 percent of the workforce must be locally hired.  Depending on the qualifications of the local labor force, Tajik authorities may increase this requirement to 90 percent.

Tajik legislation permits foreigners to hold senior management and directorial positions.

It is possible to obtain visas and residence/work permits, but applicants are required to provide documentary support, and most permits cannot exceed one year.  According to Article 3 of government resolution #529, foreign worker permission procedures, investors and depositors with more than USD 500,000 in investments do not require work permits for one year from the date of state registration.

Relevant ministries must review and approve all investment proposals.

The government does not practice a forced localization policy.  The Tajik government requires all telecommunication service providers to install surveillance equipment.  Russia provides the equipment and technology as a part of the Collective Security Treaty Organization agreement.

The government does not impede the transmission of customer or other business-related data outside the economy/country’s territory unless the data violates anti-terrorist and anti-extremist laws and policies.

In 2017 Tajikistan’s Telecommunication’s agency formally completed a unified communication center (single gateway), monopolizing internet access.

5. Protection of Property Rights

Real Property

The Tajik government uses a cadaster system to record, protect, and facilitate acquisition and disposition of property, but it needs improvement.  Even when secured interests in property do exist, enforcement remains an issue.  Investors should be aware that establishing title might be a more involved process than in Western countries because title histories can be difficult to find.

Since 2007, the U.S. government has provided significant, sustained, and focused support to the Tajik government on market-driven land reforms.  Most recently, Tajikistan’s Land Market Development Activity (LMDA), a USD 9.7 million project, successfully launched “one-stop shops” for land registration throughout Khatlon, cutting wait times in half.  The activity also supports the launch of a new automated registration system designed to centralize records, streamline procedures, and further simplify land registration.  The Tajik government is replicating the one-stop-shop model throughout the country and has established a training center for Land Registration Department employees.

The government passed mortgage legislation in March 2008 that allows parties to use immovable property as collateral.  The government also adopted revised land code amendments in August 2012.

According to domestic law, all land belongs exclusively to the state; individuals or entities may be granted first or second-tier land-use rights.  The government restricts foreigners’ first-tier land-use rights to 50 years, while Tajik individuals and entities may have indefinite first-tier land-use rights.  Foreigners may request second-tier land-use rights from the government similar to the first-tier rights of Tajik individuals and entities, for periods of up to 50 years.  Tajik first-tier land-use rights holders may also grant foreigners lease agreements for up to 20 years.  Ownership of rural land-use rights can be particularly opaque, since many nominally privatized former collective farms continue to operate as a single entity.  Many of the new owners do not know where their land is and do not exercise their property rights.

Officially, Tajik authorities clearly demarcate land by title and affiliation to state-ownership or for private use.

Tajik law does not allow the sale of land.  All land is the property of the state.  If leaseholders do not use land in accordance with the purpose of the lease, then authorities can revert it to other owners.

Intellectual Property Rights

Tajikistan is a signatory to several international conventions that protect intellectual property rights (IPR), including the World International Property Organization (WIPO) Convention.  Tajikistan has signed 17 WIPO administered treaties.  Tajikistan’s enforcement of IPR violations needs strengthening (the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, the Ministry of Interior, and the Ministry of Culture have regulatory authority).  Over 90 percent of software and other media products sold in Tajikistan are unlicensed copies, and many “brand name” consumer goods are counterfeit.

Tajikistan is a member of many international agreements and unions, but does not adhere to key international agreements on IPR and lacks effective protections for patents, copyrights, trademarks, and other intellectual property.  At present, IP does not represent a sizeable portion of the Tajik economy.  Both the Constitution of Tajikistan and the county’s criminal and civil codes have provisions for IPR protection, but enforcement of these provisions lags behind.

Despite existing legislation to protect IPR, infringement is widespread.  Enforcement remains weak and requires technical assistance from the international community to develop and strengthen enforcement and monitoring mechanisms.  The IPR Unit at the Ministry of Interior was established in 2006 and reorganized in 2011 under the new Unit to Combat IP Crimes.  Many brand name goods sold in Tajikistan, particularly clothing and DVDs, are counterfeit.  Since the Ministry of Interior has refused to release enforcement statistics since 2013, the latest available statistics date to 2011-2012.

The Tajik president’s October 31, 2018 decree mandating government agencies use licensed software demonstrates some progress on IPR enforcement.  This government resolution tasks relevant government ministries and agencies to consider introducing licensed software at all government institutions and seek financial assistance to procure the software.  A Microsoft delegation visited Tajikistan in January to discuss the remediation of unlicensed software in the country.

The Tajik government has an action plan for the implementation of World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations, which includes IPR enforcement provisions as part of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

Article 156 of the criminal code allows for seizures of counterfeit goods.  The Ministry of Interior has declined to report statistics on criminal cases opened for consumer fraud since 2013.  Information on successful prosecutions is likewise unavailable.

As part of its WTO accession process, Tajikistan amended Article 441 of its customs code to provide ex officio authority to its customs officers to seize and destroy counterfeit goods.  The Department on Disclosing and Seizing of Counterfeit Products within the Customs Service of Tajikistan has the responsibility to detect IPR-related violations.  The Customs Service did not publish public information on seizures of counterfeit goods in 2018.  Currently, the Customs Service has only three IPR products registered in its customs registry.  Tajikistan’s Law on Quality and Safety of Products requires IPR violators to pay all expenses for storage, transportation, and destruction of counterfeit goods.

To register a patent or trademark with the National Center for Patents and Information (NCPI), applicants must submit an application with all relevant information on the IP and pay a fee.  The NCPI (www.ncpi.tj) will search its records for conflicts and, if none is found, register the IP within 30 days from the time the application is received.  In general, the issuance of a trademark might take four to seven months, while obtaining a patent for an invention could take up to two years.

Tajikistan’s weak implementation of its IPR laws makes it difficult for investors to protect their rights.  IPR enforcement has the potential to improve if the Tajik government effectively implements its action plan to comply with WTO TRIPS requirements.

In 2019, Tajikistan was removed from the USTR Special 301 Watch List due to concrete steps it took to improve its IP regime, specifically mandating ex officio authority for customs officials and issuing the presidential-level decree to facilitate use of licensed software in government agencies.  Tajikistan is not included in the Notorious Markets List.

For additional information about treaty obligations and points of contact at local IP offices, please see WIPO’s country profiles at http://www.wipo.int/directory/en/ .

Resources for Rights Holders

U.S. Embassy
Economic Section
Dushanbe-ICS@state.gov
American Chamber of Commerce in Tajikistan
+992 (93) 577 23 23 +992 (93) 577 29 29
Director@amcham.tj
Info@amcham.tj

Public list of local lawyers:

https://tj.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/local-resources-of-u-s-citizens/attorneys/

6. Financial Sector

Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment

Foreign portfolio investment is not a priority of the Tajik government.  Tajikistan lacks a securities market.  According to government statistics, portfolio investment in Tajikistan by the end of 2018 totaled USD 576.2 million.  This includes the USD 500 million Eurobond the National Bank of Tajikistan issued in September 2017.  The Tajik government does not regard this sector as a significant part of the national economy.  The National Bank of Tajikistan made efforts to develop a system to encourage and facilitate portfolio investments, including credit rating mechanism implemented by Moody’s and S&P.  Tajikistan has not established policies to facilitate the free flow of financial resources into product and factor markets.

Tajikistan does not have an official stock market.  The National Bank of Tajikistan and Commercial banks in 2015 facilitated the creation of the new Central Asian Stock Exchange, but it is in the early stages of development.  (http://case.com.tj/ ).

Tajikistan does not place any restrictions on payments and transfers for current international transactions, per IMF Article VIII.  It regards transfers from all international sources as revenue, however, and taxes them accordingly.

Commercial banks apply market terms for credits, but commercial banks are also under considerable pressure by the governing elites and their family and friends to provide favorable loans for commercially questionable projects.  An estimated 70 percent of Tajikistan’s commercial loans are non-performing, the official data from National Bank of Tajikistan reports 30.3 percent as non-performing loans as of January 1.

The private sector offers access to several different credit instruments.  Foreign investors can get credit on the local market, but those operating in Tajikistan do not obtain local credit because of comparatively high interest rates.

Money and Banking System

According to the latest National Bank of Tajikistan report from December 2018, 79 credit institutions, including 17 banks, 25 microcredit deposit organizations, six microcredit organizations, and 31 microcredit funds, function in Tajikistan.  Tajikistan has 332 bank branches, a 3.3 percent reduction since 2017.

Tajikistan’s banking system has not recovered from the 2015 financial crisis.  AgroInvestBank and TojikSodirotbank, two of Tajikistan’s largest, are in fact collapsed banks awaiting liquidation.  Tajikistan’s banking sector has assets of USD 2.24 billion as of December 2018, which is USD 130 million less than in 2017.  Total liabilities decreased in 2018, reaching USD 1.6 billion.  The National Bank of Tajikistan is the country’s central bank (www.nbt.tj ).  Foreign banks can establish operations in country subject to National Bank of Tajikistan regulations.  United States commercial banks used to have correspondent banking relations with several Tajik commercial banks, but discontinued these relationships in 2012.

To establish a bank account, foreigners must submit a letter of application, a passport copy, and Tajik government-issued taxpayer identification number.

Foreign Exchange and Remittances

Foreign Exchange Policies

Tajikistan traditionally does not restrict conversion or transfer of monies if these sums are deemed to be reasonable.  Until 2015, “reasonable” meant no more than USD 10,000 per transaction.  Because of the current economic and financial crisis, the National Bank of Tajikistan is now determining “reasonableness” on a case-by-case basis.

Tajikistan places no legal limits on commercial or non-commercial money transfers, and investors may freely convert funds associated with any form of investment into any world currency.  However, since 2017 the National Bank of Tajikistan exercised stricter control of foreign currency operations and outflows due to the economic and financial crisis.  According to National Bank of Tajikistan regulations, anyone seeking to exchange an amount exceeding TJS 1,500 (approximately USD 159) must register the exchange, and present a passport and an explanation of the reason for the exchange (e.g., business trip abroad).

Businesses often find it difficult to conduct large currency transactions due to the limited amount of foreign currency available on the domestic financial market.  Investors are free to import currency, but once they deposit it in a Tajik bank account it may be difficult to withdraw.

In December 2015, the National Bank of Tajikistan reorganized foreign currency operations and shut down all private foreign exchange offices in Tajikistan.  Since that time, only commercial bank exchange offices operated as foreign currency exchange offices, which require registration of a foreign passport and other personal information.

The government’s policy supports a stable exchange rate.  The National Bank of Tajikistan maintained an average exchange rate at TJS 9.2 per U.S. dollar in 2018.  Defending the somoni’s rate to the dollar puts pressure on Tajikistan’s foreign currency and gold reserves, leaving the government with little capacity for systematic currency interventions.  Whereas a dollar could buy TJS 5.4 in 2015, the currency devalued to about TJS 9.43 per dollar by April 2019.

Remittance Policies

The National Bank of Tajikistan mandated that commercial banks disburse remittances in local currency since early 2016.  There are no official time or quantity limitations on the inflow or outflow of funds for remittances.  Tajikistan’s tax code classifies all inflows as revenue and taxes them accordingly; however, the Tajik government does not tax remittances from labor migrants.

Sovereign Wealth Funds

Tajikistan does not have a sovereign wealth fund.  The country does have a “Special Economic Reforms Fund,” but, according to official statistics, it is empty.

7. State-Owned Enterprises

State-owned enterprises (SOEs) are active in travel, automotive/ground transportation, energy, mining, metal manufacturing/products, food processing/packaging, agriculture, construction, building and heavy equipment, services, finance, and information and communication sectors.  The government divested itself of smaller SOEs in successive waves of privatization, but retained ownership of the largest Soviet-era enterprises and any sector deemed to be a natural monopoly.

The government appoints directors and boards to SOEs, but there are no clear governance and internal control procedures.  Tajik SOEs do not adhere to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Guidelines on Corporate Governance for SOEs.  Tajik government fully controls SOEs.  When SOEs are involved in investment disputes, it is highly likely that the domestic courts will find in the SOE’s favor.  Court processes are generally non-transparent and discriminatory.

The Committee for Investments and State Property Management maintains a database of all SOEs in Tajikistan, but does not make this information publicly available.

Major SOEs include:

  • Travel: Tajik Air, Dushanbe International Airport, Kulob Airport, Qurghonteppa Airport, Khujand Airport, and Tajik Air Navigation;
  • Automotive & Ground Transportation: Tajik Railways;
  • Energy & Mining: Barqi Tojik, TajikTransGas, Oil, Gas, and Coal, and VostokRedMet;
  • Metal Manufacturing & Products: Tajik Aluminum Holding Company (TALCO), and several TALCO subsidiary companies
  • Agricultural, Construction, Building & Heavy Equipment: Tajik Cement; Food Processing & Packaging: Konservniy Combinat Isfara;
  • Services: Dushanbe Water and Sewer, Vodokanal Khujand, and ZhKX (water utility company);
  • Finance: AmonatBonk (state savings bank), TajikSarmoyaguzor (state investments), TajikSugurta (state insurance);
  • Information and Communication: Tajik Telecom, Tajik Postal Service, and TeleRadioCom

In sectors that are open to private sector and foreign competition, SOEs receive a larger percentage of government contracts/business than their private sector competitors.  As a general rule, private companies cannot compete successfully with SOEs unless they have good government connections.

SOEs purchase goods and services from, and supply them to, private sector and foreign firms through the Tajik government’s tender process.  Tajikistan has undertaken a commitment, as part of its WTO accession protocol, to initiate accession to the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA).  At present, however, GPA does not cover Tajik SOEs.

Per government policy, private enterprises cannot compete with SOEs under the same terms and conditions with respect to market share (since the government continually increases the role and number of SOEs in any market), products/services, and incentives.  Private enterprises do not have the same access to financing as SOEs.  Most lending from state-owned banks is politically directed.

Local tax law makes SOEs subject to the same tax burden and tax rebate policies as their private sector competitors, but the Tajik government favors SOEs and regularly writes off tax arrears for SOEs.

Privatization Program

The Tajik government conducted privatization on an ad-hoc basis in the 1990s, and then again in the early 2000s.  The government plans to split national electrical utility Barqi-Tojik into three public/private partnerships, responsible for generation, transmission, and distribution, by the end of 2020, but progress has been slow.

Foreign investors are able to participate in Tajikistan’s privatization programs.

There is a public bidding process, but the privatization process is not transparent.  Privatized properties have been subject to re-nationalization, often because Tajik authorities claim on illegal privatization process.

8. Responsible Business Conduct

The Tajik government officially protects consumer rights through its Law on Consumer Protection.  Citizens may file lawsuits against violators of consumer rights with the court system.  Tajikistan’s state labor union is responsible for safeguarding labor and employment rights.  In practice, no enforcement is in place.  The Tajik government does not fairly enforce domestic law to protect individuals from adverse business impacts.

The Tajik government lacks corporate governance, accounting, or executive compensation standards to protect shareholders.  The Tajik government does not encourage public disclosure of these issues.  The Tajik government does not enforce corporate governance practices.

There are no independent NGOs, investment funds, worker organizations/unions, or business associations in Tajikistan that promote or monitor responsible business conduct.

The Tajik government does not encourage adherence to the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Afflicted and High-Risk Areas.  The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) suspended Tajikistan in March 2016.

9. Corruption

Tajikistan has enacted anti-corruption legislation, but enforcement is selective, and generally ineffective in combating corruption of public officials.  Tajikistan’s parliament approved new amendments to the criminal code in February 2016.  Now, individuals convicted of crimes related to bribery may be released in return for payment of fines (roughly USD 25 for each day they would have served in prison had they been convicted under the previous criminal code).

Tajikistan’s anti-corruption laws officially extend to family members of officials and political parties.  Tajikistan’s laws provide conditions to counter conflict of interest in awarding contracts.

The Tajik government does not require private companies to establish internal codes of conduct that prohibit bribery of public officials.  Prosecutions for corruption are primarily politically motivated.

Private companies do not use internal controls, ethics, and compliance programs to detect and prevent bribery of government officials.

Tajikistan became a signatory to the UN’s Anticorruption Convention in 2006.  Tajikistan is not a party to the OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.

Tajik authorities do not provide protection to NGOs involved in investigating corruption.

U.S. firms have identified corruption as an obstacle to investment and have reported instances of corruption in government procurement, award of licenses and concessions, dispute settlements, regulations, customs, and taxation.

Resources to Report Corruption

Contact at government agency responsible for combating corruption:

Sulaimon Sultonzoda, Head
The Agency for State Financial Control and Fight with Corruption
78 Rudaki Avenue, Dushanbe
992 37 221-48-10; 992 27 234-3052
info@anticorruption.tj; agenti@anticorruption.tj

(The agency requests that contact be made via a form on their website – www.anticorruption.tj)

United Nations Development Program
39 Aini Street, Dushanbe
+992 44 600-56-00
registry.tj@undp.org

10. Political and Security Environment

Tajikistan has a recent history of politically motivated violence.  Its civil war lasted from 1992 to 1997, resulting in the death of over 50,000 people.  Since the end of the country’s civil war in 1997, however, political violence has been rare.  There was a minor uprising in September 2015.

Tajikistan is governed by an authoritarian ruler who has consolidated power over the past years by silencing opposition voices and ending multi-party democracy.  As part of its security efforts, the Tajik government has placed numerous restrictions on religious, media, and civil freedoms.  The state, as an extension of the regime, furthers the interests of the ruling elite, often to the detriment of the business community.  The government demonstrates little appreciation for democratic principles, with many in authority advancing different views on political, social, and civil freedom issues: democratic reform by some is viewed as a threat to important political and financial interests.  Government institutions are often unwilling or unable to protect human rights, the judiciary is not independent, and the court system does not present Tajiks with a fair or effective forum in which to seek protection.  Law enforcement institutions often overuse their authority to monitor, question or detain a wide spectrum of individuals, and the State Committee on National Security (GKNB) exercises a wide degree of influence in all aspects of government.  Corruption is pervasive and endemic, and government officials are generally not held accountable for their actions.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

As of December 2018, the official unemployment rate in Tajikistan was 2.5 percent, but this does not include the roughly one million citizens (12.5 percent of the population) that seasonally migrate in search of work in other countries – primarily to Russia.

According to information provided by the Ministry of Labor, Migration, and Employment, Tajikistan’s labor force is 5.2 million workers strong.  Due to demographic growth, the World Bank estimates that demand for jobs exceeds job growth by a ratio of two to one.

Unskilled labor is widely available, but skilled labor is often in short supply, since many Tajiks with marketable skills have chosen to emigrate due to limited domestic employment opportunities.  Corruption in secondary schools and universities means degrees may not accurately reflect an applicant’s level of professional training or competency.

Due to its weak education system, Tajikistan’s domestic labor force is generally becoming less skilled, and is ill equipped to provide international standards of customer service and management.  Foreign businesses and NGOs report difficulty recruiting qualified staff for their organizations in all specialties.

The Ministry of Labor, Migration and Employment announced a plan to expand its network of training centers at which Tajik workers can become more marketable.  The curriculum at these centers is primarily focused on the migrant community, offering training in English, Russian, culture, and history.  It also provides certification of a worker’s existing skills, and short-term vocational training as welders, electricians, tractor operators, textile workers, and confectioners.

Article 36 of Tajikistan’s labor code gives employers the right to change workers’ contracts (remuneration, hours, responsibilities, etc.) due to fluctuating market conditions.  If the worker does not accept the amended contract, the employer may terminate the worker, but the worker can claim a severance payment equivalent to two months’ salary.

Tajikistan’s labor code does not include any provisions for waiving labor regulations to attract or retain investments, but the Tajik government has waived the 70 percent requirement for the employment of Tajik workers in some cases.

There are no special regulations regarding treatment of labor in Tajikistan’s four free economic zones.

The labor market favors employers.  Although the majority of workers are technically unionized, most are not aware of their rights, and few unions effectively advocate for workers’ rights.  The Tajik government controls unions.  The national trade union federation has not had many disputes with the government.  Tajikistan has no formal labor dispute resolution mechanisms.  Although collective bargaining can occur, it is rare. There were no significant labor strikes in Tajikistan.

Tajikistan’s labor code regulates employer-employee relations.  The domestic labor code includes reference to international labor standards but employers may frequently violate or misinterpret the procedure.

Tajik authorities did not officially register any strikes in 2018.

12. OPIC and Other Investment Insurance Programs

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) is active in Tajikistan. OPIC has recently supported a potato chip factory, the campus expansion at the University of Central Asia, and consulting companies.

Tajikistan signed an investment incentive agreement with the United States in 1992, with provisions for issuing investment insurance, loans, and guarantees administered by OPIC.

13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy

Host Country Statistical Source USG or International Statistical Source USG or International Source of Data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount  
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($M USD) 2018 $7,300 2018 $7,523 www.worldbank.org/en/country 
Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical Source USG or International Statistical Source USG or International Source of Data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in Partner Country ($M USD, stock positions) 2017 $13.8 2017 N/A BEA data available at http://bea.gov/international/direct_investment_multinational_companies_comprehensive_data.htm 
Host Country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) 2017 N/A 2017 N/A BEA data available at http://bea.gov/international/direct_investment_multinational_companies_comprehensive_data.htm 
Total Inbound Stock of FDI as % host GDP 2018 4.48% 2017 5.14% N/A


Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI

Direct Investment From/in Counterpart Economy Data
From Top Five Sources/To Top Five Destinations (US Dollars, Millions)
Inward Direct Investment Outward Direct Investment
Total Inward Amount 100% Total Outward Amount 100%
China 238.8 73% N/A Amount N/A
Great Britain 20.4 6% N/A Amount N/A
Cyprus 17 5% N/A Amount N/A
Turkey 17 5% N/A Amount N/A
Switzerland 16.9 5% N/A Amount N/A
“0” reflects amounts rounded to +/- USD 500,000.

Agency on Statistics at the President of Tajikistan


Table 4: Sources of Portfolio Investment

IMF’s Coordinated Portfolio Investment Survey (CPIS) does not list Tajikistan.

14. Contact for More Information

Mr. Andrew Bury
Economic Officer
109A I. Somoni
+992 37 2292504
BuryAG@state.gov

2019 Investment Climate Statements: Tajikistan
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The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future