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Cablegate: Turkmenistan: Iranian Trade Show in Ashgabat

VZCZCXRO7318
PP RUEHAG RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHDF RUEHDIR RUEHIK RUEHKUK RUEHLN RUEHLZ
RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHAH #1559 3381206
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 031206Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1946
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 4559
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0476
RUEHDE/AMCONSUL DUBAI 0080
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 2807

UNCLAS ASHGABAT 001559

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA/IR AND SCA/CEN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ETRD PGOV PREL IR TX
SUBJECT: TURKMENISTAN: IRANIAN TRADE SHOW IN ASHGABAT

1. (U) Several dozen Iranian companies exhibited their
products at a large trade show in Ashgabat from November
28-30. The wide range of goods on display included Iran
Khodro/Peugeot automobiles, farm equipment, foodstuffs,
applicances, cosmetics, and construction materials. The
booths covered almost the entire 1200-sq. meters of floor
space at Ashgabat's Exhibition Hall.

2. (U) Many of the businesses at the exhibition were based in
the northern city of Mashhad. One purveyor of luxury marble
and granite flooring from Hamadan, undoubtedly hoping to
benefit from Ashgabat's surge in high-rise residential
apartment construction, proudly showed emboff his stock of
pink marble, onyx and other materials.

3. (U) We noted that most of the representatives for the
higher value items were Iranians, whereas the job of manning
the booths for cosmetics, food products and small appliances
had been delegated to local Turkmen employees, many of whom
appeared to be university students. (Note: We tasted one
variety of chocolate truffles produced in Iran and concluded
that Swiss, Belgium or even Russian chocolatiers face no
immediate danger of being edged out. End Note.)

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4. (SBU) Comment: Iran and Turkmenistan are expected to do
about 2 billion dollars in trade this year, much of which is
accounted for by Turkmen sales of natural gas to Iran. While
the exhibition was crowded, most of the visitors did not
appear to be local Turkmen businessmen, but rather curious
Ashgabat residents, especially students, who seemed to enjoy
trying out the cars and and collecting free items handed out
at the various booths. End comment.
MILES

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