Business development in Tajikistan’s market is resource and time-intensive. You may contact the U.S. Embassy to receive information on market opportunities and the business climate.
Visiting and establishing contacts with potential buyers and partners is very important. Many Tajik businesses and officials do not use email and most expect face-to-face negotiations. Promotional materials should be in the Tajik and/or Russian languages.
Local agents and distributors are commonly used. Although foreign companies can establish a representative office, finding a reliable local partner is very helpful. Care should be taken, however, to establish local trustworthy agents. Consumer goods imports, including capital goods, constitute the majority of all imports to Tajikistan.
U.S. companies should be aware of some difficulties in doing business here: despite its low formal tariffs, Tajikistan’s economic distance to foreign markets is among the largest in the world, due to high transportation costs, distance from seaports, and uneasy relations with Uzbekistan through which most of Tajikistan’s supply routes lie. Costs increase further due to corrupt customs, tax, and licensing authorities.
U.S. companies should explore the possibility of financing through multilateral development institutions such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), International Finance Corporation, and Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development.
The majority of local businesses and consumers have limited awareness of U.S. goods in spite of the fact that major cosmetics and toiletry brands like Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble are being sold through local distributors in shops and supermarkets in Tajikistan. The local business community often assumes U.S. goods are expensive due to the United States’ great distance from Tajikistan. The situation is complicated by other factors such as the time difference, language barriers, and lack of common business practices and values.
U.S. companies should be aware that Tajik officials at the national, regional, and local levels consider implementation of corporate social responsibility programs important for establishing sound relations with investors.