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MONGOLIA – Weekly press review – 11 May 2020

11/05/2020 - 09:49
Mongolia – Weekly press review

DELEGATION OF THE EUROPEAN UNION TO MONGOLIA This information is based on media reports found in the open sources/via subscription, and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.

 

Coronavirus

The total number of coronavirus cases in Mongolia is 42 and 14 patients have recovered. Montsame

Mongolia to charter flight to India to evacuate/repatriate citizens. Around 480 Mongolian citizens in India have submitted their requests to return to Mongolia. Montsame 

Over 10,000 Mongolians abroad wish to return home: According to the State Emergency Commission, chartered flights will be operated to Turkey, India, Russia and South Korea to evacuate Mongolian nationals. Xinhuanet News  Mongolia has evacuated over 8 700 nationals from abroad. A total of 2 648 nationals on 11 chartered flights and 6 096 people on buses and trains from more than 30 countries. Xinhuanet

Short-term vocational training centres to reopen gradually: There are a total of 1 088 training centres nationwide with 414 offering basic vocational skills training, 255 providing language training, and 419 driver training centres.  Government

Mongolia launches hygiene promotion campaign in cooperation with the UNICEF, WHO and other organizations. The campaign will last until the end of August. Xinhuanet

EU – Mongolia

Commission Action Plan for a new single EU Anti-Money Laundering System: Mongolia will be listed when the proposed legislation will enter into force: only from 1 October this year, because of COVID-19. Transactions made by EU financial institutions with persons established in Mongolia are not forbidden or blocked. It does not impede development policy which is implemented in Mongolia. The listing process does not affect the legitimate trade flows, the EU humanitarian assistance, the development policy or the provision of grants, procurement and budget support in those third countries put on the EU list. Therefore there should be no adverse effect with regard to actions physically implemented in listed jurisdictions. The only consequences are for the financial system: Banks and other entities are required to apply enhanced vigilance in transactions involving Mongolia (so called "enhanced customer due diligence requirements”). The EU listing does not entail any punitive effect. We are here to assist our partners that need technical assistance. We aim at supporting more our partners (not less) to address AML/CFT issues by better tailoring the existing technical assistance to address strategic deficiencies in the best interest of both parties", the EU Ambassador to Mongolia said. EU Delegation  European Commission 

Celebrate Europe Day 2020 in Mongolia with us: Europe Day is celebrated on 9 May every year, to mark peace, solidarity and unity in Europe. This year we mark the 70th anniversary of the historical 'Schuman Declaration'. At a speech in Paris in 1950, Robert Schuman, the then French Foreign minister, set out his idea for a new form of political cooperation in Europe, which would make war between Europe's nations unthinkable. This year, amid global health and economic crisis, international partnerships and global solidarity makes more important than ever.  

Delegation of the European Union to Mongolia marks Europe Day and 70th anniversary of Schuman Declaration with a variety of activities:

· Virtual Classical Music Concert will be live streamed on our YouTube channel YouTube@EUinMongolia (link is external)  on 16 May 18:00 with a video message from the EU Ambassador and the Foreign Minister of Mongolia. The Concert will play 8 famous musical pieces from 8 European Union Member States as well as the anthem of the European Union and Mongolia. The concert will be also screened on the Mongolian UBS TV channel.

· Online European Film Festival via Festival Scope Festivalscope (link is external) will be launched on 18 May. The audience will have free access to European movies both in English and Mongolian dubbing and subtitles. 

· You can find more information on our website Delegation of the EU to Mongolia and follow us on Facebook @EUinMongolia (link is external), Twitter @EUinMongolia (link is external), Instragram @EUinMongolia and YouTube channel YouTube@EUinMongolia (link is external). #EuropeDay  #TogetherWeAreEurope #EuropeintheWorld

 EU Ambassador and Ambassadors of EU Member States meet Minister for Foreign Affairs: On 4 May they exchanged views on EU’s ongoing projects in Mongolia and other issues including COVID-19. Montsame

German Ambassador visits German-Mongolian cooperation projects in Umnugobi: a delegation headed by H.E. Mr Jörn Rosenberg visited the ‘Business Innovation & Growth (BIG)’ center, which is supported by GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit - German Corporation for International Cooperation) and offers numerous support measures for local small and medium-sized enterprises. Montsame  

German Ambassador H.E. Mr Jörn Rosenberg met with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and discussed Mongolia’s COVID-19 response. Ambassador Rosenberg informed on the changes and reforms being made by the Federal Government in its development policy cooperation strategy. Montsame

Political and internal developments

Government announces MNT 793 billion additional measures to stimulate economy: The ‘Child Money’ monthly allowance will be raised to MNT 100 000 until 1 October 2020. The monthly food vouchers, granted to people in need, will be doubled for five months from May. This measure will involve 240 000 citizens of low-income households and around 32 000 vulnerable people will receive additional MNT 100 000 in the next five months. To support herders’ revenue and domestic production of cashmere industry, a subsidy of MNT 20 000 will be given for each kilogram of cashmere supply. Montsame 

Mongolia prepares for the worst, opens emergency COVID-19 hospitals as part of the emergency drill ‘Pandemic Cooperation and Relief’. These include opening a 300-bed hospital at the Buyant-Ukhaa sport complex near Ulaanbaatar’s airport, a 100-bed facility at the new Maternity Hospital in the Yarmag district of the capital and a field hospital in the National Emergency Management Agency’s Centre for Rehabilitation and Training. News

Political parties receive approval for election race: The General Election Commission (GEC) has reviewed the documents submitted by political parties and coalitions seeking to run in the 2020 parliamentary election and announced that 15 parties and four coalitions are approved to run: Democratic Party, United Party of Patriots, Freedom Implementing Party, Great Unity Party, Zon Masses Party and World Mongolian Party, Sakhigtun! UndsenKhuuliin 19 Khuuli Coalition (Adhere to 19 Laws of Constitution of Mongolia!), Love the People Party, Party of the People, Development Program Party, Mongolian Green Party, Mongolian People’s Party, United Citizens Coalition Party, Motherland Party, Democratic Reform Party, Right Person, Voter Coalition, People’s Majority Government Party, and Development Ger District Party received confirmation from GEC. The UB Post 

President discusses concerns around COVID-19 and upcoming elections: General Election Commission is making preparations to hold regular parliamentary elections. However, there are no clear rules and regulations how to organize large gatherings during the pandemic, such as campaign and voting. Montsame 

The Constitutional Court discussed Law on Elections: The Court discussed Article 29.8, which states that candidates will be prohibited from running in a parliamentary election if they have been convicted of corruption or official misconduct. The Court Also discussed Article 32.2.9, which states that candidates need a reference from the relevant state authority regarding whether or not they were found guilty of corruption or official misconduct. The Constitutional Court concluded that these provisions are not in violation of the Constitution. Ikon

Parliament approves Central Bank deputy governors: G. Dulguun as the First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Mongolia and G. Enkhtaivan as Deputy Governor. Montsame

Former Mongolian PM imprisoned: The high-profile trial of the former Mongolian Prime Minister has been attracting much attention. At the third day of trial, M. Enkhsaikhan was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison and banned from public office for four years. News  Former PM M. Enkhsaikhan was accused of political sabotage and abuse of power. News

Ulaanbaatar ranks 6 on the list of the most polluted city in the world 2020: Ulaanbaatar’s air pollution problem has grown with the city, which has almost tripled in size since 1990, and today accommodates just under 1.5 million people. The full list

Foreign Policy

UNDP support to Mongolia's National Response to contain the impact of COVID-19: UNDP Mongolia has offered to the Government of Mongolia and IFIs to facilitate procurement of health related items through our corporate procurement systems, which can bring efficiency and cost-effectiveness to procurements in the health sector needed for COVID-19. UNDP

China will strengthen joint epidemic prevention with Mongolia: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi urged the two countries to continue to strengthen joint prevention and control measures, explore the resumption of bilateral economic and trade cooperation. He expected the sides to explore the establishment of a green channel to facilitate personnel exchanges and cargo delivery. Xinhuanet

Deputy Prime Minister and the Ambassador of Russia and discussed Power of Siberia 2 the natural gas pipeline with an annual capacity of 50 billion cubic meters from Russia to China through Mongolia, project collaboration, management and training. Montsame

Face masks donated to Russia's veterans' organization: The Mongolian Soldiers’ Association headed by the Prime Minister of Mongolia donated 20 000 face masks. Montsame

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Mongolia sign loan agreement to modernize vegetable production and irrigation: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Mongolian government signed a loan agreement worth USD 40 million and a Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR) grant worth USD 2 million to help modernize government-owned irrigation networks and vegetable production in Mongolia. ADB

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved USD 30 million in extra financing for a health project in Mongolia to strengthen the country's preparedness and response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This additional financing will increase the coverage of upgraded sterilization departments to all referral hospitals and boost the capacity to diagnose and treat COVID-19 patients. ADB

The World Bank has approved a USD 53 million loan to improve heating services and support sustainable livelihoods. Up to USD 41 million will be directed towards the Ulaanbaatar Heating Sector Improvement Project to improve the efficiency of the district heating network. USD 12 million for the Mongolia Third Sustainable Livelihoods Project will scale up activities to improve the planning and delivery of priority local infrastructure investments in all 330 rural soums in Mongolia. Smart Energy 

South Korea donates COVID-19 test kits to Mongolia worth USD 250 000 and in the first phase provided 30 000 rapid COVID-19 test kits. Xinhua

Economy

General Department of Taxation announced the companies that paid the highest taxes in 2019: Erdenet factory- MNT 707 billion, ETT LLC- MNT 683 billion, Oyu Tolgoi- MNT 372 billion, Energy resource- MNT 205 billion, APU JSC- MNT 165 billion, Khan Bank- MNT 130 billion, Golomt Bank- MNT 103 billion, Tavan Tolgoi JSC - MNT 94 billion, TTJVCo- MNT 87 billion, MAK- MNT 75 billion. The total taxes of these TOP 10 companies equal to MNT 2.6 trillion, which equals to 45% of total income centralized to State budget. GOGO

Oyu Tolgoi announces Q1'2020 performance results:  During Q1, Oyu Tolgoi LLC reported that it paid USD 73 million in taxes and fees, and spent USD 105 million on domestic procurement. The company and employees donated MNT 455 million to support the outbreak prevention efforts of COVID-19. In Q1, export performance targets were met despite China's decreased procurement in January and February; export increased significantly in March. Bloomberg TV 

Cashmere exports fell by 86.3% compared to the same period in 2019. During the COVID-19 pandemic, cashmere production has been delayed and demand has fallen. As part of the government's first package of mitigating measures, the average price of cashmere will be kept at MNT 100 000 per kg to support herders' incomes. As part of a second package, the government has set an incentive of MNT 20 000 per kg for the purchase of cashmere. Following the release of the first stimulus package, cashmere production started in some provinces and more than MNT 3.3 billion in cashmere was traded at the Mongolian Agricultural Exchange. AmCham via BloombergTV

Reserves of Salkhit silver and gold deposit likely to increase by 2-3 times: the plant has the capacity to process 1 000 tons of ore per day and produce 30-40 tons of concentrate. Montsame 

Mongolia’s gold purchase surges amid coronavirus lockdown: The Central Bank of Mongolia purchased 1.4 tonnes of precious metals from individuals and enterprises in April. The Bank’s purchase has reached 6.7 tonnes of precious metals; 5.0 tonnes being of gold since 1 January. This represents an increase of 66% or 4.4 tonnes from previous year. News

Anti-corruption body raids office of Tavan Bogd Group’s President: Officers from the Independent Authority against Corruption of Mongolia have raided Tavan Bogd Group President Ts. Baatarsaikhan’s office. According to official sources, the raid was carried out as part of an ongoing investigation into the Health Insurance Fund. Ts.Baatarsaikhan, who is one of the major shareholders of the Khan Bank, is suspected for embezzlement of MNT 1.8 billion from the Health Insurance Fund. News 

6595 borrowers request to defer consumer loan payment: A decision has been made to extend the repayment of mortgage loans by six months and extend the term of consumer loans in order to reduce the burden on individuals amid COVID-19 pandemic and the loan extension deadline has expired on 30 April. Montsame 

Special mortgage program to be implemented for civil servants in risky situations: The bill aims to prevent and control the COVID-19 pandemic, protect public health and reduce negative social and economic impact. The bill details the remuneration and social security of civil servants working in risky situations. Particularly, a special mortgage loan program will be developed to cover civil servants to enable them to rent-to-own apartments. The UB Post 

Mongolia’s SMI falls to 41 month-low: the Sales Manag­ers’ Index (SMI) of Mongolia, which covers all private sector activity, fell to about 26 points, the lowest ever performance in 41 months, according to World Economics. The Business Con­fidence Index (BCI) also dropped to its lowest ever level since the World Eco­nomics survey began. However, a slight increase shown in Sales Growth Index, indicating that the economy is expected to recover early, the survey highlighted. ZGM 

Mongolia's coal export sales total USD 344 million in the first four months of the year: Mongolia's coal exports fell 2.7 times from last year's figures, to 4.1 million tons, according to the Customs General Administration. Bloomberg TV

Coal transports recovering at key China-Mongolia border crossing: A total 50 300 tonnes of Mongolian coal passed through Ganqimaodu, a key border crossing linking north China's Inner Mongolia and the country's major coal supplier Mongolia. SXCOAL

Rating Action: Moody's changes Mongolia's outlook to negative from stable and affirmed the long-term B3 issuer and foreign currency senior unsecured bond ratings and the (P) B3 senior unsecured MTN program rating.  MOODYS

Commentary

Power of the People’s Parties and a post-Soviet Parliament: Regional infrastructural, economic, and ethnic networks of power in contemporary Mongolia by Marissa J. Smith In 1994, the new Orkhon Province was created, transforming the status of the Soviet-established federal municipality Erdenet, a major copper-mining center responsible for much of the country’s export revenues and central to ongoing Mongolian–Russian relations. Rather than representing increased participation in national government for Erdenet residents, many of whom are members of transborder minority ethnicities with ties to remote parts of the country, the formation of the province has been controversial locally, as it has meant the introduction of provincial governors, de facto appointed by the Prime Minister. The situation demonstrates the tension in Mongolian governance between Ulaanbaatar-based centralization and vertical integration on the one hand (also pursued through attempts to privatize the mining enterprise) and the independence of constituencies integrated with regional infrastructural, economic, and ethnic networks built up through long histories of international imperial entanglements on the other. Journal of Eurasian Studies

Mongolian Media Council should protect press freedom, not impede it by Dulguun Bayarsaikhan The UB Post would like to remind the Media Council once again that the council has no legal authority to intervene in issues currently in due process with the courts of Mongolia. Before being established in 2015, the Media Council declared to media organizations that it would only address complaints before it reaches court level, mitigating unnecessary lawsuits against the press. It is regrettable that Mongolian media organizations are now subjected to double pressures, by the court and the council, for the same issue. The UB Post 

Mongolia’s Challenges in Returning Nationals Stranded Abroad during COVID-19: After closing its borders and cancelling all international flights and trains to limit the mobility of travellers, Mongolia began the staggered repatriation of its citizens in February, followed by the enforcement of a strict quarantine schedule. This has arguably helped keep community transmission low in the country but public policy decisions facing Mongolia’s government are anything but easy. This dispatch explores the country’s repatriation policies and processes, and the associated public health and political fallout. Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada

Mongolia – Flow Monitoring in Ulaanbaatar (COVID-19 Preparedness) – Situation Report: To increase its preparedness and also an eventual response to COVID-19, the Governor’s Office of the Capital City has requested the assistance of International Organization for Migration, Mission to Mongolia (IOM) to take evidence of all the incoming and outgoing flows of people by implementing its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) methodology. Based on a joint agreement to implement DTM between IOM and the Governor’s Office of the Capital City, a total of over 400 health and education system personnel have been trained as data enumerators and technical assistance was provided to set up the overall data collection and analysis framework. IOM

No extravagant promises, big parties told: The first parliamentary election after the amended constitution comes into force on 25 May has been scheduled to be held on 24 June but there are some who want it to be deferred until the Coronavirus threat recedes. All contesting parties will campaign on the basis of their action plan which has first to be cleared by The National Audit Office. During its check this office found that all three major parties, and several of the others in the fray, had gone overboard in making promises. It promptly rejected their plans and asked the parties to submit by 25 April revised action plans that kept within the parameters of the law.    Mongolian Mining Journal

Practice Makes Perfect? Mongolia’s COVID-19 Outbreak Drill  Mongolia ran a COVID-19 drill, complete with the lockdown of an entire district, to gauge its readiness for a real outbreak. So far, Mongolia has not seen any local transmission of COVID-19. The early response by the Mongolian authorities, closing borders on 26 January and requiring all those who were repatriated from abroad to be quarantined in specially designated hotels and hospitals for 14 days, which was later increased to 21 days, has paid off. Understanding that Mongolia will eventually have to reopen the border, which will mean a likely rise in COVID-19 cases, the Mongolian government conducted a three-day drill to check the response and coordination between 14 local and national organizations during a simulated COVID-19 outbreak. The Diplomat

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Prepared by Edina Bartalová

Delegation of the European Union to Mongolia

ICC Tower, 6th floor, Jamiyan Gun Street 9

1st khoroo, Sukhbaatar district, Ulaanbaatar

https://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/mongolia_en