Right Honourable Members of the Parliament,
Ladies and Gentlemen, dear colleagues and friends,
This year was and still is a very challenging one for all of us. But despite the pandemic restrictions the European Union has continued to work with Mongolian counterparts in ensuring the smooth implementation of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA). I would like here to extend a particular word of thanks to the EU Member States for their cooperation in this endeavour.
In May this year we supported Mongolia’s efforts in boosting employment and improving transparency in public finances with a grant of EUR 50.8 million. This is the first budget support programme in Mongolia that will also address the social and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
European businesses play a crucial role in bringing in investment, expertise and transferrable skills, helping to build capacity in education, health and science but also for economic development of SMEs. Foreign direct investment (FDI) also enables Mongolia to unlock its natural wealth, while projects implemented by the EU and its Member States have created new export markets for traditional products such as cashmere.
In order to diversify and increase the Mongolian value-added products and export them to the EU market we have to think about the immediate actions. The potential we have can be fully used only when we work together, improve connectivity, develop trade removing barriers and obstacles, and addressing challenges together. Establishing this base with common rules, increasing regulatory compatibility, standards and rules-based space and level playing field for trade and investment is important.
The European Union, as a partner and friend of Mongolia remains here, ready to assist. And the event today is a concrete proof of our assistance. EU Trade Related Assistance to Mongolia, shortly TRAM, is committed to help and support Mongolia to increase its exports of non-mineral and value-added products toward the EU market. The tangible results of this project over the last year are related to the establishment of one export cluster that comprises natural cosmetics, yak and camel wool, seabuckthorn and yak leather. And experts will present you their challenges in exporting to the EU market. At the same time, you will have the opportunity to discuss about the difficulties in facilitating trade, the obstacles to export and the progress registered in implementing the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.
One of the most challenging topics is related to the Concept Paper on Foreign Trade Policy. In the last years there were many debates around the issue of Mongolia lacking a foreign trade policy law. The WTO Agreement ratified by Mongolia prevails over any other piece of legislation. A clear distinction between domestic and international trade should be made. The TRAM project drafted a Concept Paper on foreign trade that underlines Mongolia’s objectives in the area of foreign trade and proposes policy recommendations for each sector that have export potential.
The interlinkages between investment and trade need to be fully exploited for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals with an open and rules-based trade policy. Here too, our EU Development Cooperation partners are ready to assist.
I am also happy that with the support of TRAM the EuroChamber was established in Mongolia and they already produced an important study on export Financing Measures for SMEs.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like thank all the institutional partners from Mongolia, in particular the colleagues from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, colleagues from the EUMSs, as well as international organizations and civil society representatives for our joint work on numerous EU-Mongolia and thematic related projects and programs.
We promoted always in honesty, transparency, and keeping close at heart the universally recognized values, standards, development goals, and Mongolia's best interest. A special word of gratitude goes to my colleagues here in Ulaanbaatar for all their work over the past years in developing our bilateral cooperation. And I would also like to extend heartfelt thanks to all project partners and to all of you here for your dedication and cooperation.
Welcome to EU Trade Day 2020!