Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Malawi

MONGOLIA – Weekly press review 28 September

28/09/2020 - 10:19
Mongolia – Weekly press review

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.

COVID-19

Total number of confirmed cases was 313 and the total number of recovered patients reached 305 on 28 September. Worldometers

Charter flights to be organized in October:  Nur-Sultan October 4; Seoul October 8, 12, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20; Tokyo October 10; Frankfurt-Ulaanbaatar on October 23; Seattle tbc. Montsame

Mongolia's first direct flight to Hungary lands: 127 students who would study with the Hungarian Government scholarship travelled on the charter flight en route Ulaanbaatar- Budapest-Frankfurt and 17 Mongolian nationals, who requested to return home, boarded the plane. Montsame

EU – Mongolia 

Export-oriented products on display at Ulaanbaatar Partnership 2020 fair: The European Union-funded TRAM project which aims to support Mongolia’s trade and export of new goods to the European market is participating in the fair for the first time with four clusters of beauty products, seabuckthorn, yak and camel wool and yak fibre. The clusters unified all participants including raw material suppliers, processors, producers and trader, Government representative, scientific institutes and laboratories and they are working closely to develop new products, improve quality, get international certificate and export their products. Montsame

Mentorship Programme for Mongolian Youth: The “All for YOUth, YOUth for all” project, funded by the European Union, launched its’ Mentorship Program for youth. The goal of the Mentorship Program is aimed at empowering young people to enable them for personal development and better career prospects. The mentors of the programme are accomplished experts and professionals from various fields. Nearly 200 young people from across Mongolia applied to take part in this programme, with 27 mentees selected. Montsame

French Ambassador meets Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs: Ambassador Merlin briefed and exchanged views on Mongolian-French cooperation as well as on the progress of the projects and programmes to be implemented in the near future. The sides also stressed the importance of bilateral and international cooperation and solidarity in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. Montsame

French Ambassador met with NEMA chief: During the meeting the sides exchanged views on implementation of the agreement between the NEMA (National Emergency Management Agency) and ‘Desautel SAS’ company and the ‘Heli-Union’ group of France, established within the framework of cooperation between the governments of Mongolia and France in the civil defence sector. NEMA Chief G.Ariunbuyan noted successful implementation of the establishment of a unit responsible for emergency air rescue operations at NEMA and provision of helicopter and firefighting vehicles’. Montsame

Czech Aid Introduces New Chimney Technology To Mongolia: In an effort to help reduce air pollution and energy loss, the Embassy of the Czech Republic worked with People In Need and Economy Energy Khiits Co. Ltd to introduce new, locally produced Czech bokra (chimney) technology to 348 households, also providing carbon monoxide detectors to them in Ulaanbaatar. The project was funded by the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was part of the Czech official development assistance. People in Need 

EBRD and Green Climate Fund (GCF) boost climate financing for Mongolia: The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Green Climate Fund (GCF) plan to make climate financing available for climate mitigation and resilience projects in Mongolia. Smaller firms in Mongolia will benefit from new opportunities to make their businesses more energy efficient and productive thanks to a USD 4 million loan provided by the EBRD and GCF to XacLeasin. The loan is being made available under the EBRD’s Green Economy Financing Facility (GEFF) in Mongolia and blends USD 1 million of GCF concessional finance with USD 3 million of EBRD finance. EBRD  

UNDP Mongolia organizes training on Business and Human Rights: UNDP Mongolia will further assist the Government of Mongolia in development of the National Action Plan through technical advices, development policies, due diligence processes, and potential remedies for businesses and supporting civil society organizations and human rights defenders to improve accountability and to promote sustainable future. UNDP acknowledged the partnership with the European Union on the Business and Human Rights initiative in the Asia-Pacific region and the European Union is ready to share experiences and contribute to the process. UNDP

Political and internal developments

Cabinet session update: The Cabinet decided to expand the 50% discount on night time electricity program to include some province centres, soums, and other residential areas. AmCham

Local elections: A total of 17,161 candidates will be running for 8,169 seats at local councils nationwide. The General Election Commission reported that the upcoming elections will proceed with a new process, with province, capital, soum, and district candidate lists on one ballot. Voters will be asked to select candidates from two races on the ballot, one for province and capital khural seats, and one for soum and district seats. Montsame

Foreign Policy

Foreign Minister visited Russia between 20-22 September: During his first foreign trip, the Foreign Minister held talks with his Russian counterpart on a wide range of issues concerning bilateral relations and cooperation, and met with officials from the Russian legislative body, government ministries and Eurasian Economic Commission. Montsame Russian FM Sergey Lavrov accepted the invitation to visit Mongolia. News

Foreign Minister Enkhtaivan meets State Duma Deputy Chairman: The Minister put forth a proposal to establish a new cooperation mechanism involving parliamentary groups, government organizations and business entities with an aim of deepening the comprehensive strategic partnership of Mongolia and Russia. Montsame

Study on possibilities to establish Free Trade Agreement with Eurasian Economic Commission launches: During his visit to Russia, Foreign Minister N.Enkhtaivan emphasized Mongolia’s eagerness to deepen its trade, economic and investment cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Commission member states. The Minister put forward a request to expand collaboration of bilateral professional organizations such as specialized inspection agencies and veterinary hospitals and to strengthen ties between business entities and entrepreneurs. Montsame 

President Battulga addressed the General Debate of 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Full speech available on Montsame.

Friends in Defence of Democracy: Foreign ministers and their representatives from Georgia, Liberia, Mongolia, Portugal, Sweden, Tunisia and Uruguay have come together in the margins of the UN General Assembly to mark the beginning of a new partnership, the Friends in Defence of Democracy. The Friends in Defence of Democracy will collaborate with a view to manifesting our commitment to democracy and to stepping up our efforts to protect democracy, its principles, processes, institutions and defenders. Government of Sweden

Chinese ambassador rejects former Mongolian president’s remarks on bilingual education saying that his views in the letter are completely wrong and China won't accept them. "The national common language is a symbol of a country's sovereignty, and it is the right and duty of every citizen to learn and use the common language, which is true not only for China, but also for all countries in the world," said Chai Wenrui, the ambassador to Mongolia, adding that he hopes that Elbegdorj (former President) can respect China's sovereignty. Global Times

Economy

Mongolia and China sign a memorandum to keep coal export at 50 million tons a year: The Ministry of Mining and Heavy Industry reported that during the recent official visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of China, the sides signed a memorandum of understanding to export an annual 50 million tons of coal to China. AmCham

The National Statistics Office (NSO) released data releases data on COVID-19 and the economy: Trade with China accounted for 55.8% of all trade turnover. Total trade turnover reached USD 7.9 billion, 16.3% lower compared to the same period in 2019. The drop was mainly affected by a USD 1.6 billion decrease in exports to China, and a decrease of USD 93 million in imports from China. China purchased 70.7% of all exports, mostly coal and copper concentrate. AmCham

Central Bank targets a 6% inflation rate starting from 2021. Before the pandemic, the inflation rate was at 8%. Due to the pandemic, the inflation rate has dropped to 2%. AmCham

Fitch assigns Mongolia's proposed USD bond a 'B' rating: Mongolia's government is cooperating with HSBC, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley, and Nomura to introduce the new bond on the international market. Proceeds from the proposed bond will be used to refinance bonds maturing in 2021 and 2022 through a cash tender offer. Next year, the Government of Mongolia is scheduled to repay the USD 500 million Mazaalai bond debt. Mazaalai bond yields had risen sharply, by more than 13%. The Khuraldai bond's rating is also stable, which is due in 2024. Fitch Ratings  

Getting Mongolia off the grey list: FATF to visit Ulaanbaatar: Delegates from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) will visit Mongolia in October for evaluating the implementation of the specific tasks given to Ulaanbaatar for getting off the Grey list. In October 2019, the FATF added Mongolia to its grey list of nations failing to combat money laundering. Mongolia has since made a high-level political commitment to work with the FATF and continues to take significant steps towards strengthening the effectiveness of its AML/CFT regime. News

IMF gives nudge on returning to sustainable spending and preparing for maturing debts: Relaying that IMF stands ready to continue to help Mongolia fulfil its outstanding economic potential and improve living standards for all Mongolians, IMF encourages the authorities to address the incomplete reform agenda from the last IMF-supported program by reducing deficits, building foreign exchange reserves, and strengthening the banking system. Government spending has now risen almost 70% in two years. IMF would encourage the government to return to more sustainable spending levels as the pandemic recedes. The UB Post  

Tavantolgoi-Gashuunsukhait and Tavantolgoi-Zuunbayan railroads to be connected: The necessary estimated funding will be provided by Erdenes-Tavantolgoi company. It is estimated that the exploitation of coal, copper, coal, tungsten, zinc and fluorspar deposits of Tavantolgoi, Tsagaansuvarga, Aduunchuluun, Chandgana, Talbulag, and Khuut will increase annual exports to around 50 million tons and rail freight volume 3.5-fold. Montsame

China port handled over 5,000 China-Europe freight trains since 2014: With regular COVID-19 prevention and control measures in place and amid the resumption of work and production, the daily number of China-Europe cargo trains passing through the port has increased from an average of two in March to seven now, said Zhang. Erenhot Port is the largest land port on the border between China and Mongolia, and there are 42 China-Europe freight train routes passing through the port. Xinhua 

Commentary

Mongolia’s E-Governance Quest:  The coronavirus pandemic gave an advantage to the Mongolian government in implementing long-overdue digital governance practices. Mongolia’s implementation of e-governance services, known as “E-Mongolia,” will enhance public services, maximize efficiency, and most importantly, diminishing the deep-rooted bureaucracy and nepotism that have been impeding government services for some time. In 2019, the government of Mongolia passed resolution No. 73, the “National Policy on E-Governance.” The main objective of the policy framework was to enhance the already-existing e-governance structure on a legislative and a practical level. The policy aims to utilize cyberspace, information technology, and innovation to expedite government services to reduce backlogs and eliminate government agency bureaucracy. In adopting e-governance services, Mongolian policymakers looked to Estonia. The Diplomat

Friends in Defence of Democracy? by Julian Dierkes: Throughout the past 30 years of democratic foreign policy, Mongolia has been a multi-lateral joiner, i.e. eager to participate in international initiatives that raise its profile, in particular aimed at deepening relationships with “Third Neighbours”. Now, there is another club that Mongolia is not only joining, but appears to have co-founded, “Friends in Defence of Democracy”.  Pres. Battulga has taken no such actions to bolster democracy, he barely pays lip service to its ideals. This even though he was nominated for the presidency by the Democratic Party. His own foreign policy interests clearly lie in Russia, he does not appear to enjoy travel and has generally focused his attention on relations with Russia and China. Yet, the announcement of a partnership of “Friends in Defence of Democracy” suggests that there continues to be some strong support for Mongolia’s participation in multilateral efforts at shoring up democracy at a time when it seems globally under threat. Mongolia Focus  

Behind Mongolia’s COVID-19 success is a story of lost livelihoods: The restrictions have led to significant socio-economic impacts and increased vulnerability among poor households. The World Bank’s Household Response Survey revealed the impact on the country’s poorest families in stark terms: nearly half of poor respondents had been uncertain about their ability to obtain food in the previous 30 days due to lack of money or rising prices. The report revealed that 12% of households experienced job losses, and 7% of households had to close their non-farm business. Reliefweb

Mongolia might be Xi’s next target: Late last month, Beijing introduced changes to school curricula in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, requiring certain subjects to be taught in Mandarin rather than Mongolian. What is Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) seeking to gain from sending this message of pernicious intent? It is possible that he is attempting cultural genocide in Inner Mongolia, but does Xi also have the same plan for the democratic, independent nation of Mongolia? taipeitimes

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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