Delegation of the European Union to Mongolia

MONGOLIA – Weekly press review 9 November 2020

09/11/2020 - 07:57
MONGOLIA – Weekly press review 25 October 2021

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 368 and the total number of recovered patients reached 317 on 9 November. Worldometers

Charter flights to be organized in November: Seoul:  12, 13, 18, 20, 27 November; Tokyo: 11, 25 November; Frankfurt: 19 November. Montsame  

Public celebration for New Year’s holiday banned, including corporate events due to the possible high risk of COVID-19 spread. However, businesses and services can maintain normal operations. Montsame  

WHO releases documentary on Mongolia's COVID-19 response: A documentary "Sharing COVID-19 experiences: The Mongolian response" on Mongolia's experience in containing COVID-19 is now available on the official YouTube  channel of the World Health Organization. Montsame

EU - Mongolia    

EuroChamber ‘Logistics & Connectivity with Europe’ Event: Overall objectives of the "Logistics & Connectivity with Europe” Conference is to facilitate horizontal exchange among public and private sector stakeholders and encourage the exchange on experiences knowledge and best practices on topics related to Connectivity with Europe – an integral part of export development and promotion. Date: Wednesday 18 November 2020, 12:30 - 18:30 at Tuushin Best Western Hotel Soyombo Hall. Register here

Mongolia-France economic cooperation discussed: Deputy Prime Minister Ya. Sodbaatar received the Ambassador of France. The sides discussed the project 'Establishment of a unit responsible for emergency air rescue operations at NEMA and distribution of helicopter and firefighting vehicles" has been resolved to be carried out with soft loan of EUR 57.9 million to be granted by the French Government. The launch of the project has been delayed due to the pandemic. Montsame

Mongolia-France business meeting held virtually: The 55th diplomatic anniversary between Mongolia and France is being marked this year. On the occasion of the anniversary, Mongolia-France business meeting was co-organized virtually by the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Mongolia-France Business Council under the Movement of the Enterprises of France (MEDEF) on November 5. Montsame  

Ulaanbaatar Mayor meets French Ambassador: Ambassador Philippe Merlin relayed the French SUEZ company’s request to cooperate in creating Ulaanbaatar Water Database and improving waste management. The sides exchanged views on improving availability and accessibility of public transport and reducing traffic congestion in Ulaanbaatar and organizing a virtual meeting on urban development and public housing with French organizations. Montsame

Germany provides financial support of approximately EUR 50,000 to the ‘National Center for Maternal and Child Health of Mongolia’ for ensuring COVID-19 prevention and preparedness. With this donation, the NCMCH will purchase urgently needed consumables, such as protective face masks and personal protective equipment and sanitizing and disinfecting devices. Montsame   

Political and Internal Developments

Parliament session update: Minister of Finance Ch. Khurelbaatar said that in the draft of the 2021 State Budget, total expenditure is projected to decrease by MNT 625.9 billion from the amended 2020 budget to be set at MNT 13.9 trillion. During its meeting on November 3, the Standing Committee on Justice discussed the appointment of a new member of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). The law on the National Human Rights Commission was adopted on January 23, 2020. The law stipulates that NHRC membership must reach 40% representation of each gender. The law regulates the appointment and selection process for NHRC members. There are six candidates for three spots on the NHRC. AmCham

Wrestling Legend Pledges to Fight UB’s Notorious Pollution and Traffic: The overwhelming majority of the Ulaanbaatar city assembly elected MP Sumiyabazar Dolgorsuren as Mayor of Ulaanbaatar. Ditching his parliamentary seat to become the city mayor raised eyebrows in some quarters. Yet Sumiyabazar has grown to become a seasoned politician over the past decade. His move to the city may be part of a long term plan to return to national politics, but this time with higher ambitions. Mongolia Weekly

Foreign Policy

Universal Periodical Review of Mongolia took place on 4 November 2020. The statements delivered are available here.

UN resolution on Mongolia’s international security and nuclear-weapon-free status adopted: A draft resolution on Mongolia’s International Security and Nuclear-Weapon-Free Status was adopted on November 3 at the meeting of the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) of the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. Since 1998, the resolution has been biennially approved by the UN General Assembly. Montsame  

‘Selenge-2020’ Mongolia-Russia joint military exercise wraps up: The final stage of the Mongolia –Russia ‘Selenge-2020’ joint tactical exercise took place at the Burduny training site in the Republic of Buryatia on October 28-31. Montsame

Joint working group on advancing trilateral economic corridor finalised the joint statement on the commencement of the feasibility study for Renovation of Central Railway Corridor of Mongolia-Russia-China Economic Corridor. Montsame

U.S.-Mongolia launch Child Protection Compact (CPC) Partnership: Implementation of this historic partnership will strengthen the efforts of the Mongolian government and civil society to fight all forms of child trafficking in Mongolia. US Embassy

Mongolia and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a loan agreement worth JPY25 billion within the framework of the COVID-19 Crisis Response Emergency Support Loan. It is budget support for the COVID-19 response being implemented by the Government of Mongolia. JICA  

Economy

The Ministry of Energy has opened bids for a new 10 megawatt solar plant in Govi-Altai: The project is being financed by the Asian Development Bank as part of the Mongolia Upscaling Renewable Energy Sector Project. Ageing coal fired power plants account for 93% of total electricity generation, creating shortages in winter when demand rises. However, Mongolia’s potential for wind and solar power stands at a massive 2600 gigawatts per year (the country currently uses just 1.2 gigawatts). If fully realised, clean energy from Mongolia could power northeast Asia – a strong reason why the sector is seen as a key growth area in coming decades. Mongolia Weekly  

Altanbulag Free Trade Zone closed for indefinite period: The decision was made as a precautionary measure in regard to COVID-19 cases recorded in the neighboring Kyakhta region of the Republic of Buryatia, Russia, as well as increasing number of coronavirus cases that were detected from freight truck drivers arrived through Mongolia’s Altanbulag border crossing checkpoint in Selenge aimag.  Montsame

MCC plans to sue the Government of Mongolia: Ownership of the 49% stake in Erdenet Mining Corporation that was purchased from Russia by Mongolian Copper Corporation (MCC) was transferred to the Government of Mongolia more than a year ago. Following the government's possession of the 49% stake, MCC said it planned to file a lawsuit against the Government of Mongolia after the 2021 presidential election. AmCham

Commentary

Monetary Policy Guideline for 2021: The path to economic recovery by Gan-Ochir Doojav, Chief Economist, Bank of Mongolia: Declining export earnings and widening balance of payments deficits put pressure on our foreign exchange reserves. There’s also a high risk of loan defaults and deteriorating loan quality, which tightens lending terms. In response, the Bank of Mongolia is taking three main measures to maintain financial stability and alleviate the financial difficulties of borrowers. The good news is that Mongolia's partial refinancing of the $500 million Mazaalai bond, to be repaid in 2021, and the USD 1 billion Chinggis bond, to be repaid in 2022, has eased short-term external debt repayment pressures. To develop the financial sector, the Bank of Mongolia is implementing the “Medium Term Banking Sector Reform Program”. The program aims to build a banking sector with a high risk bearing capacity that can continue to provide financial intermediation at a low cost. Mongolia Weekly

China and Russia urge Mongolia to join their security pact: Mongolia’s Foreign Minister N.Enkhtaivan told journalists that Russia and China are both putting pressure on Mongolia to apply for full membership. “Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi proposed that Mongolia should join,” Enkhtaivan said. “During my official visit to Russia, this issue was suggested during a meeting with [Russian Foreign Minister] Sergei Lavrov.”Enkhtaivan then cited President Battulga’s position that Mongolia will continue to ‘study’ the possibility. Back in June, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov told the TASS news agency that Russia would ‘certainly support’ Mongolia if it wanted to join. However, there are reasons why Mongolia may not want to. First, Mongolia’s relations with China are ‘tense’ over the issue of language education in Inner Mongolia. Second, the SCO is also seen as a way to counter the influence of the US, possibly through a new monetary system to counter the global importance of the American dollar. Mongolia Weekly 

Joe Biden has won the US election. So what does that mean for Mongolia?: The short answer is, not much. US relations with Mongolia will likely continue on their current trajectory. The US will continue to be a part of Mongolia’s Third Neighbour policy, and the Third Neighbour Trade Act, which would allow tax-free imports of Mongolian cashmere and textiles, is still in play. One of the biggest differences between Biden and Trump is their approach to climate change. Biden is more likely to put more pressure on coal-exporting countries to lower their emissions. He’s pledged to re-join the Paris agreement ‘on day one’ of his presidency. And Biden has previously referred to Mongolia’s coal as the ‘dirtiest in the world’ in a reference to Chinese trade practices that he said he would confront. If his administration does pressure Mongolia over its coal exports to China, it should quickly pass the Third Neighbour act and invest money into alternative projects in Mongolia, particularly renewable energy, to help diversify the Mongolian economy. Mongolia Weekly

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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

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