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MONGOLIA – Weekly press review 24 May 2021

24/05/2021 - 12:17
Mongolia – Weekly press review

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COVID-19

As of 24 May, total number of confirmed cases reached 53 100, the total number of recovered patients was 44 744 and total number of COVID-19 related deaths was 266. Ikon (In MNG).  COVID-19 interactive dashboard is available in Mongolian and English.

Vaccination: As of 23 May, 1.83 million people have received the first dose of the vaccine and 773 940 people received the second dose. Ikon (In MNG)

More businesses resume, shopping centers and markets reopen 22 May: The businesses reopening can serve only customers who received the second dose of COVID-19 vaccines at least 14 days earlier or those who had already recovered from COVID-19. The proof of vaccination is available on E-Mongolia, the government’s digital service platform.  Montsame

Inter-city traffic movement opened to rest of the country with the exception of Umnugobi and Dornogobi aimags starting from May 22. Fully vaccinated citizens will be allowed to participate in inter-city traffic movement 14 days after receiving their second shot of a COVID-19 vaccine. Those who have recovered from COVID-19 in the last 4 months will also be able to freely travel with a medical certificate. As for those who have yet to become fully vaccinated or have reasonable excuses, a PCR test is required to be taken 72 hours prior to travel. Montsame

20 charter flights scheduled for June to countries namely South Korea, Japan, Hungary, Turkey, Germany, Russia and Kazakhstan. Citizens, who want to buy ticket, should directly contact the aviation companies. Montsame

Travel notice for passengers arriving in Mongolia during COVID-19: Nationals and permanent residents of Mongolia and foreign nationals of the countries/regions stated in the official Visa Exemption List of Mongolia, which can be found here, are allowed to enter from 10 May 2021. All passengers are required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test, which must be taken within 72 hours before departure of the first embarkation point. Persons who are not fully vaccinated will be quarantined at designated facilities for 7 days. Montsame Consular Department MFA

EU - Mongolia 

Meeting held with Chair of the European Parliament Delegation for Central Asia and Mongolia The two sides noted the expanding cooperation and relationship between Mongolia and the European Union and exchanged views about future cooperation, the establishment of an EU-Mongolian Committee in the European Parliament and the organization of the annual inter-parliamentary consultation meeting. Ambassador T. Hristea noted that the cooperation between the EU and Mongolia has been actively expanding in many fields over the past years and underlined that the EU multi-annual indicative programme for Mongolia for the year of 2021-2027 would continue with at the same level of commitment from the EU in line with Mongolia’s long-term development policy Vision 2050. Montsame

EU-funded initiative helping SMEs mitigate coronavirus impact: Under the framework of the European Union funded “Support for Mongolia Economic Diversification through SME Access to Finance” programme, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development launched the initiative “COVID-19 Crisis Response - Provision of Emergency Legal Advice to SMEs in Mongolia” to enable Mongolian small and medium sized enterprises to mitigate the deepening impact of the coronavirus pandemic. This initiative organized a series of webinars, implemented in collaboration with SME Agency, Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry and law firm - KhanLex Partners. Montsame

Ambassador to France exchanged views on exporting Mongolian bio food products to France: The Embassy of Mongolia to France organized a meeting to discuss and exchange views on the import of bio and natural food products from Mongolia. Montsame

Hungary Concludes Travel Agreements with Mongolia: Hungary has concluded agreements on unimpeded travel with Mongolia, to allow Hungarians holding immunity certificates to travel into those countries without having to isolate or show negative Covid test results. Mongolian immunity certificates will be accepted in Hungary. Hungary Today

EBRD Mongolia hosted dialogue on creating supportive environment for women entrepreneurship in Mongolia: The EBRD’s Women of the Steppe Programme in Central Asia is helping  promote women’s entrepreneurship and business activity by assisting with access to finance, know-how and technical advice. the EBRD office in Mongolia in collaboration with the Bank’s Gender and Inclusion Department and the National Committee on Gender Equality hosted a webinar on “Central Asian Women in Business Programme”. The webinar provided a platform for the first joint public-private dialogue on creating supportive environment for women entrepreneurship and economic empowerment in Mongolia. Montsame

How can proper home insulation benefit you and your family? Recent monitoring by the EU funded Switch Off Air Pollution (SOAP) project team found that fully insulated households use 2.5 times less fuel than uninsulated households. These savings are significant as they would allow families to reinvest in their homes or children. The SOAP project conducts winter monitoring among ger district households in Ulaanbaatar to measure heat loss and to raise awareness on the importance of proper insulation. The monitoring found a significant reduction in the number of times insulated households had to light fires in their stove per day. As well, the report shows that the daily fuel consumption and expenditure on fuel was reduced by 50%. Then they started using the money saved for other necessities, including food. Montsame

Invitation: The Delegation of European Union to Mongolia and the diplomatic missions of the European Union Member States will organize an online European Classical Music Concert 17:00 on Friday, 28 May 2021. The concert will present compositions by famous composers from the following Member States of the European Union: Belgium, Czechia, Ireland, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Slovenia and Sweden. We cordially invite all lovers of classical music and culture to join the live broadcast on official YouTube channel and Facebook pages of the EU Delegation @EUinMongolia, as well as EDU TV.

Announcement: Deadline extension for Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters. The new date is 17 June 17:00 CET. Click here for more info.

Political and Internal Developments    

Presidential election campaign starts today: The election day is on 9 June 2021. The General Election Commission handed over the mandates to the candidates. There are three candidates: from Mongolian People’s Party Khurelsukh Ukhnaa, from Democratic Party Erdene Sodnomzundui, and from Right Person Electorate Coalition (Labour Party) Enkhbat Dangaasuren. Ikon (In MNG)

Mongolia to count ballots of presidential election by hand: The General Election Commission has officially registered three politicians as presidential candidates, namely Ukhnaa Khurelsukh, chairman of the ruling Mongolian People's Party, Sodnomzundui Erdene, former chairman of the opposition Democratic Party, and Dangaasuren Enkhbat, a former legislator. Xinhua

Mongolia to intensify efforts to reduce traffic congestion in capital: Prime Minister Oyun-Erdene has ordered the Ministry of Finance to spend at least MNT 420 billion (EUR 120.4 million) annually in 2022-2024 to reduce traffic congestion in the capital. It was estimated that residents of the city spend an average of 2.5 hours a day stuck in traffic. Xinhua

Human Rights Commission, Statistics Office to work on human rights-based approach to data development: Within the framework of this cooperation, both organizations will work on evaluating the implementation of human rights, the implementation of the recommendations of international human rights mechanisms, evaluating the implementation of international human rights treaties, and developing a human rights-based approach to data. Montsame

Foreign Policy

Embassy of Israel in China, Israel’s MASHAV donate PPE of USD 20 000 to Mongolia: This year Mongolia and Israel are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations and the humanitarian assistance from Israel is an expression of the friendly relations between the two countries. Montsame

Discussion held with China to expedite the border crossing process: The sides exchanged views on increasing the turnover of vehicles being processed at Zamyn-Uud Port, and agreed to cooperate and form an intergovernmental commission to develop a free-trade zone at the border. Government

MPs B.Battumur and J.Chinburen participated in the IPU Standing Committee meeting: MP B.Battumur participated in the Standing Committee on Peace and International Security representing the Mongolian parliament. More than 50 IPU member delegates have debated on a draft resolution ‘Parliamentary strategies to strengthen peace and security against climate-related disasters, their consequences and crisis’. MP J.Chiburen participated in IPU Standing Committee virtual conference which was held under the theme ‘’ Mainstreaming digitalization and the circular economy to achieve the SDGs, particularly responsible consumption and production". Montsame Montsame

MPs participate in the RSIS-WTO Virtual Parliamentarian Workshop 2021: MPs Kh.Bulgantuya and D.Tsogtbaatar have participated in the Asia-Pacific parliamentarians virtual workshop on International Trade. The workshop is intended to increase the capacity of regional legaslators to engage in international trade issues that includes a deeper understanding of the World Trade Organization and negotiation issues in international trade. Montsame

Economy

GDP grows by 15.7% in Q1 2021 year-on-year: GDP contracted by 10.7% in Q1 last year, when the COVID-19 pandemic began, explaining the high growth rate in Q1. Economic growth was mainly driven by growth in the mining and quarrying sector. Value added in the mining sector increased by 34.1% during the reporting period, mainly due to a 53% increase in coal production, a 49.5% increase in iron ore, a threefold increase in oil production, and an 11.3% increase in copper concentrate production. The Central Bank expects the mining sector to grow by 35-36%in the first and second quarters of this year. GDP was also projected to grow by 7-8%. Bloomberg (In MNG)

State budget expenditures and loan repayments increased by 48.6% in Q1 2021: The state’s balanced budget showed a deficit of MNT 490.4 billion (EUR 141.2 million), decreasing by 23.8% compared to the same period in 2020. State budget revenues and expenditures increased year-on-year. Budget revenue increased by 66.1% compared to the same period last year, reaching MNT 4.4 trillion (EUR 1.27 billion). Tax revenue accounted for 78% of budget revenue, a roughly 54.3% increase compared to the same period in 2020. Bloomberg

Mongolia plans to reduce government debt to 44.1% of GDP: At the end of 2020, government debt reached MNT 27.8 trillion (EUR 7.97 billion), increasing by 16.6% from 2019, equivalent to 62.3% of GDP. Last year, the state’s budget deficit exceeded MNT 4.5 trillion (EUR 1.29 billion), reaching a record high. In 2020, foreign debt accounted for 89.1% (24.8 trillion MNT) of government debt. Bloomberg (In MNG)

Inflation rate reaches 5.6% in April: In April 2021, the prices of consumer goods and services increased by 2.4% compared to the previous month, rising by 5.5% compared to the end of the last year, and by 5.6% compared to the same period last year. The increase was mainly attributed to food and non-alcoholic beverage price increases of 12.4% and price increases of 6.3% for electricity, gas, and other fuels. Ikon (In MNG)

Sales of industrial output rise by 81.8% in the first four months of 2021: The gross industrial output reached MNT 6.2 trillion (EUR 1.78 billion), increased by 48.2% from the same period of previous year. This increase was mainly due to MNT 1.6 trillion (EUR 458.9 million) increase in mining and quarrying gross output and MNT 370.1 billion (EUR 106.2 million) increase in manufacturing output. Montsame

Tax revenue increases by 54.3% compared to same period of previous year: In the first four months of 2021, the total revenue of the general government budget was MNT 4.9 trillion (EUR 1.4 billion). In the first four months of 2021, tax revenue reached MNT 3.8 trillion (EUR 1.1 billion), increased by 54.3% compared to the same period of previous year. Montsame

Mongolia trades with 129 countries and the total trade turnover reached USD 4.5 billion, of which USD 2.5 billion were exports and USD 2.0 billion were imports. The total foreign trade turnover increased by USD 1.5 billion (50.6%), where exports increased by USD 1.1 billion (81.8%) and imports increased by USD 374.9 million (23.6%) compared to the same period of previous year. Montsame

Commentary

Is Mongolia Heading Toward One-Party Rule? The political struggle in Mongolia is intensifying as the presidential election approaches. Eight members of the parliament went on a week-long hunger strike protest. They are protesting the ruling Mongolian People’s Party (MPP) actions using the three critical organs of state – the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, and the General Election Committee – to manipulate the June 9 presidential election process. Instead of fighting corruption within its rank, the party continues to seek ultimate power and authority – in this case, the office of the president. This significantly threatens Mongolia’s democracy, multi-party governance, and the country’s overall democratic endeavours. The MPP’s gambit to secure the president’s office began in 2019 with an amendment to the constitution, which allows the president to serve only once for a term of six years. This amendment created a divide in Mongolian society and the political realm. The future of democracy in Mongolia is confronting uncertainty. The rule of law has been overrun and the constitution has been violated several times. Not only the parliament but the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court have been acting in favour of the MPP’s ultimate interests. Looking at this issue from a broader lens, if Mongolia – the oasis of democracy between China and Russia – were to convert into a one-party dominated system, it would significantly change the geopolitical, economic, and social landscape in Northeast Asia. The Diplomat

Countries Are Scrambling for Vaccines. Mongolia Has Plenty: At a time when most countries are scrambling for coronavirus vaccines, Mongolia now has enough to fully vaccinate its entire adult population, in large part thanks to deals with both China and Russia. Officials are so confident about the nation’s vaccine riches that they are promising citizens a “Covid-free summer.” Mongolia’s success in procuring the vaccines in the span of a few months is a big victory for a low-income, developing nation. Many poor countries have been waiting in line for shots, hoping for the best. But Mongolia, using its status as a small geopolitical player between Russia and China, was able to snap up doses at a clip similar to that of much wealthier countries. It is also a win for China and Russia, which have extensive resource interests in Mongolia and ambitions to appear to play a role in ending the pandemic, even when much of the world has expressed deep skepticism over their homegrown vaccines. The New York Times

Doing Business In Mongolia – 2021: Tremendous mineral reserves, agricultural endowments, and proximity to Asia's vast markets make Mongolia an attractive destination for medium to long-term foreign direct investment (FDI). The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Mongolia is worth USD 16.20 billion in 2020. The GDP value of Mongolia represents 0.02% of the world economy. GDP in Mongolia averaged USD 4.44 billion from 1981 until 2018, reaching an all the time high of USD 13.01 billion in 2018 and a record low of USD 0.77 billion in 1993. Mongolia is persistently discussing to enter bilateral and multilateral agreements and actively participates in the process of regional integration. Till to this day, Mongolia has established Foreign Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement with 43 countries and Double Taxation treaties with 26 countries. Moreover, Mongolia is the member of the Seoul Convention establishing the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency and Washington convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes. Consequently, in April 2014, Mongolia has introduced its investment policy and the law to UN Conference on Trade and Development /UNCTAD/. Mondaq

Providing Electricity to Nomadic Herders: For nomadic families practicing traditional herding in rural Mongolia, accessing essential services remains a difficult endeavour. The nomadic form of settlement across the country’s austere terrain in the context of its challenging climate has typically rendered conventional fixed-line services—including electricity and telecommunications—impossible to deliver. However, the development of off-grid delivery mechanisms, including solar home systems (SHSs), has spurred global initiatives to bring electricity to remote populations at substantially lower costs. Traditionally, as a result of their nomadic lifestyle, Mongolian herders cannot be connected to an electricity grid. In 2000, only 25% of Mongolian herders had access to. Reach Alliance

 

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Prepared by Geser Ganbaatar

Delegation of the European Union to Mongolia

ICC Tower, 9th floor, Jamiyan Gun Street 9

1st khoroo, Sukhbaatar district, Ulaanbaatar

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