European Union External Action

MONGOLIA – Weekly press review 9 July

09/07/2021 - 11:47
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. You can subscribe or unsubscribe through the form available on our website https://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/mongolia_en

 

COVID-19

As of 9 July, total number of confirmed cases reached 134 270, the total number of recovered patients was 96 513 and total number of COVID-19 related deaths was 660. Moh (In MNG). COVID-19 interactive dashboard is available in Mongolian and English.

Vaccination: As of 9 July, 2,100,918 people have received the first dose of the vaccine and 1,787,254 people received the second dose. Ikon In MNG)

Mongolia received 30,420 doses of the Pfizer vaccine: Up to date, 285,300 doses of the total of 2.5 million Pfizer vaccines arrived in Mongolia through the agreement signed by the Government of Mongolia and Pfizer Inc. The vaccines are purchased through the grant funding of Japan. Montsame

Mongolia to start third doses of COVID vaccine in August: According to official sources, the third doses will be the AstraZeneca vaccine. The first to receive the third dose will be elderly people above 65 years of age. Then mass vaccination rollout of booster doses will start in October. News

EU - Mongolia 

EU, FAO Mongolia kick-off new initiative to create employment opportunities for youth in agribusiness: This initiative is part of the larger European Union funded technical assistance project worth EUR 7.4 million titled “SDG aligned budgeting to transform employment in Mongolia” that will be jointly implemented by the United Nations Development Program as technical lead, Food and Agriculture Organization, and the International Labour Organization. This larger project is complementary to the first-ever Budget Support Programme in Employment Reforms that the European Union has signed with the Government and implementing in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, with an EU grant of EUR 50.8 million. Montsame

National TVET E-learning trainers prepared: A Total of 31 TVET teachers from regions and Ulaanbaatar as well as methodologists from TVET Assessment, Information and Methodology participated in this certified course. Commissioned by the BMZ, the cTVET project is funded by the Governments of Germany, Australia, Korea and being implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit in close partnership with Ministry of Labour and Social Protection. Montsame

21 firetrucks to be supplied from France in August and September. Montsame

113 km of Ulaanbaatar-Darkhan highway is complete: A total of 204.11 km of roads are being built with support from Asian Development Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. News (In MNG)

Political and Internal Developments

Mongolia adopts seventh Amnesty Law to release 3.6% of all prisoners and replace of 8.9% of prison sentences with the restriction to leave the country. This is the sixth time Mongolia has adopted an amnesty law. It is not applicable to crimes related to money laundering, terrorism financing, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, tax avoidance and violent crimes, drug-related crimes, environmental crimes, sexual assaults, crimes against children, and corruption crimes. Montsame

Parliament discusses appointments of  Mongolian Ambassadors to 24 foreign countries. The President will give his approval before their appointments are approved in parliament. News

On July 7, the Cabinet meeting discussed the draft law on amendments to the Law on Free Zone and decided to submit it to the Parliament. New ‘Regulations on the residence and registration of foreign nationals in Mongolia’ and ‘Regulations on foreign nationals’ deportation, cancellation of deportation and re-entry date to Mongolia’ were approved at the Cabinet meeting. Montsame

Development for Zamiin-Uud free zone to be intensified: The cabinet held a regular meeting and decided to allocate over MNT 1 billion (EUR 3 million) from the government’s contingency fund for the power plant and testing and configuration of sewerage facilities to be built within the framework of the Zamiin-Uud infrastructure improvement project. Prime Minister ordered to open the Zamiin-Uud free economic zone development for continuous operation by this summer despite its initial schedule for completion in 2026. Montsame

Foreign Policy

New Mongolian visa procedure approved allowing online issuance: During its regular session, Cabinet approved a new visa issuance procedure, which will allow citizens from 31 countries to apply for a visa online. For example ‘K4’ visa to be issued for foreign nationals arriving in Mongolia to make films. Montsame Zasag (In MNG)

National Climate Change Committee convenes to discuss action plan for Nationally Determined Contribution: In 2016, Mongolia ratified the Paris Agreement and the mitigation target has been set to 22.7% in total national greenhouse emissions. Works to develop the action plan were carried and the plan includes 72 measures to be taken for improving the legal framework, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and increasing its absorption. Montsame

National Dialogue on Sustainable Food Systems in Mongolia held: The Government of Mongolia and the United Nations jointly convened the dialogue bringing together key players in the food systems in Mongolia, the Dialogue facilitated an open discussion on what it takes for Mongolia to sustainably transform its food systems that will accelerate a progress towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Government of Mongolia will present the final outcomes of the National Dialogue on Food Systems to the UN Food Systems Summit in September. Montsame

Mongolia, Hong Kong to cooperate: The sides concurred to work with Southeast Asian countries to boost trade, investment and business through active participation in regional integration within the Belt and Road Initiative. Moreover, the Secretary invited Mongolian side to participate in the Belt and Road 2021 International Trade and Investment Forum in September. Montsame

Deputy Foreign Minister holds virtual meeting with the Ambassadors of Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany and the UK. The Ambassadors praised Mongolia's contribution to UN peacekeeping operations, and the sides exchanged views on the principles of UN peacekeeping operations, including the Vancouver Principles on the Prevention of the Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers. Montsame

Vice-Chairwoman S.Odontuya represents Mongolian Parliament at OSCE PA meeting on Economic Affairs, Science, Technology and Environment. Montsame

2021 session of OSCE Parliamentary Assembly concludes with election of new president: The Head of the Delegation to the OSCE PA Mr. Tsogtbaatar Damdin, MP and its members Ms. Odontuya Saldan, Vice-Chairwoman of the Parliament of Mongolia and Mr. Uchral Nyam-Osor, MP, Chair of the Standing Committee on Innovation and Digital Policy attended the session representing the Mongolian Parliament. Montsame

Mongolia to hold Int'l Conference on Mine Closure: The 14th International Conference on Mine Closure will be held in Mongolia's capital on 17-19 August, for the first time in Asia. Xinhua

Exporters of non-mining products to receive financial support: Export Development Project is being implemented with funding support from the World Bank. As part of the project aligned with the government’s plan to diversify the country’s mining-dependent economy, export-oriented companies and business clusters that meet certain criteria will receive financial support worth USD 50 to 100 000. Montsame

Economy

Mongolia’s June coal exports plunge to 650,000 tonnes: For June, Mongolia’s exports of coal for all utilisation slumped by 50.6% on month or down 72.4% on year to around 650,000 tonnes. Mongolia’s total coal exports for the first half of 2021, still grew 7.3% on year to 9.3 million tonnes with 94.7% to China, tough the on-year growth rate was far lower than the 37.3% for the first five months because of the tumble in June. MySteel

Bank of Mongolia purchases 2.3 tons of precious metal: total amount of precious metal purchase has reached 9.3 tons since the beginning of this year, showing a decrease of 1.5 tons compared to the same period of previous year. The average price of BoM’s purchase of 1 gram of gold was MNT 167,924.18 (EUR 49.7) in last month. Montsame

Securities registration related package procedure approved: The Securities Registration Procedure and Company Debt Instrument Registration Procedure were discussed and approved. Adoption of this set of two regulations will improve the functions, responsibilities, and information transparency of listed securities issuers; between trading entities and government regulators. It will also eliminate duplication of company shares and debt instruments. In particular, it is an important policy measure, to support the development of the securities market and ensure its stability, efficiency and transparency. Montsame

SBI invests in AI-powered micro lender serving Mongolia: SBI took part in the startup's USD 15.3 million private placement round. AND Global, founded in 2017, operates a development hub in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar. Its microfinancing app has roughly 930,000 registered users in the country, equivalent to about 30% of the total population, tapping rising demand for smartphone-based financing over more conventional options like credit cards. Asia Nikkei

Balance of payments surplus projected at 580 million USD this year following a surplus of USD 170 million in Q1 2021. Mongolia's balance of payments surplus reached USD 1.259 million in the fourth quarter of 2020, an improvement of USD 1.071 million from the same period in 2019. Overall, the balance of payments saw a surplus of USD 787 million in 2020. Official foreign currency reserves reached a record high of USD 4.9 billion in April 2021, enough to cover 11 months of imports. News (In MNG)

Commentary

Could improved railway connectivity to Russia be the answer to the Tianjin container crisis? For the past several months Mongolia’s trade has been strongly affected by delays in container shipments from China. This includes transit goods originating in Europe. The crisis culminated with attempts by Cosco to appoint an exclusive agent to represent its business interests in Mongolia. Prior to the appointment attempts of an exclusive agent to Mongolia, local freight forwarders were able to receive containers directly from Cosco. Now they will have to go through the locally appointed exclusive agent. The result is increased delivery and clearance times, plus extra costs that can be already felt by Mongolian manufacturers and the general public. Preliminary results of a joint survey conducted at the end of June 2021 by the EuroChamber Mongolia and the Federation of the Mongolian Freight Forwarders show 14.3% of the participants experienced revenue decrease of 10-25%, compared to the previous year. The results also show that international shipments incurred significant delays, with 20% of the participants experiencing schedule delays of 10% or less, while a 13.3% of saying they experienced far more significant delays of 50-75%. Orgil Gansukh, Chairman of the Board at Mongolian Freight Forwarders Federation said: “the unified logistics terminal concept needs urgent and focused attention from all of us. Businesses need to identify capital raising while the Government needs to collaborate for a long-term mutual goal.” According to Batbold Sandagdorj, State Secretary in the Ministry of Road, Transportation Development, one way to diversify freight forwarding is to develop the Mongolian railway transport system and its connections to Russia. Feasibility study of Western part of the country’s vertical railway is being developed and several other lines connecting both to the north and south have been identified or planned.”  EuroChamber Mongolia sent an official request to the Ministry of Road and Transport Development. The letter calls the Mongolian Government to improve the regulatory framework and ease the restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Montsame

Mongolian Mining's Rating Headroom Tightens on Further Border Disruptions: Mongolian Mining Corporation's (MMC; B/Stable) rating headroom has tightened due to ongoing disruptions of throughput at the Chinese-Mongolian border as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Should border disruptions persist through August, however, the company's credit metrics could weaken to the point where we may take rating action. MMC has considerable operational flexibility, which should allow it to reduce monthly cash burn by suspending mining and processing operations and scaling back capex to a minimum. We expect the disruptions, which continued through most of 2Q21 and prevented border throughput for most of June amid a spike in new Covid-19 cases in Mongolia, to be resolved by end-July 2021 in our base case. This would allow MMC to resume normal operations and coal exports in early August, making up for some of the volume lost in 1H21. We forecast this would lead to 2021 export volume at least 20% below 2020 volume. The macroeconomic environment also remains supportive on the back of robust coal prices amid strong demand for coal from Chinese steel mills in northern China, MMC's key market. Fitch Ratings

Some nations using China’s vaccines are battling outbreaks. So do they work? Earlier this year, life beyond COVID shutdowns looked closer than ever for Mongolia. Mongolia was one of the most vaccinated countries in the world, having secured large stores of China’s Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines. However, by June, Mongolia was battling some of the world’s worst COVID outbreaks. So are the vaccines failing? Since late 2020, China has exported hundreds of millions of doses of its Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines to at least 70 countries and is relying on the shots for the mammoth task of vaccinating its own 1.4 billion people. In Mongolia both deaths and caseloads have significantly spiked again. It’s mostly using Sinopharm. Data on how well Sinovac holds up to Delta has been scarce. SMH

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Prepared by Sodnomsambuu Gantuya

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