European Union External Action

MONGOLIA – Weekly press review – 2 March 2020

02/03/2020 - 09:34
Mongolia – Weekly press review

EUROPEAN UNION DELEGATION TO MONGOLIA 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.

 

Coronavirus

Government of Mongolia issued precautionary measures: As of 28 February, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in Mongolia. The Mongolian Government prohibited entry of foreign nationals who travelled to the Republic of Korea, Japan and Italy in the past 14 day, effective from 28 February; suspended all flights with South Korea and Japan until 11 March and all air travel to/from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau until 30 March. In addition, the ban on domestic travel was extended until 3 March, whereas suspension of coal and petroleum export to China was extended until 15 March. Travelers arriving from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Republic of Korea, Italy and Iran have been subject to ban of entry for foreign nationals and quarantine for Mongolians upon arrival. Flights suspended to and from Irkutsk and Ulan-Ude until 11 March.  eudelegationmongolia    nhk.or.jp    montsame   

Mongolia curbs travel across vast steppe to curb coronavirus risk: Mongolia - which has not confirmed any infections - has suspended all flights from Japan, adding to previous restrictions on flights from China and South Korea. It has also extended a travel ban on people from Japan and South Korea until 11 March. reuters

Go or No Go? US Updates Travel Advisories amid Coronavirus Outbreak: The United States on 26 February has advised against travel to Mongolia, a country that neighbors China, due to travel and transport restrictions.  The State Department has also allowed for the voluntary departure of non-emergency U.S. government employees and their family members. voanews

Economy faces coronavirus challenge: Commodity prices are falling and it is feared the Chinese economy could end the first quarter of the year with 0% growth. This is alarming for Mongolia as 90% of the country's total export last year was to China, which was also where 34% of import originated. China accounts for 50% of the global copper demand, so it is no surprise that the LME copper price is down to USD 5600-USD5700 per tonne from USD 6200. Mongolia's budget assumption was that the average copper price would be almost USD 6000/t. mongolianminingjournal

First virus-positive Mongolian dies in South Korea: A Mongolian patient, 35, died on 25 February while receiving isolated treatment for COVID-19 at a hospital in South Korea. koreaherald

Peace Corps to Evacuate Mongolia Volunteers: The Peace Corps plans to evacuate its 94 volunteers in Mongolia. There have not yet been any reported cases of coronavirus in the country, but the government has imposed severe restrictions on movement and public gatherings in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus. inquirer

 

EU – Mongolia   

Czech Republic-Mongolia Air Services Agreement Enters into Force: The Czech Official Gazette announced the entry into force of the air services agreement with Mongolia, signed May 25, 2017. bloombergtax

Agriculture Minister meets Ambassador of France Philippe Merlin: The sides shared views on issues such as ‘Animal Identification and Registration System Development’ project and micro loan project being carried out within the Mongolia-France Intergovernmental Agreement on exploiting capitals from food aid fund of France. montsame

Ambassador to Sweden presents his credentials: On 20 February, Ambassador of Mongolia to the Kingdom of Sweden Janabazar Tuvdendorj presented his letter of credence to King of Sweden Carl XVI Gustaf. montsame   president mn

Political and internal developments

Rio Tinto takes Mongolia mine tax fight to UN panel: In a sign of further friction between Rio Tinto and the Mongolian government over the Oyu Tolgoi mine, the company said it had initiated a formal request with the UN Commission on International Trade Law relating to USD 155 million in disputed taxes that Mongolia believes Rio's subsidiaries should have paid between 2013 and 2015. Rio Tinto PLC said its annual net profit fell 41%, reflecting write-downs of a major copper investment in Mongolia and an Australian alumina refinery while gains on asset sales in 2018 weren’t repeated. smh.com.au

Accelerating EITI Adoption: Mongolia joined the EITI in 2007 and since 2010 has been EITI-compliant. It is one of five countries that achieved satisfactory progress with the EITI Standard in 2018. The country seeks to strengthen its regulatory and institutional development, while improving transparency and accountability, in a bid to create greater trust in government stewardship of the country’s resources. worldbank

Foreign Policy

Mongolia donates 30 thousand sheep to China to help with coronavirus; Xi says China, Mongolia help each other in face of difficulties; Mongolian President Placed Under Quarantine After Returning From China: Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Mongolian President Battulga Khaltmaa in Beijing on 27 February. Hailing Battulga as the first foreign head of state to visit China since the outbreak, Xi said the special visit by Battulga to express consolations and support to China fully embodies the high attention he pays to the China-Mongolia ties and the profound friendship between the two countries. xinhuanet    president mn  nytimes   

Economy

Coal and petroleum export to resume from 15 March: On 28 February, the Cabinet adopted a resolution on supporting the economy of Mongolia in the period of heightened state of readiness for prevention of coronavirus infection. The resolution reflects to resume export of coal, petroleum and other minerals from 15 March. It regulates that the drivers, who fully ensured disinfection, quarantine and hygiene requirements should crossed out the border, transporting coal, petroleum and minerals and come back within the day. montsame

Research Announcement: Moody's - Reform commitments and backing from creditors key to managing Mongolia’s upcoming debt obligations: Moody's Investors Service says in a new report that the pressure on Mongolia's (B3 stable) credit profile will rise from 2021, as bonds worth USD 2.3 billion mature during 2021 – 2023. The country's ability to contain risks hinges on continued support from international creditors. moodys

‘The Poland of Northeast Asia’: Mongolia’s Lithium Frontier:   With confirmed reserves of at least 203,000 tonnes of lithium, Mongolia is among the world’s most significant prospective sources of the rare-earth mineral. Confirmed lithium deposits are largely concentrated in south-eastern Mongolia, closer to Chinese projects like Baotou in Inner Mongolia. Surveying is ongoing in western salt lakes, like Hyargas Noor, where Mongolia also harbours deposits of uranium. canadiandimension

ADB to Help Modernize Vegetable Production, Irrigation in Mongolia: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved USD 40 million in loans to support the modernization of government-owned irrigation networks and vegetable production in Mongolia. Specifically, the project will upgrade, modernize, and climate-proof 12 selected schemes along with directly associated infrastructure to provide irrigation services for 7,000 hectares of land. adb.org           

Commentary

Third Neighbour Policy on Mongolia-Japan Relationship - Editorial: Mongolia-Japan relation is a classic example of the continuity and expansion of Mongolia’s foreign policy, during the entire presidency, the MPs and governments of our country. Over the last two years, with a turning point in bilateral relations, the Government of Japan has announced a policy to support Mongolia’s democracy and reforms in bilateral relations and internationally in 1991. official gazette

The Middle Class Drain by Jargal De Facto: In   the   last   ten   years,   the   number   of   permanent   residents abroad was the lowest at 6768 in 2015 and the highest at 19470 in 2019.  About  200  thousand  people  abroad  (Consulate  of  the  Ministry  of  Foreign  Affairs),  of  which 120 thousand went to live as permanent. Despite having  a  job  in  Mongolia,  salaries  do  not  always  cover  subsistence costs, and the pension is not able to cover a day’s meals. As a result, people make the choice to move. That means the middle-class is draining. jargaldefacto 

 

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Prepared by Ganchimeg Mijiddorj, Political, Press and Information officer

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