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MONGOLIA – Weekly press review 2 August 2021

08/02/2021 | 05:52am EDT

COVID-19

As of 2 August, total number of confirmed cases reached 166 210, the total number of recovered patients was 166 699 and total number of COVID-19 related deaths was 823.E-Mongolia (In MNG). COVID-19 interactive dashboard is available in Mongolian and English.

Vaccination: As of 2 August 2 178 913 people have received the first dose of the vaccine and 1 983 005 people received the second dose. E-Mongolia (In MNG)

Mongolia received 132 210 doses of the Pfizer vaccine: Up to date, 549 960 doses of the 2.5 million Pfizer vaccines arrived in Mongolia through the agreement signed by the Government of Mongolia and Pfizer Inc. 2.35 million doses are purchased through the grant funding of Japan. Montsame

EU - Mongolia

Environment Minister discusses joint projects with EU Ambassador: With funding support from Switch Asia II programme, 'Sustainable Plastic Recycling in Mongolia' project is being implemented by the Environment Ministry and Caritas Czech Republic in 2020-2024. And 'Sustainable Resilient Ecosystem and Agriculture Management in Mongolia' is being carried in 2021-2024 with funding support from EU to increase the capacity of Mongolian communities. Minister Urtnasan proposed implementing projects and programs to introduce best practices of EU and its member states in reducing air, soil, and water pollution as part of ger area redevelopment in the capital city and learning from the EU and Germany's experience with adoption of river basin resource management. Ambassador Traian Hristea talked about projects and programs to implement in the future, expressing his hope that cooperation will further expand between the two sides.Montsame

Hungary's Foreign Minister pays working visit to Mongolia: the HungarianMinister held talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia and agreed to increase trade, economic and investment volumes between Mongolian and Hungary and support cooperation of private sectors from the two countries.Minister Péter Szijjártó will handed over medical 33 respirators provided by the government of Hungary as humanitarian assistance to Mongolia. MontsameMontsame

Hungary's Foreign Minister pays courtesy call on Parliament Speaker of Mongolia: Hungary's Minister highlighted the Hungary pays special attention on large-scale development projects, such as Biocombinat restoration project. The Hungarian Minister asked Speaker Zandanshatar to pay attention on intensifying the project operations. 'The successful implementation of the project will enable future projects in water management and agriculture' said Minister Péter Szijjártó.Speaker Zandanshatar pledged to provide all-round support from the Mongolian parliament for the Biocombinat renovation project and vowed to introduce Hungarian experience in cultural and filmmaking to Mongolia and advance cooperation in these areas and mentioned that Mongolia is working to create a movie about Bat Khan and Attila the Hun with support from Hungary. Montsame

Views exchanged on renovation project of Biocombinat: AgricultureMinister Z.Mendsaikhan expressed pleasure meeting with Minister Péter Szijjártó in person, and sides exchanged views on Biocombinat renovation project, which plays an important role in the cooperation between the two countries. Minister Z.Mendsaikhan asked Minister Péter Szijjártó to provide necessary support required to start the construction of the project within August. Moreover, Minister Z.Mendsaikhan proposed to expand business cooperation and organize relevant meetings and seminars in support of projects to be implemented in Mongolia with funding from the Government of Hungary. The project will enable the domestic production of an average of 10.0 million doses of FMD vaccine, 10-15 million doses of rabies vaccine and 20 million doses of smallpox vaccine per year, which will not only improve animal health but also reduce currency outflows. Montsame

Mongolia-France cooperation in emergency management discussed: The sides discussed relations, cooperation, joint projects and programs. The financial agreement established between the governments of Mongolia and France enabled the implementation of the project to set up an air rescue unit at NEMA and supply helicopters and fire engines. Besides the aforementioned project, the establishment the intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in civil security opened up opportunities for cooperation in the area. Montsame

EBRD's Trade Facilitation Programme names Khan Bank as Mongolia's Most Active Issuing Bank for the 11th consecutive year. Montsame

Political and Internal Developments

Parliament's Standing Committee on Industrial Policy submitted a bill on productivity growth, support, and the development of small and medium-sized enterprises, and light and heavy industry, as well as other draft resolutions. News (In MNG)

Mongolia is planning to inoculate its citizens with a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine: Health MinisterEnkhbold made the remarks during a meeting of the national disaster risk reduction council. Xinhua

Project on improving adaptive capacity to climate change to be implemented in four aimags: With a grant of USD 23.1 million by the Green Climate Fund, the project will be jointly implemented by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Light Industry, and the United Nations Development Programme. Planned to be implemented until 2028, the project is expected to make significant contributions in resolving the pressing issues. Montsame

Zamiin-Uud free zone to open for regular operation: Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and Justice Minister were ordered to take measures to settle on cross border facilities at the economic cooperation region with the Chinese side, establish border control units and provide with required facilities and equipment at the free zone to open the Zamiin-Uud free zone for regular hours of operations for movement of passengers and freight transportation vehicles starting from 15 August. Montsame

Cabinet reviews progress of MNT 10 trillion economic recovery plan: Minister of Finance Javkhlan made a presentation on the implementation of the government's MNT 10 trillion (EUR 2.94 billion) comprehensive plan for health protection and economic recovery. Within the framework, employment support loans with total funding of MNT 2 trillion (EUR 588 million) have been granted to 22,994 borrowers totalling MNT 1.7 billion as of now (EUR 500 000). Montsame

50 000 signatures collected to reunite DP: MP B.Purevdorj reported on by-election issues and an initiative to convene an irregular congress of the Democratic Party and collect 100 000 signatures from members to reunite the party. Emphasizing that the process of collecting 100,000 signatures to reunite the party under a single leader and seal has been successful, B.Purevdorj said, 'As of today, 50 000 members have signed. In some provinces and districts, mid-level chairs opposed the signing. The main purpose of collecting signatures is to show that the members are united.' The UB Posts

Foreign Policy

Japan inks USD 8 million in aid to Mongolia over COVID-19: The Japan International Cooperation Agency will provide Mongolia with cold chain equipment such as refrigerated vaccine transport vehicles as promptly as possible. Kyodo News

China, Mongolia opposes politicizing COVID-19 origin tracing, stress further cooperation: The consensus was reached during a meeting between Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and the visiting Mongolian Foreign Minister Batmunkh Battsetseg. They called on the WHO Secretariat to cooperate with member states in accordance with relevant resolutions of the World Health Assembly to promote global origin tracing research. Battsetseg expressed the willingness to work with China to enrich the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries. Noting that Tibet is an inalienable part of China's territory, the Mongolian foreign minister stressed that Tibet-related issues are China's internal affairs and Mongolia will not let the Tibet-related issues interfere with the development of bilateral relations. CGTN

Foreign Ministers of Mongolia and China hold official talks: Ministers issued a joint statement to take measures against the pandemic, move up the efforts to restore the economic and trade cooperation and increase trade turnover and freight transportation volume. The sides affirmed to intensify the strives to implement their development policies, bring about large-scale projects and programs in various fields and increase trade turnover to USD 10 billion in the near future. They pledged to cooperate in increasing traffic flows at bordering checkpoints with the help of measures against the coronavirus infections, establishing long-term coal purchase contract under commercial terms, introducing new types of transportation and expanding Mongolia's agricultural exports and speed up meat exports from Mongolia's western region. In addition, Mongolia and China are gradually rehabilitating the movement of citizens of the two countries on the basis of creating security conditions. The Chinese side expressed its interest in continuing the study of Mongolian students in China. News (In MNG) The sides also agreed collaborate on projects aimed at tackling desertification and dust storms and expressed their eagerness to keep cultural, education and humanitarian partnership normal amid the pandemic circumstances. Confirming the importance to the development of trilateral cooperation of Mongolia, Russia and China, the sides vowed to provide support to entities from the three countries in order to bring forward the building of trilateral economic corridor and the development of feasibility study for the Russia-China gas pipeline to transit through Mongolia. Montsame

Mongolia-China joint statement on strengthening cooperation in fighting against the pandemic: The sides will aim to strengthen cooperation in vaccine providing, sharing practices and information related to the prevention, control, diagnosis, treatment of COVID-19 infections, and establishing a joint society for healthcare. In addition 'Green Gateway' temporary regulation at the Mongolia-China border checkpoints, alongside creating the conditions to allow the entry of products, and stabilizing and improving economic and trade cooperation. The sides will seek for opportunities to restore the mutual travel of peoples. Montsame

Consular consultative meeting held between Mongolian and Chinese Foreign Ministries: The 21st consular consultative meeting was held virtually on 28 July to discuss current conditions for travel of citizens of the two countries, protecting the interests of Mongolian and Chinese citizens, and activities of the countries' diplomatic missions. The Mongolian side expressed its stance on the implementation of Green gateway temporary regulation, mutual acceptance of medical certificates for travel, and allowing travel to citizens with valid excuses, together with requests from citizens regarding those matters. Montsame

Chinese Defence Minister pays courtesy call on Speaker of Parliament: The Speaker said that the sides should work more actively to achieve the common goal of increasing trade turnover to USD 10 billion. While noting that Mongolia has consistently pursued a peaceful, open, independent and multi-pillar foreign policy and aims to contribute to international and regional affairs, Speaker stressed that defence cooperation is an important component of bilateral relations that contributes to strengthening political relations and mutual understanding. Montsame

Expansion of Mongolia-China defence cooperation discussed: Minister of National Defense of China Wei Fenghe met with Minister of Defence G.Saikhanbayar and stressed the importance of bilateral defence cooperation in strengthening the comprehensive strategic partnership and expressed their readiness to closely cooperate through organization of visits, exchanges, and consultative meetings on defence and security of defence officials at all levels, and joint drills when the COVID-19 pandemic eases. MontsameXinhua

Prime Minister L.Oyun-Erdene meets with his South Korean counterpart: The sides agreed on the importance of close cooperation in the current difficult situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, and agreed to work more closely to share knowledge, experience and information aimed at overcoming the pandemic. Prime Minister Kim Boo-Kyum expressed his desire to further strengthen the regional and bilateral cooperation in the fields of infection control and health, and intensify cooperation in the fields of transportation, energy and logistics. The Prime Ministers agreed to deepen cooperation in the international and regional arenas, especially in the field of peace and security in Northeast Asia. Montsame

The Prime Minister met with the management of Exim Bank of Korea: Parties agreed to further develop logistics (air transportation), mining (cathode copper processing plant, iron ore processing plant), roads, bridges, and infrastructure, construction and economic development of Khushig Valley Free Economic Zone and other large-scale projects under the concessional loan and grant from the Republic of Korea. The two sides agreed to establish a joint working group to focus on major projects, implement effective projects and programs, support cooperation between the Exim Bank of the Republic of Korea and the Development Bank of Mongolia. News (In MNG)

Digital development to be speed up in LLDCs: Permanent Representative of Mongolia in Geneva participated in the meeting of Ambassadors of Landlocked Developing countries. As the chair of the group the of LLDCs in Geneva, he said that the Vienna Program of Action for Landlocked Developing Countries will be implemented until 2024 and proposed including goals to speed up digital development in LLDCs in the Program of Action for the next decade and cooperating with ITU in that effort. He also noted that the development of information and communication technologies allows landlocked countries to increase their trade partners and enter new markets. Montsame

Economy

Coal transportation checkpoint at Shivee Khuren border in operation: Mongolyn Alt LLC made an investment of MNT 560 million (EUR 164,640) to expand the Shivee Khuren border operation to increase exports, increasing its access capacity, opening four border checkpoints, and handed over to the border authorities. Gogo

2021 Investment Climate Statements: Economists average 2021 GDP growth forecast is 6.1%, but this figure understates the impact COVID-19 has had on the economy in 2021. Central bank foreign-exchange reserves buoyed by increased minerals exports and higher commodity prices. Continued economic growth will depend on the resolution of a dispute over the Oyu Tolgoi. If global interest rates rise, Mongolia could face the foreign-exchange pressures characteristic of comparable emerging markets. Mongolia has committed to implementing the U.S.-Mongolia Transparency Agreement, which requires a public-comment before new regulations become final. It also requires ministries to respond to public comments or factor them into final rules. Mongolia is four years behind implementing its Transparency Agreement public-notice and. The government has taken steps to address growing concerns about threats to judicial independence, including by adopting constitutional amendments in 2019 and judicial reforms in 2020 and 2021 that improve transparency and reduce political influence in the appointment and removal of jurists. Businesses note a substantial regulatory burden at the regional level as well, although the government's 'One-Stop-Shop for Investors' has helped investors navigate this process. US department of State

Commentary

Mongolia Seizes the Diplomatic Moment: In five days, Mongolian have held high-level talks with China, Japan, South Korea, and the United States. Mongolia is carefully avoiding choosing sides in the China-U.S. tug-of-war, while seeking to maximize its gains from all sides. The current round of diplomacy kicked off with a visit from U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman. While Sherman was in Mongolia, the Prime Minister was in Japan and met with Japan's Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide, 'Oyun-Erdene confirmed Mongolia's willingness to develop the strategic partnership and cooperation with Japan, a third neighbour of Mongolia, in every possible area.' After leaving Japan, Oyun-Erdene met with Prime Minister Kim Boo-Kyum in South Korea and spoke of deepening cooperation 'in peace and security in Northeast Asia,' a nod to Mongolia's envisioned role for itself as a mediator on the North Korea issue. Meanwhile, Mongolian Foreign Minister travelled to China and held meetings with her Chinese counterpart, the two sides set a goal to increase bilateral trade volumes to $10 billion and 'give priority' to starting 'landmark projects' for the Belt and Road Initiative in Mongolia. Meanwhile, Chinese Defence Minister visited Mongolia and met with Defence Minister Saikhanbayar. They 'expressed their readiness to closely cooperate in continuing the cooperation through organization of visits, exchanges, and consultative meetings on defence and security of defence officials at all levels, and joint drills when the COVID-19 pandemic eases.' However, Mongolia is also wary of becoming overly reliant on its larger neighbour and wants to safeguard its democracy and sovereignty. Its active outreach to 'third neighbours' like the United States, Japan, and South Korea is evidence that Mongolia does not want to put all its eggs in the China basket. The Diplomat

Wendy Sherman: 'The U.S. stands ready to help build Mongolian economy back better and create economic opportunity for the people of Mongolia. USAID revitalized its presence in Mongolia last year and is already expanding its programming. USAID is already putting USD 50 million towards supporting SMEs in Mongolia and another USD 12 million in technical assistance for the energy sector. Moreover, Mongolia has received USD 350 million MCC to vastly increase the supply of fresh water to Ulaanbaatar. I will tell Ambassador Samantha Power who is now the head of USAID about my time here. I know she will be eager to find additional ways to deepen cooperation with Mongolian people'. The U.S is very proud to be Mongolia's strategic partner and third neighbour. Our two countries share strong commitment to democracy, to free commerce and entrepreneurship, to upholding the rule of law and to protecting individual human rights and freedom. We are also working to support Mongolia in developing cashmere industry and promote value-added manufacturing of cashmere in Mongolia. Montsame

Mongolia's mass jabs fail to suppress COVID spread: Mongolia has administered more COVID-19 shots relative to its population than any country in Asia, 61% of total population has been fully vaccinated (Ikon In MNG) yet it leads Asia in proportional rankings for new COVID-19 cases. Now cases are in the hundreds even in remote areas. Daily COVID-19 infections have hovered between 1,500 and 2,500 since June the high vaccination rate has not stalled the outbreak. More Mongolians losing their lives due to COVID-19,823 MoH people have died of Covid-19 in Mongolia since its first local transmission in November 2020. Mongolia has confirmed 166 210 MoH cases of coronavirus; 12 Delta Variants (News In MNG). The government has been harshly criticized online by a vocal minority, and is losing popular respect, as more lives are lost. There have been acts of open defiance among restaurants thus the government made a responsibility agreement with the SMEs. Asia Nikkei

* * *

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

Disclaimer

European External Action Service published this content on 02 August 2021 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 02 August 2021 09:51:04 UTC.


ę Publicnow 2021
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