Monday, April 13, 2015

[BoM holds rates; MNT keeps steady; Elbegdorj backs GoM on OT, TT; and UB investment forum announced on April 15]

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Monday, April 13, 2015

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Coal Mongolia 2015

Presentation: Minister of Energy D. Zorigt at Coal Mongolia 2015

April 10 ( The second day of Coal Mongolia 2015 opened with a presentation by the Minister of Energy, D. Zorigt titled "New Resources of Energy: Possibilities for Export".

Here is an excerpt from the Minister's presentation which touches on issues such as the current state of the energy sector in Mongolia, future perspectives, investment opportunities, changes in the legal environment regarding the energy sector, potential resources and concessions.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, Delegates

First of all, allow me to great you on behalf of the Ministry of Energy and myself.

The Coal Mongolia 2015 conference has been organized for the 5th time with support from the Government of Mongolia, site and Erdes Mongol Corporation. 

The energy sector of Mongolia consists of four independent renewable resources of diesel stations including Western region energy system, Altai and Uliastai energy system, Dornod region energy system, and Central energy system.

79.42 percent of the total energy consumption of Mongolia is produced domestically and 20.58 percent was imported. Production from Hydro power stations and renewable energy makes up 3 percent of the total amount of energy consumption.   


million kWh


Heating Power plants



Diesel stations



Hydro power plants



Renewable power plants 









While the energy sector of Mongolia operates with stability, reliability and continuously providing energy, in order to support the rapid development of the social and economic sector requires the country to resolve vital issues which have impacted the energy sector.

As the economy grows energy consumption also increases by approximately 7-10%/year.

Currently we are importing 20% of our consumed energy from Russia and China. It is vital for our future to be able to generate this power domestically as our energy requirements will be much greater in the future.

Solution Government of Mongolia has outlined objectives in order to meet these needs while maintaining the economic development and growth of Mongolia. The energy sector needs to increase its economic capabilities and adhere to the policy framework to ensure efficiency. In order to improve accountability and develop the legal environment regarding the energy sector we need to create a positive business environment which will attract investors. Changes to the Energy Law will be introduced to ensure this.

During his presentation, the Minister has outlined measures which have been taken from the Government side at the energy sector.

Key measures to be implemented within the energy sector:

The Government of Mongolia issued a decree regarding major development in the Energy sector:

-       Organized discussion on the Baganuur Power Plant Concession Agreement which has the capacity of 700 MW; Granted rights to the Investment Department to draft an agreement with the conditions permitting the construction, operation and transfer. 

-       To finance Eg river hydro power plant with a soft loan from the Chinese Government.

-       Approve the construction of the Khovd river hydro power plant to ensure energy resources for the Western regions of Mongolia

-       Approve the construction of a thermal power plant based on the Tavan Tolgoi coal deposit with a capacity of 450 MW with $ 50 million from Chingis bond

-       Additional power plants in the Western regions including Dornod, Baganuur and Shivee Ovoo are planning to be constructed from private investment.

-       Power transmission lines and substations that connecting Tsaidam nuur, Buuruljuut and Chandgana power plants are scheduled to be constructed.

Upon conclusion of the presentation the Minister reflected on, future perspectives in further development of the energy sector in Mongolia.

 The Minister has stressed that it is vital that the long term strategic objectives of the energy sector in Mongolia should be determined in conjunction with developments in the global energy sector, region and neighboring countries.

According to preliminary estimates until 2030, Western Asia will be a leader in the global energy sector. 

At the end of his presentation, The Minister has wished success to participants for their future work as well as for the participation at the present conference.

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Minister of Energy addresses Coal Mongolia 2015Montsame, April 10


Day 2 of Coal Mongolia 2015 highlights energy sector development

April 12 (Coal Mongolia) The second day of the Coal Mongolia conference was organized under the title "Energy and Gas Market – Opportunities for Mongolia".

Friday's forum was chaired by Minister of Energy D.Zorigt, General Director of the Invest Mongolia Agency S.Javkhlanbaatar, Senior Researcher of Fenwei Energy Consulting Lee Ryn Pin, Executive Director of General Electric Ts.Tumentsogt, and Director of Tavan Tolgoi (TT) Power Plant Project Unit.

Minister of Energy D.Zorigt gave the opening speech, talking about the current status, perspectives, investments, and legal environment of the energy sector.

The Minister underlined, "The Mongolian energy sector consists of four independent renewable resources of diesel stations, including energy systems in western region, Altai and Uliastai, Dornod and the central energy system."

The Minister spoke about major ongoing projects in the energy sector and said, "Mongolia is located between countries with high energy consumption, and we have possibilities to export energy based on more than 300 deposits in 15 main coal beds. In 2015, Mongolia has 173.3 billion tons of coal reserves, of which 23.5 billion tons are guaranteed reserves."

He also emphasized that 140 million USD was spent for imported energy in 2014. Mongolia currently purchases 20 percent of its energy consumption from Russia and China.

"Estimates suggest that by 2020 Mongolia will be able to fully ensure its domestic energy demands and also have about 10 percent of additional energy reserves," said Minister D.Zorigt.

Following the speeches, open discussion took place and representatives chairing the forum responded to questions addressed to them.

The forum attendees asked about the Oyu Tolgoi project, foreign investments in the mining sector, and projects with approved feasibility studies.

Director of Invest Mongolia Agency S.Javkhlanbaatar said that over 100 projects with approved feasibility studies are ready for introducing to foreign investors.

He said, "Mongolia will be able to generate approximately 10 billion USD within the next four years if we could think more about advantages for investors than the numbers of feasibility studies."

Director of the TT power plant project B.Tuvshin said that the plant will open in 2019. It won't export energy, but will ensure the provision of energy required for TT mines in Umnugovi Province.

The second part of Friday's conference continued with a focus on "Improving production profit, opportunities to add value-technology development".

Head of the Energy and Chemicals Department of Mongolyn Alt J.Zoljargal served as the forum's moderator.

CEO of Shivee Ovoo JSC Sh.Otgonbaatar gave a presentation titled, "Shivee Ovoo Coal Mining and Steady Operation of Central Power System".

The project is financed by Polish Development Bank with a low-risk, free interest loan. The loan payback period is flexible and the initial investment is to be paid from the profit generated by the operation. He talked about the project's objectives, advantages and results.

Chief Representative of All Mineral in Mongolia J.Myadagamaa, Executive Director of Transwest Mongolia David Turnbull, Director of the Sales and Service Division of Hera Equipment Ch.Tuguldur, and General Director of E-Trans Ch.Enkhbold presented speeches.

The final part of the Coal Mongolia 2015 Forum was titled, "Government Hour – From Issues to Solutions". It was an open discussion between the private and public sector on developing the coal industry.

Minister of State M.Enkhsaikhan, S.Javkhlanbaatar, Head of Mongolia Maritime Administration of the Ministry of Road and Transportation Kh.Enkhbaatar, State Secretary of the Mining Ministry D.Artag, and Head of the Fuel Policy Department Radnaasuren served as panelists.

Minister M.Enkhsaikhan discussed Tavan Tolgoi negotiations. He said, ""Every project is a mega project for Mongolians. We cannot prioritize what project to implement first. We have to learn to prioritize these projects. I will implement only a few projects since I have only a year. The TT agreement draft was not submitted to the Parliament. I am afraid that 76 members of the Parliament will discuss the Tavan Tolgoi agreement draft indiscriminately."

Foreign representatives concluded that this year's event was stronger than previous years, and that its scope had expanded.

This year's forum consisted of two parts including the conference and an expo. Over 600 guests and delegations attended the conference, and over 2,000 people visited the expo.

A total of 34 entities participated in the expo, the majority of which were mining suppliers. Official distributors of major supply brands such as Doosan, Hitachi and Wagner Asia took part in the expo.

Organizer and manager of Minfo LLC E.Munkh-Erdene highlighted that people who visited the Coal Mongolia Expo were more satisfied than in previous years.

Link to article


GE representative on opportunities and competitive advantage of Mongolian energy market

By S. Odbayar

April 10 ( We interviewed with Tumentsogt.Ts, Executive director of General Electric LLC on opportunities and competitive advantage of Mongolian energy market.

For full interview please see the video below.

Link to article


Senior researcher of Fenwei energy consulting talks on the opportunities for Mongolia to enter Chinese energy market

By S. Odbayar

April 10 ( We are delivering interview with Lee Ryn Pin, Senior Researcher of Fenwei Energy Consulting Co., Ltd. She made presentation on "Short and Mid Term Plans/Changes in Chinese Energy Sector" at Conference Part 4.

She talks on the opportunities for Mongolia to enter Chinese energy market.

For full interview please see the video below.

Link to article


Overseas Market

Mogi: bit behind and under-researched for The Economist Intelligence Unit. TRQ closed +1.61% Friday to US$3.79. EGI +3.13% to US$0.33 (+90% in last 10 days)

Disputes over OT mine expansion reportedly resolved

April 9 (EIU) The prime minister, Chimed Saikhanbileg, announced on April 5th that the government had reached an agreement with foreign mining companies to expand the Oyu Tolgoi (OT) and Tavan Tolgoi mines, seemingly ending two years of protracted negotiation.

The OT mine expansion would involve a US$12.6bn investment in the mine's gold and copper operations. OT is the country's largest mining project, and, after the expansion is completed, its operations are projected to account for nearly one-third of Mongolia's economic output. However, neither the OT mine's operator, Turquoise Hill, nor its parent company, Rio Tinto, has confirmed the agreement publicly. 

A weak mandate for investment

The prime minister's announcement is the upshot of an unusual referendum, held via text message in early February. Voters were given the option of either greater austerity or increased investment in mining projects. The pro-investment option won out, 56.1% to 43.9%. The government has since touted the outcome as a mandate for moving to resolve longstanding disputes with foreign miners. Nonetheless, voter turnout was so low—just 10% of registered mobile-phone numbers cast a vote—that its policy shift will remain open to political challenge.

No matter the true extent of public support, economic pressures have clearly forced the government to paint itself into a corner, leaving it no choice but to try to bury the hatchet with major foreign firms. Foreign investment declined by 76% year on year in 2014. This, along with weaker global demand for commodities, has prompted a slump in Mongolia's foreign reserves and has pushed down the value of the local currency. As of April 9th, the value of the tugrik has declined by about 29% compared with the same point in 2013. A weaker currency may complicate the country's ability to repay its debts, many of which fall due in 2017-18.

While Mongolia has tried to make an about-face in its policies towards investment from abroad in the past year, foreign companies have reacted with extreme caution to re-engagement—especially as declining global commodity prices have decreased the potential payoff. Rio Tinto's silence in response to the prime minister's announcement speaks volumes about Mongolia's withering appeal and the weakness of the country's current negotiating position. Rio's outlook on the project began to sour notably last year, when its annual accounts publication concluded that, "There can be no assurance that these matters will be resolved in a manner that is satisfactory to Turquoise Hill or Rio Tinto and that Oyu Tolgoi Project Financing will be available within a reasonable timeframe to permit development of the underground mine within current cost estimates, on schedule or at all."

Tavan Tolgoi expansion makes two

At the April 5th press conference, the prime minister also announced that an agreement had been reached over the Tavan Tolgoi mine, the country's largest coking coal operation. The government has been in negotiation with China's Shenhua Energy, Japan's Sumitomo and Energy Resources (a subsidiary of a Hong Kong-listed local firm, Mongolian Mining) to take over operation of the mine from a state-owned company, Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi (Erdenes TT). The deal would provide the funds to finance an expansion of the mine, which had been held up by the government's lack of financial resources.

Negotiations veered off track in late February, however, when the man at the centre of the talks, the chief of Erdenes TT, Batsuuri Taichil, was arrested by a corruption task force on charges of embezzlement and abuse of power. For outside investors, it has been difficult to discern whether this was a genuine action against corruption, or simply a power play as part of an ongoing political shakeup that began with the ouster of the former prime minister, Norov Altankhuyag, in November.

Political risks linger

The government's efforts to portray the OT and Tavan Tolgoi agreements as drawing a line under the country's fractious relations with foreign investors were dealt an immediate blow by parliament, which declared objections to the latter deal. According to reports from a UK-based newswire service, Reuters, the parliamentary speaker, Zandaakhuu Enkhbold, warned that it might breach the law and the government subsequently agreed that legislators would have to sign it off before it could go ahead. The last-minute hiccough is unlikely to have impressed the representatives from Shenhua and Sumitomo who were in Mongolia to sign the agreement. Contrary to the hopes of Mongolia's leaders, all the signs suggest that foreign investors will continue to face a host of regulatory and political obstacles when trying to do business in the country.

The Economist Intelligence Unit continues to expect that deals on these two key projects will be finalised in 2015. This will help to stave off balance-of-payments difficulties that the country might otherwise face in 2017-18, and should ensure that the tugrik appreciates against the US currency in 2016. Nonetheless, actual work on the mine-expansion schemes is unlikely to begin before the final quarter of the year, and could be delayed even further if commodity prices in 2015 prove to be weaker than we expect. 

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Local Market

MSE Weekly Trading: MSE ALL -0.06%, Turnover ₮72.9 Million Stocks, ₮32.6 Billion T-Bills

April 10 (MSE) --

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Mongolia Central Bank Keeps Rates at 13% on Falling CPI, Low FDI

By Michael Kohn

April 10 (Bloomberg) -- Bank of Mongolia's Monetary Policy Committee decided to keep interest policy rate unchanged at 13%, central bank's Chief Economist Bold Sandagdorj says by phone today.

* Policy interest rate unchanged because even though inflation has been falling and is expected to reach targeted level of 7% at the end of 2015, foreign exchange inflows are "not significantly improved yet": Bold

* Inflation at end of March was 9.3%, supply-driven inflationary pressure has maintained a low and stable level for two years and demand-pull inflation is not expected to increase this year, making 7% inflation target achievable this year: Bold.

* Decision will help maintain tugrik yield, reducing current account deficit, promoting macro and financial stability: Bold



Bank rates at time of sending: TDB (Buy 1,978 Sell 1,988), Khan (Buy 1,976 Sell 1,988), Golomt (Buy 1,979 Sell 1,987), XacBank (Buy 1,978 Sell 1,988), State Bank (Buy 1,978 Sell 1,988)

BoM MNT Rates: Friday, April 10 Close














































































































MNT vs USD (blue), CNY (red) in last 1 year:

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BoM issues 82 billion 1-week bills at 13%, total outstanding -7.7% to ₮215.5 billion

April 10 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 82 billion at a weighted interest rate of 13.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release


Bill Submitted on Ratifying Amendment to IMF Agreement, Increasing Participation of Developing Countries

Ulaanbaatar, April 10 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Finance J.Erdenebat MP Friday submitted to parliament a draft law on ratifying an amendment to the general agreement of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The IFM plans to make a package of reforms in governance and quota with aims to upgrade its governance and to increase the representation and voices of developing countries. Within this package, two seats of the IMF's Board of Directors will be passed to the developing countries, a system will come into force when Board of Directors is elected with a participation of all member-states. Quotas of the IMF will be augmented as well.

There are 15 countries in the zone Mongolia included. Our country therefore will be able to promote its participation in decision-making process, and special drawing rights will increase for her, the Minister said.

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Politics & Legal

Bill Submitted to Appropriate More Mining Royalty to Local Governments

Ulaanbaatar, April 10 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Finance J.Erdenebat MP Friday submitted to the Speaker Z.Enkhbold draft amendments to the laws on budget and on the Human Development Fund (HDF).

In times of economic difficulties, it is vital to boost the mining sector and to intensify exploration and exploitation. "But actions have been taken by localities' inhabitants and even administrations to prevent the mining exploration, this causes a serious problem and slackens the mining sphere". "The amendments have been formulated to augment money for the regions from the exploitation payment of mineral resources so that the mining industry is run normally," J.Erdenebat said.

By the current law on budget, Funds for local development receive five percent of the revenue from the mineral exploration payment.  

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Labour Minister submits draft amendment to labor safety law

Ulaanbaatar, April 10 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Labour S.Chinzorig Friday presented to the Speaker Z.Enkhbold a draft amendment to the law on labour safety and hygiene.

This law, adopted in 2008, has created a management and policy system and has formed a method of functions in labour safety and hygiene, but it has been needed to update its regulations, to bring standards of labour safety and hygiene into international level, to legalize roles of the related experts at entities and organizations, to maximize responsibilities of both employers and employees, and to make the responsibilities clearer, Chinzorig said.

In 2014, a number of industrial accidents reached 333, declining 18% against 2013, but a number of deaths caused by the accidents increased. A majority of the accidents occurred due to falling of objects, poor knowledge of labour safety, vehicles and facilities breakdown, and technological rules breach, he added.

Up to date, there are 4,505 people with occupational illnesses, some 75% of them are men (3,412), some 83% of them worked in heavy industries, geology and mining.  

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Bill submitted on ratifying optional protocol to Convention on Children's Rights

Ulaanbaatar, April 10 (MONTSAME) THE Labor Minister S.Chinzorig presented Friday to the Speaker Z.Enkhbold the bill on ratification by Parliament of optional protocol to the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child about "Information submission".

Mongolia ratified the optional protocol to the Convention on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography in 2003, and a protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict in 2004. A ratification of the optional protocol on information will facilitate the child-targeted organizations, caretakers and stakeholders in protection of children's rights with possibilities of submitting complaints, petitions and other information regarding the Convention contents to the related international organizations and to expect solutions.

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Draft amendments submitted on pensions insurance receivables

Ulaanbaatar, April 10 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Labour S.Chinzorig passed April 10 to the Chairman of the State Great Khural the draft amendments to the law on pensions' insurance receivables.

An average period of receiving pensions for women aged 55 by 2015 was estimated to be 22.5 years, noted the Minister. This demonstrates that the 15 thousand insured who were born after 1960 have to receive pensions equal to one third of their average salary, which is much lower than other pensioners receive. On the motives for developing the draft, the Minister said that, if the amount of receivables would be designated as above, it will be an unfair distribution to those who paid as same amount of tax and worked for same period as those who retired before them.

The amendments offer to provide the people with an equal chance to receive reasonable pension that meets their livelihood demands, he said.

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President Elbegdorj Reports to Parliament

April 10 ( On April 10, President of Mongolia Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj attended the Spring Plenary Session of the State Great Khural and gave the report of his work as President of Mongolia. And Ts.Elbegdorj becomes the first President of Mongolia to report to the Parliament. 

President Elbegdorj gave the report on his execution on the nine different fields including: increasing local powers with civic engagement; national security; military policy and enhancing the rule of law; developing the people of Mongolia; supporting creations and national producers; preserving environment and pursuing environment friendly policy; advertising the history, traditions and culture of Mongolia; implementing the state foreign policy and carrying the name of Mongolia high in the international arena; and implementing the people's proposals and requests. 

After introducing his report, President answered questions of some Parliament Members. Parliament Members D.Demberel, D.Lundeejantsan, O.Sodbileg, U.Enkhtuvshin, Z.Bayanselenge, L.Erdenechimeg, Su.Batbold, A.Bakei, S.Odontuya, D.Arvin, Kh.Bolorchuluun, L.Bold, S.Demberel, G.Uyanga, D.Sarangerel, S.Byambatsogt and Ts.Davaasuren asked questions from the President. 

Link to release


President answers questions from MPs following report


April 12 (UB Post) In the evening meeting of the Parliamentary session on April 10, President Ts.Elbegdorj reported on projects that he has completed since taking office, work that he intends to do, and he answered questions from members of parliament.

The President said, "The projects I've completed do not only belong to me, they are the effort of many people. Secondly, I will cooperate with citizens to reach achievements, realizing initiatives from the public." He stated that he will continue to make efforts to increase civic participation and improve the authority of the provinces; to strengthen justice and legislation; to support national producers and environmentally-friendly projects; and to spread the history, customs and tradition of Mongolia. President Ts.Elbegdorj added that he will pay attention to foreign policy and will support public initiatives. 

After presenting the report, President Ts.Elbegdorj answered questions from parliamentary members.

MP D.Demberel: Do you support the policy to overcome the economic crisis? What sector do you support more to overcome the economy? 

Ts.Elbegdorj: I have already expressed my position on issues regarding the economic crisis. The most important thing is to create new factories. The history of developed countries shows that they supported new job creation and technology during an economic crisis. We should resolve the issues of the stock exchange and land as soon as possible. A Mongolian citizen should be able to privatize land. We should have our own railway, transit transport, and our own petroleum and we should build power plants. 

MP D.Lundeejantsan: It is the first time we are hearing the report on a president's work. I see that you have completed many projects. Mongolia has parliamentary governance. Your report mentions development a lot. How do you see the correlation between the state, governance, and development? 

Ts.Elbegdorj: The state should become more responsible. I will support projects within the frames of the  Security Council. Summarizing my time in office, I noticed that people tend to think that the state head of Mongolia does and completes all projects and makes all the decisions. Parliament should resolve small issues in addition to making amendments to the constitution. It is not necessary to give microphones to each Member of Parliament. MPs should state their minds from the podium.  

MP O.Sodbileg: What is your position on amending the Constitution of Mongolia? 

Ts.Elbegdorj: It is time to review the last 23 years of performance of the constitution. It should be discussed openly with the public. We should even discuss the seven decisions that caused its deterioration. Many issues related to legislative organizations have been raised. If we find the right solutions for the laws on criminal procedures, complying with the standards of Mongolia, we will reach the correct path. 

MP L.Erdenechimeg: Tavan Tolgoi is the one and only treasure of Mongolia with 3 million shares. The Speaker of Parliament said in the opening remarks of the spring session of Parliament that many issues that might influence national security were discussed in the Tavan Tolgoi agreement. What do you think about that? 

Ts.Elbegdorj: I hope the Tavan Tolgoi agreement doesn't become a dispute between politicians. You parliamentarians should express your positions and share your suggestions during the discussions of the Tavan Tolgoi agreement in the parliamentary session meeting. As of 2014, Holland was the country that invested the most in Mongolia. The lives of citizen will suffer when the economy of Mongolia shrinks. Investment will maybe decrease if this issue is postponed and reviewed.

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Minister D.Tsogtbaatar: Housing prices must be consistent with their quality

April 12 (UB Post) Minister of Construction and Urban Development D.Tsogtbaatar gave an interview about projects to be carried out in the construction sector this year.

You graduated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations where many top diplomats were educated. How have you chosen your profession?

I entered the Economics Department of the National University of Mongolia (NUM) after passing the entrance exam. At the time, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs used to conduct studies for exchange students to study at institutes of international affairs of different countries. Luckily, I was chosen to go. Since an early age, I studied Russian and English. I participated in an Olympiad for English language and won. I made achievement in competitions for not only foreign languages but also drawing, mathematics, and physics competitions. These records must have been considered in my decision to go study abroad. 

The foundation to development is undeniably education. After graduating, you returned and taught at the School of International Relations of the NUM. Can you comment on this?

I worked as a part-time teacher at the NUM. After returning to Mongolia, I received an invitation to teach comparative politics at the School of International Relations. At the time, I was working at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Later, I studied international law in Australia for my master's degree. Then I continued to teach at the School of International Relations for nearly a year. 

From your teaching experience, is Mongolia able to train good, capable personnel?

Plenty of personnel for international law should be prepared in Mongolia abroad. Mongolia is making consistent advancements towards globalization. Tons of commercial property issues are arising because Mongolia's economy is becoming a part of the globalized economy and attracting foreign investors. The Mongolian government and private companies are being called to arbitrage courts. Well-prepared personnel specialized in international law is absolutely essential for all of these issues. Simply put, Mongolia needs to train specialized legal personnel who are more valuable than gold. These people will protect Mongolia's resources, minerals, valuables, and assets internationally. 

You have recently been appointed as the Minister of Construction and Urban Development. What kind of policy will you adopt for this sector?

I don't want to work on many things at once. Firstly, the ministry is working with focus on consumers of the construction sector. To do this, the quality of buildings that are supplied to consumers must be consistent to standards. It's wrong to build a building inconsistent to European standards and demands prices of European buildings. In other words, the price of buildings must be consistent to its quality.

People purchase buildings and apartments with the money they saved up all their life. The houses and apartments they buy shouldn't be unusable within three years of purchase. Construction companies usually have gained several folds of profit after three years when they reinvest in their building. Constructing a building is an honorable job. They should execute it responsibly without ruining their reputation. An honest relationship will be established if the quality of buildings being supplied to residents is good. Therefore, we will be concentrating on these aspects and advance the quality of the construction sector to a new and higher level.

The European standard will have to be introduced to begin this work. Introducing the European standard is an endless project. Standards of any country never stay in one place as new technology, material and standards are constantly innovated. This project will not be easy because new standards include many new technological concepts. Science is projected in technical standards. People who can understand and operate them will be required. As a result, a long-term program will be initiated. The program will be divided into two stages. European standards used in Russia will be introduced, meaning that standards written in Russian language will be used. The construction sector will not improve if experts translate and study standards written in English language while this work is being executed. Instead, engineers and technical workers who can work with English standards should be prepared straight away. It's impossible to change everything tomorrow. That's why, we're giving adequate time for projects and the program.

The current standard in Mongolia are underdeveloped. Even if new technologies and equipment are imported, they aren't consistent to Mongolia's standards. Introducing the European standard will deliver high-quality final products to buyers. Additionally, we're not trying to superficially introduce European standards. 

Cement factories were commissioned with investment from government bonds. How many factories were launched?

Quite a few cement factories were built. There's nothing wrong with producing cement domestically and supplying the construction sector. Most importantly, our objective is to lower prices of construction materials and provide more affordable buildings. Construction companies should comply with this expectation. They are required to work at a competitive level with Chinese industries. This is definitely a difficult task. It's possible to provide support to newly established industries. Mongolia will need to be capable of competing with global construction industries with its price and quality in the future. 

How will the government support the construction sector, particularly construction companies?

It's difficult for the government to support construction companies. However, it's possible to support only the construction sector. For example, continuing the mortgage loan program is ultimately intended to provide housing to people. Housing residents is an expression of support to companies that construct the buildings. Some people believe that only construction companies are being supported. It would be better if the companies providing housing to people are supported. 

You mentioned about attracting foreign investment into the construction sector at a press conference. Is it possible to draw in foreign investment into this sector?

Foreign investment was brought in for constructing buildings. For example, Russians built Moscow Khoroolol. Also, there are several buildings built by South Korean and Chinese companies. However, none of the buildings have become sustainable businesses. We should be attracting investment for these types of works. 

There have been many accidents in the construction sector. What is the penalty for these companies that are responsible for these accidents?

Obviously, it's wrong that there are accidents in the construction sector. I will not defend the sector I'm in charge of on this matter. However, I will take accountability. I will support all other issues, but if occupational safety is lost, I will make sure to hold high liability. We must become a sector without any accidents or incidents. People in the construction sector should be initiating and working on decreasing accidents themselves. Construction is an industrial action of the 21st century. Procedures to increase accountability will be passed very soon. Projects of the 21st century should be enforced responsibly with good quality. 

Soon people will be able to purchase apartments with 10 percent down payments on their eight percent interest mortgage loan, after changes are made in the mortgage policy. Can you comment on this?

The ministry is working towards implementing it in the near term. We're trying to ambitiously change big conditions. Following this, detailed economic estimates will be made. Personally, it's a big achievement because there are times when other people don't support your project. Importantly, changes will be made in only the regulation. Other conditions will have to be changed to revise the regulation. The Prime Minister supported our ministry's proposal to appease the 30 percent down payment of the housing loan program with eight percent interest rate, and ordered us to cooperate with the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security. A financial source is necessary for turning this proposal into work and execute it. The Social Insurance Fund and Pension Fund will be financed and raised into a bond to continue the housing program. This way, it will become possible to receive government support for the down payment 30 percent down payment of housing loans by getting a guarantee that the government will pay its 20 percent under repayment conditions. The individual purchasing an apartment will need to pay only 10 percent. 

How will this be handled with commercial banks?

Having individuals pay 10 percent down payment and the government issuing guarantee for the remaining 20 percent merely eliminates the burden on individuals; it's not a present. The individual will pay the 20 percent while repaying the initial loan.

We primarily submitted a proposal to change the Law on Social Insurance Fund to the government. Many things with financial properties need to be reviewed as the principle condition of the housing loan is being changed. The Ministry of Finance, Mongol Bank and commercial banks are discussing all potential issues that can arise during the implementation of the credit loan. 

If the 20 percent down payment is absorbed into the repayment with long-term conditions, the monthly repayment amount will increase. Wouldn't the amount exceed people's monthly wage and income amounts?

This is a reasonable demand set by banks. In other words, this is an issue of creditworthiness of the individual. Banks will be lenient and flexible on individuals who aren't capable of paying the full 30 percent down payment immediately but are capable of repaying it for a long period, and issue the loan. We can't demand banks to issue loans to people with non-fixed income and aren't capable of repaying long-term loans on schedule. 

When will the revised regulation on mortgage loan operations be implemented?

The draft bill has been submitted to the government. Decisions will be made at different stages. I cannot say how long this work will require. 


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Construction Minister to participate in World Cadastre Summit, April 20-25

Ulaanbaatar, April 10 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Construction and Urban Development D.Tsogtbaatar will take part in the World Cadastre Summit, Congress&Exhibition-2015 that will take place this April 20-25 in Istanbul of Turkey.

Tsogtbaatar will also meet with officials of the economic cooperation and leaders of construction companies. The World Cadaster Summit, Congress & Exhibition (WCS-CE) is a high profile international event attracting thousands of cadastral and related professionals and organizations from across the world. It is organized by the Ministry of Environmental and Urbanization of Turkey. The strategic intentions for WCS-CE are to engage with the dynamics of the cadastral sectors and their interfaces, including all aspects of cadastral applications with all over the world.

This year's action is to gather 2,000 delegates and many visitors.   

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MP Ts.Oyunbaatar: MEF couldn't see the ties of Mongolia's development

April 9 (UB Post) The following is an interview with member of Parliament Ts.Oyunbaatar, reviewing the recently held Mongolian Economic Forum (MEF) and the current economic situation in Mongolia.

Parliamentary spring session has begun, yet the MEF is still a hot topic. Were actual issues of Mongolia's economy discussed at the forum? How do you assess the MEF?

I couldn't attend the MEF on the first day because of a business trip. I participated from the second day. The forum was able to cover many ideas and initiations to seek ways to overcome difficult economic and develop the society.

I participated with eagerness to view things from the positive side and support. However, I'm disappointed that media sources are approaching the forum from one side, praising it from all aspects as if the economic difficulty, poverty, unemployment, lack of investment and all other issues will be resolved if the MEF is held. They're not analyzing the actual data.

Even after 25 years, an analysis couldn't be made regarding why a country with a population of only three million people with a vast land that has underground and above ground resources, as well as over 50 million livestock is knee deep in poverty and why its economy is facing a crisis.

Mongolia's current state is faulty because it has been dependent on mining and continued to concentrate on only this sector. The second reason that lead Mongolia's economy to degrade this much and lose the development it was supposed to have brought in the past 25 years is because the two political parties are politicized. They are establishing "MANAN" party and has rotting with corruption. This has "tied" Mongolia, and restricting its development. Politicization ruined and scattered Mongolia's society. One of the difficulties in the economy is explained that businesses fled from Mongolia because the previous parliament increased taxes to 68 percent. On the other hand, foreign investors actually fled from Mongolia because the political system deteriorated due to corruption, bribery and bureaucracy.

No one has pointed out this reality even to this day. They neither discovered nor analyzed it. In fact, the Mongolian society is in dispute over the strict political membership, which forms an oligarchy of few people that owns all of Mongolia's resources. In the end, conflict over authority and official position has closed Mongolia's development. An example of real development is China, which has had the same system for the last 25 years. Vietnam developed incredibly in the past 25 years. South Korea has become highly developed since 1970. Out of the former colonies of Russia, Kazakhstan depended on mining and agriculture, and improved its infrastructure by building new cities and making new developments. In contrast, how is Mongolia? We only have the so-called Millennium Road, named after former Prime Minister N.Enkhbayar. The few roads built after taking a huge debt from foreign countries are in poor quality. This is the reality. 

What should Mongolia do? Can you propose some remedies for the economy? 

Politicization and conflict between groups weren't discussed at the two-day MEF. Presently, MPs and members of the government mustn't differentiate by their parties. The time of ideologies has passed and there's no difference between the right and left. Yet, corruptions, tendency to chase money, and irresponsible actions are seen as democracy in Mongolia. Two big groups hungry for power formed two parties and so were small parties. I will not say that the party I belong to is clean. It's probably battling just like other big heads. However, today, I'm talking about the two ruling parties, the Democratic Party and Mongolian People's Party. If they truly are thinking about Mongolia, there should be only one ambitious political solution. It's time for us to separate from constant strict membership of political parties. This membership is becoming a game device to keep a few corrupt and rich people in the political world and bringing misfortune to the development of Mongolia.

We always copy and idolize America. America's Republican Party doesn't have strict membership but supporters. Depending on the kind of programs candidates bring in during elections, only the best are supported. The public realized that political parties disturbed and messed Mongolia's development policy so their reputation degraded by up to 17 to 18 percent. Couple of parties shouldn't take turns to rule the state. A brand new policy is crucial. Honest people in the government should come up with this policy. Rather than an excellent economic policy, a healthier political environment is necessary. 

What should be done to create a healthier political environment?

It's necessary to change the legal environment. By legal environment, I mean to change the Constitution. This way, we can have a parliament that's like a parliament. There isn't a parliament in the world with 76 members that has become the limbs of oligarchy and where anyone can enter. In addition, people are buying their way into Parliament and government with billions of MNT. Unless the election system becomes healthier, development will not come to Mongolia. The system based on interests is directed to the interests of individuals rather than dedicating resources to the nation's prosperity. When foreign investors come to Mongolia, they say that every head they speak to proposes to cooperate with their company. Those people were seated in Parliament and government as a representative of Mongolia, not a representative of their own company. It's time we change this error in the policy. 

Is the state inspection system able to operate correctly? This issue was raised at the forum. What's your view on this?

The MEF discussed a set of topics on state inspection and control. Operations pressuring businesses should be dismissed. This should be completed through the liberal policy, fair tax system, and standard system for inspection and control. The current system to involve the state in every issue is incorrect. So this control should be minimized and given to civil society organizations that aren't formed from people that protest and do strikes, but NGOs specialized in state inspection, control and taxation. These people can integrate information after inspections and submit it to the state, or do inspections on the transparency law initiated by the President. If this type of system doesn't exist, employees wouldn't be able to speak against their heads. If civil inspection organizations are given the authority to conduct state inspections, inspections will improve and the state system will become healthy. In fact, the legislative framework should be renewed entirely. Within this, issues for protecting the environment and not worsen the living condition of future generations are important.

Also, issues of the tourism sector are being discussed. A country like Mongolia with untouched nature and clean ecological environment has ample opportunities to attract tourists. It's possible to increase the present statistic of 200,000 to 300,000 tourists that come to Mongolia [every year]. Winter sports festivals can be organized to improve tourism. In the past 10 years or so, several NGOs attempted to complete this work, but the state didn't provide sustainable support. Especially on tax issues, the government should pay attention through a policy. VAT shouldn't be set at more than five percent, if this isn't possible, it should be changed into a trade tax.

There are tons of complaints saying that VAT is restricting and obstructing all businesses. On top of that, it's the most serious issue since its flourishing tax corruption. Therefore, a law that reduces VAT to no more than five percent and resolves the issue of shutting down businesses by pressuring them with penalties, interest rates, and loss will be urgently passed by Parliament. Societies, associations and NGOs protecting the interests of tax payers will unite and fight hard for this. 

You mentioned that Mongolia shouldn't depend on only mining. Are there any other opportunities?

Mongolia's land is unpolluted with chemical substances, has preserved its untouched, pristine and ecologically clean condition. Based on this, agriculture should be developed intensively.

The whole world is focusing on this. In the modern time, people need to eat organic vegetables and food products to live a long life. This means that a huge market is available. Starting from meat and milk, Mongolia has opportunities for production. Southeast Asian and other countries are interested in growing crops and rice on Mongolia's land and sell it in their market. When this sort of project is initiated, provincial and regional heads bring up land issues. Governors who've divided the lands they were given by hundreds of hectares and put them up for sale. This is wrong. Mongolia will develop rapidly if agriculture, mining and tourism are developed and improved together. We must determine our vision with this type of development policy and long-term program. As for the route to achieve this, corruption, bribery and bureaucracy must be eliminated. Lately, the state has imprisoned a bunch of high government officials under the guise to combating corruption, but nothing has changed. Fellows that newly entered the political arena are sucking up everything they can find. 

Source: Zuunii Medee

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This Week on the Frontiers: Mongolia Facing Up to Its Challenges


April 11 (WSJ Frontiers) ---

Another resource-rich country that is facing up to its challenges is Mongolia. A long-running dispute between the country's government and miner Turquoise Hill has hit investor sentiment hard and even threatened to push the country into default. In a surprise move, though, the country's Prime Minister this week effectively staked his political future on resolving the dispute. Shares in Turquoise Hill, which is majority-owned by Rio Tinto, surged 11% on the news. Angar Davaasuren, the CEO of Mongolia's stock exchange, told WSJ Frontiers that the Prime Minister's move shows that Mongolia is keen to restore its relationship with foreign investors. "Three years was long enough for us to realize our mistakes," he said.

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Casinos in Mongolia: Costs and Concerns

April 12 (UB Post) Increasing direct foreign investment and developing tourism has been one of Mongolia's primary goals for the past few years. In order to strengthen these areas the Government of Mongolia proposed a draft of a Law on Casinos, which the parliament recently began discussing.

The draft proposal states that two casinos will be permitted to be built in Mongolia, with operating license costs set at 35 billion MNT each. The term for a license will be ten years, with a ten year extension of the license allowed.

The international benchmark for establishing a casino with a ten year license term is 20 to 75 billion USD. By these standards, the price for Mongolian licenses is low. However, acquiring a license is only the first step in investing in this business. A world-class hotel must be built in order to run a casino. The establishment of large casinos requires 1.2 trillion USD, while small to medium casinos need 300 million USD. Mongolian casinos are set to be mid-sized, with 85 percent of the establishment offering hotel services and the remaining 15 percent intended for gaming.

Is 35 billion MNT too much?

While some MPs believe that the 35 billion MNT figure could frighten investors away in these times of economic crisis rather than attracting them, others declare that the profit for casinos is 40 to 60 perecent, rendering the lower prices unnecessary. However, the decision to lower or retain the price for the license rests with Parliament.

Investors have to pay customs duty, VAT, individual income tax, and organizational income tax on top of the license fees. This will add 74 to 138 billion MNT to the state budget each year. The project initiators looked at a casino with 100 automated games as an example when drafting the proposal.

Who will play at the casinos?

The draft proposes that foreign citizens that are 21 years or older will be allowed to play at the casinos. Mongolians are prohibited from playing in them. The proposal initiators reasoned that 40 percent of the population of Mongolia has low income and Mongolians do not have a clear understanding of casinos. If Mongolians were to be allowed to play, many people might stake all they have to gamble.

MP J.Batzandan noted that some countries allow their citizens to play in casinos if they pay a special tax and play with a limited amount of money. Macau operates 35 casinos and has specific regulatory restrictions for their citizens. Another example is Singapore, where citizens are allowed to play with up to 5,000 SGD after paying 100 USD for the first 24 hours of gaming. If a family member submits a request to prohibit gambling, a player's rights to play are limited. However, are these kinds of regulations relevant in Mongolia?

According to MP Yo.Otgonbayar, Mongolians will understand these regulations if they are legalized. If not, Mongolians will have to go abroad to play in casinos, while foreigners will be coming to Mongolia. After conducting extensive research, the proposal's developers found that many Mongolians visit other countries in order to play in casinos.

Pros and cons of casinos

The role of casinos in developing tourism cannot go unstated. Mongolia is trying to use casinos to its advantage. The state set a goal of increasing the number of tourists to one million by 2020. In 2013 Mongolia saw 417,000 tourists arriving in Mongolia, resulting in 263 million USD in revenue for the sector which makes up 5.29 percent of GDP. If Mongolia were to receive one million tourists a year, the share of GDP from this sector would double. Needless to say, casinos cannot be expected to cover all tourism revenue. Efforts to improve other aspects of tourism should also be doubled.

Establishing casinos increases revenue but also contributes to the rise of crimes involving money laundering. Chinese heads of state-owned enterprises went to Korean casinos to launder money, causing Chinese authorities to request the closure of South Korean casinos. About ten people were reported to have been sentenced to death in China because of these events.

Past mistakes

Legislators have reminded us of the 1998 casino case, in which several MPs were tried and sent to prison. MP L.Bold suggests consistently updating the public on the process of casino establishment. L.Bold believes that passing the draft proposal in its current form could result in the repetition of previous mistakes.

However MP R.Gonchigdorj explains that the 1998 case happened because there were no rules or regulations at the time, therefore the parliament passed the Law on Casinos. People who opposed the passage of the law pressed criminal charges against three MPs on tax issues. R.Gonchigdorj hopes that everyone involved should make their best effort to not let history repeat itself.

Establishing casinos requires social order and safety regulations. The Law on Casinos should be accompanied by other rules for optimal implementation. Safety should be provided and security cameras should be installed throughout the casinos. The casino guard should not be part of the organization's private management. The state should issue a license to guards for law enforcement and regulation. If casino companies make unreasonable or illegal requests, security guards should be legally allowed to refuse their orders. These regulations make it necessary to adopt the Law on Security in addition to the Law on Casinos. MP Kh.Temuujin states that the immunity of security should be created.

Where should casinos be built?   

The draft proposal states that two casinos will be built, but no mention of their location can be found in the document. The decision lies upon the government. The casinos will most likely be built in the new airport in Khushgiin Khundii (Curtain Valley), considering the development of its infrastructure.

The Law on Economic Zones permits the establishment of casinos in Altanbulag and Zamiin-Uud, but definite solutions haven't been reached.

This is not the first time that the government and parliament of Mongolia have discussed the issue of casino establishment. The first Law on Casinos was passed in 1998, but due to the poor accountability of three MPs, this law was invalidated in 1999. Several instances of casino draft laws were proposed afterwards. In 2007, MPs led by MP A.Bakey proposed the draft law on casinos, followed by D.Zagdjav in 2009, who proposed a restricted law on casinos. The fourth attempt at proposing the draft law was made by the N.Altankhuyag chamber. This is the fifth instance of this issue being discussed.

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Mongolia – Is This Guy for Real?

April 9 (Capitalist Exploits) Mongolia has a kind of raw seething grittiness to it. It is like a brand spanking new 8 liter V-10 engine with the chassis in place but the rest of the machine is a mishmash of bolted on parts, the seats come from an abandoned Lada, the interior is decorated with sun damaged vinyl from a 1960s Japanese import and somebody stuck the wrong wheels on the damn thing.

The potential is there and you know that if you put your foot down, no matter the appearance it'll hop. Replace just a few parts and you'll be enjoying a whole new experience. This promises to be chaotic.

When you put your foot down it may not spring like a rabbit as much as vault like a wrecking ball. That's how frontier markets tend to work. In fits and starts with enormous volatility thrown in for good measure.

We have spoken extensively about Mongolia some years back, made some good money and over the last 3 years have had a number of investments literally tread water as the Government of Mongolia, fueled by a nouveau riche mentality, Hummers, and a complete misunderstanding of business, business cycles and commodity cycles, proceeded to do what all too many governments do – get in the bloody way!

Asinine – adjective / as:i:nine
1.    extremely or utterly foolish
2.    of, relating to, or resembling an ass

That pretty much sums up much of what we've seen coming out of policy decision in Mongolia for the last 3 years. It's been painful to watch untapped potential be wasted.

The pain is visible in net outflows of capital witnessed in the currency markets as FDI has shrunk by a whopping 62.4% in 2014 and the tugrik has been taken out to the woodshed.

That untapped potential is nothing short of massive, and yet here we sit 3 years on from what can only be described as a complete and utterly foolish political and economically disastrous mismanagement of the two most important projects that the country currently has. Namely the enormous Oyu Tolgoi (OT) project which is the largest financial undertaking in Mongolia's history and is expected upon completion to account for more than 30% of the country's GDP. Copper production is expected to reach 450,000 tonnes annually from this one project alone!

Then there is Tavan Tolgoi, one of the worlds largest untapped coking and thermal coal deposits with an estimated 6.4 billion tonne resource deposit.

When one considers the tiny population of just 2.8 million people and a GDP of just $11.52 billion you quickly get a sense of what an impact the revenues from projects such as these can really have on such a tiny economy.

This missive isn't about belaboring dumb decisions but rather to look at what seems to be a new dawn. We keep a close eye on the country and have networks constantly feeding us information on the ground. What they're telling us is that change is afoot.

The new prime minister has been making some waves after coming to power. Very positive looking waves. He has rapidly fired some 1600 government officials, scrapped a slew of government welfare programs and slashed costs at others.

Most importantly he has moved to resolve the dispute over OT. This is easily the largest single thing the government can do right now to restore confidence for foreign investors. A resolution on this will have profound effects to the economy.

Consider that there is a broad coalition of international banks who have devoted funds to the OT project. These funds have been put on hold while the government does battle with Rio Tinto the developer of the OT project. As long as the OT project remains in dispute these banks will not finance any other Mongolian projects. There are dozens of other projects all of which are being held up by this dispute. If that bottleneck is broken we'll likely see the blood begin to flow through the economy once again.

The prime minister recently put out an address to the people of Mongolia which I managed to get a translated version of from a friend in Ulaanbaatar. I recommend reading the entire document here. Some excerpts from the article I've copied below for brevity.

We have abused politics beyond comprehension in the last three years. We thought the mining commodities price would always be high, we became too arrogant with the little success we had, we believed that the rest of the world wouldn't affect us, as if we were aliens. As a result, our hands became tied by our political dispute, which doesn't bring food to our tables.

A prime minister admitting that his government has been arrogant and has screwed things up? Am I reading this correctly?

Next topic that I will touch on is price liberalization. One of the favorable measures that Mr. Byambasuren's Cabinet took for the development of Mongolia 24 years ago was liberalization of prices and tariffs on products.

Today we must finalize and conclude these measures by further promoting classic market economic conditions. Currently the prices of energy, flour and wheat, oil and oil products are being manipulated by the Government, which sets an unhealthy pattern.

By controlling prices on energy we are holding back economic growth and industrial development. Instead of exporting energy, we are barely making ends meet with energy imports. During the last 40 years we have only undertaken extension work on two power plants, but no new plants have been built.

And then there is this little beauty

Unfortunately government entities and the agriculture support fund have started to get too involved in private sector businesses, whereas the subsidy policy became obsolete, production of wheat exceeded demand by 2.5 times. Market-based healthy competition would have taught them to perform their work on fields and not on Chinggis Square.

Therefore, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture is to thoroughly study agricultural companies' proposals and begin pricing their products according to market principles, starting from this year.

Allowing the market to set prices, reducing tariffs, acknowledging that government has been doing more harm than good. I'd better check to see that he's not been subscribed to Capitalist Exploits.

The Mongolian Stock Exchange management will be restructured and operated by the London Stock Exchange. MIAT will be restructured with domestic and international partners and management,  we will also renew the civil aviation structure, and we will operate and develop state-owned enterprises under the model of Singapore's Temasek.

Once again, I encourage intrepid investors to read the entire translated transcript.

While I've not done so yet I've been considering picking up some Turquoise Hill at these prices. A good friend of mine mentioned to me that he's long a sh*t ton. He's been right often enough to get my attention. If we get a resolution we're likely to see this move first as it's the most liquid play on the OT project.

These guys – the Mongolian government that is – are all out of options right now. The next Twitter or Uber isn't coming out of Ulaanbaatar and nor is the next millionaire rapper (Mogi: how do you know it won't Chris?). It's time they used what they have!

- Chris

"It's not about the cards you're dealt, but how you play the hand." – Randy Pausch

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Road to Success: The Case of JAL

By Jargalsaikhan "De Facto" Dambadarjaa

April 12 (UB Post) In the 1990s, when Mongolia was just starting its transition to a market economy, a group of our friends used to study a great deal about stories and the history of Japan's most famous companies, including Kyocera Corporation and its founder Kazuo Inamori. We read his book "Passion for Success" many times and one of us ended up starting a business in partnership with KDDI Corporation, which also belongs to Inamori.

When he was 27 years old, Kazuo Inamori established his well-known company, Kyocera (Kyoto Ceramic), which has 70,000 employees, a capital turnover of 14 billion USD, net revenue of one billion USD, and has made profits every single year for its entire history of 55 years.

Furthermore, KDDI Corporation, which was also founded by Kazuo Inamori about 23 years ago, currently has 15,000 employees and is the second biggest communications company in Japan today. Their net revenue was 3 billion USD last year.

I recently had an opportunity to have a chat with Inamori-san, Japan's famous businessman, at the headquarters of Kyocera Corporation. He is internationally acknowledged for his management wisdom, unusual methods, and his efforts for society. Believing that it would be a timely and good read, I am presenting you the summary of my discussion with Inamori-san.

Although he is 83 years old today, Inamori-san works as an honorary adviser to his company and gives lectures on management skills to domestic and foreign audiences.

Inamori-san visited Mongolia in 2006, on the 800th anniversary of the Great Mongolian Empire. He told me that during the 2006 visit, he traveled in the countryside and stayed overnight in a herder's home, learning about traditional nomadic culture. It turns out that he was advised by Taichi Sakaiya, who wrote a book about Chinggis Khan and published it in Nikkei newspaper over the course of a year, to travel to Mongolia.


How did you manage to make Japan Airlines (JAL) profitable again within only one year, when the company was on the edge of total bankruptcy and ran deficits for many years? 

At the time, a friend of mine, who was the minister in charge of transportation, asked me to revive JAL. I declined his offer immediately, as I had zero knowledge and experience in aviation and air transport.

However, he was persistent and kept telling me that I could revive the company because I founded Kyocera and KDDI.

If you look at a bankrupt company from the inside you can tell that the minds and resolve of its employees are also "bankrupt". Such disaster starts in the head. It was the same case at JAL. After assuming my role there, I went to every corner of the company and met with many employees, including pilots, stewards, and other staff. They were just following rules and procedures. They were not doing their job from their heart. Some of them even seemed a bit snobby.

I believe that any company has to have an aligned understanding from the top to the bottom. All employees have to be aligned. It applies to any company in any industry.

After talking for days, we formulated the purpose of JAL's management. The purpose was to ensure that every single employee was happy. We defined our goal as, "This is your company and its goal is to make all of you happy." We did not say that our goal was to create value for shareholders or serve the executive management, as observed in Western companies.

This idea was absorbed at every level. As a result of everyone's hard work, JAL made a profit of 184 billion JPY (almost 2 billion USD) only a year later.

This management system, invented by Inamori-san, is called "Amoeba Management", named after the single-celled protozoan that lives in still water. It divides an organization into small groups, each of which has a leader, and calculates profits and working hours. Leaders of amoebas develop their own plans after consultation with senior management.


Inamori-san, Mongolians also enjoy reading your book about management. Your book named "Taking the Right Road in Life" has been recently published. About 1.5 million copies were sold in Japan and around 2 million copies in China. I have recently read your book "Amoeba Management" as well. All of your books present many important ideas and new solutions. Could you please tell us, Mongolians, the most important three principles required to achieve success? 

Firstly, respect people. In today's world, the gap between rich and poor keeps widening. Wealth is a consequence of human greed. Although greed allows for development, a part of society remains poor everywhere due to a fault in the system.

The world will not have peace if those who have accumulated wealth do not spend it on helping others. The solution is that business people care for and show love to each other.

Secondly, be modest. There is a risk that more wealth and power could make one unethical, arrogant, and patronizing. A company that has such leadership might enjoy a short period of success, but it will not last long. Its team members will gradually lose their passion and stop cooperating.

In Japan, there is a proverb that says, "one exists because of others." We can only live in harmony when we consider ourselves a part of something bigger. Think of others first and learn to put yourself aside. Always look from both angles.

Thirdly, be brave. When you make a decision, look at it from many angles and think thoroughly. Always treat things with great sensitivity. If you think something must be done, be brave when you make that decision. Once decided, put all your efforts and see the end of it. If you do that, your team will be motivated and more efficient. 

Having decided to join JAL, Inamori-san refused to receive a salary because he would work there only three days a week. 

It is said that Inamori-san received a salary of only 100 JPY despite the fact that he was creating value worth millions of dollars.  As he used to spend the whole day working and meeting people, all diners were closed when he finished work. So, he used to get noodles from convenience store and eat it with water.

When he gave one of his books to me, he inscribed the book with a message that read: "Respect the Divine and Love People" in Japanese characters. It is the philosophy of Kyocera. 

Inamori-san says, "I thought that what is decided is decided."

Mongolian brothers and sisters, let us respect the divine and love people as well!

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Mongolia-Japan Business Forum to Focus on Agriculture Trade, April 15

April 10 ( On April 15, 2015, Ministry of Food and Agriculture is hosting Mongolia-Japan Business Forum to introduce the implementation of Mongolia-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement signed in Tokyo last February as well as to promote enterprises in agricultural spheres and create new partnership between the industries.

The Business Forum is mainly focused on introducing know-how from Japan, acclimatizing new technology, attracting investment in agricultural sector, producing organic products on Mongolian soil and further to supply Japanese market.

The event will be beginning at 02:00 pm in Chinggis Khaan Hotel in Ulaanbaatar, where experts from the host Ministry, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Industry and the Invest Mongolia Agency are to attend the Mongolia-Japan Business Forum.

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Opening Ceremony of IYL 2015 in Mongolia

April 10 (Novus Light) On 31 March 2015, the opening ceremony of the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015 (IYL 2015) in Mongolia was formally held at the National University of Mongolia in the city of Ulaanbaatar. The ceremony was attended by researchers from light related fields, professors, teachers, students, specialists and people interested in science.

The event was opened with addresses from Gundegmaa Jargalsaikhan, General Secretary, Mongolian National Commission for UNESCO, and Dr R. Bat-Erdene (President of the National University of Mongolia).

Dr Tsolmon Renchin, the head of the Space Science Laboratory, National University of Mongolia and  IYL 2015 National Contact Point, gave a lecture about the IYL 2015 and its importance to society and sustainable development. Renchin also talked about the wonders of cosmic light in her presentation. In addition, she highlighted the major IYL 2015 events and activities to be coordinated in Mongolia during the IYL 2015.

D. Amartuvshin, one of National University of Mongolia's best students, introduced his invention "LED Technology and Smart Light via using the light" during the ceremony.

Another highlight of the opening ceremony was a star-party for the general public. There were several presentations on cosmic light and proper use lights for society and environment protection. Public from all ages had the opportunity to observe the sky thanks to a clear night.

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UB FORUM: Ulaanbaatar Investment 2015 Business Forum



8:30-9:00        Registration            

9:00-9:10        Opening

D.Battulga, Chairman of City Council

9:10-9:30        Presentation name:   "City would not develop without private sector"                

E.Bat-Uul, Mayor of  Ulaanbaatar City

9:30-9:45        Presentation name:   "City, private sector partnership "    

J.Od, Chairman, Ulaanbaatar Chamber of Commerce

9:45-9:55        Presentation name:    "Economic Development Strategy of Ulaanbaatar City"  

N.Bataa, Vice Mayor of  Finance and Economic Affairs of Ulaanbaatar City

10:05-10:15    Presentation name:     "Housing program of Ulaanbaatar City"  

S.Ochirbat, Vice Mayor of Investment Affairs of Ulaanbaatar City

10:15-10:25    Presentation name:    "Private sector Initiative"                          

O.Amartuvshin, General Director, Ulaanbaatar Chamber of Commerce

10:25-10:35    Presentation name:     "Investment Projects"    

L.Narantuya, Head of Investment Agency of Ulaanbaatar City

10:35-10:45    Presentation name:    "Procurement and glass bid"         

Yu.Idertsogt, Head of Procurement  Agency of Ulaanbaatar City

10:45-10:50    Presentation name:     "Friendly Ulaanbaatar" program

Ts.Enhtsengel, Vice Mayor of Social Affairs of Ulaanbaatar City

10:50-11:00    Presentation name:    "Smart Ulaanbaatar" program   

Consultant of "Smart Ulaanbaatar" program

11:00-12:00    Panel Discussion:

Moderator:       E. Dolgion, Director, Bloomberg TV

Panelists:         E.Bat-Uul, Mayor of Ulaanbaatar City

Robert Schoellhammer, Country manager, Asian Development Bank

J.Od, Chairman, UB Chamber of Commerce

O.Amartuvshin, General Director, UB Chamber of Commerce

12:00-12.25     Q&A Session

12:25-12:30    Declaration signing ceremony             

E.Bat-Uul, Mayor of Ulaanbaatar City

J.Od, Chairman, Ulaanbaatar Chamber of Commerce

Link to UB Forum registration


Smart Transportation System to Be Introduced in Mongolia

April 10 ( The Institute of Road and Transportation, a Mongolian NGO has initiated a forum called "The Introduction of Smart and Environmentally Friendly Transportation Systems to Mongolia". This forum has organized in co-operation with ITS Korea and Ulaanbaatar Smart Card Co., Ltd and other Mongolian non-government organizations.

The Forum has discussed and is making recommendations to prioritize the development of a smart transportation system in Mongolia. A Memorandum of Understanding for future co-operation has been signed by J. Bat-Erdene, State Secretary at the Ministry of Roads and Transportation; Mr. Kichil Kwon, President of ITS Korea Federation and J. Sereeter, Head of the Institute of Road Transportation NGO.

The parties have agreed to the following as outlined in the MOU:

·         Introduce new techniques and technology necessary to permit further development of a Smart Transport System.

·         To freely exchange experimental and proven practices in developing Smart Transport Systems.

·         To build capacity through technical training of specialists and employees

·         To commit to the participation in future trainings and seminars organized by both sides.

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UB city and Hungarian Trade Mission ink MoU on cooperation

Ulaanbaatar, April 10 (MONTSAME) The Mayor of Ulaanbaatar E.Bat-Uul and the chief of Trade Mission of the Republic of Hungary to Mongolia R.Shandor inked a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in social, economic and urban development matters of Ulaanbaatar on Friday.

In frames of the Memorandum, the sides will co-implement joint projects and programs in many fields such as promoting social development, infrastructure, energy, electric and thermal power plants, city lighting, control cameras installation, Internet connection, introducing new hi tech in agricultural activities and medical services, in establishing new technology incubation centers and technological parks, as well in environment protection and culture and education spheres.

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Vice Ministers of Mongolia, Russia and China meet on transport cooperation

Ulaanbaatar, April 10 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Purevsuren received Friday the Vice ministers of road and transport of Mongolia, Russia and China.

These three are chairing on April 9-10 a second consultative meeting between Mongolia, Russia and China dedicated to the transport matters, under auspices of the President of Mongolia. The FM said the Mongolian side is focusing on railway issues at the meeting. "Mongolia proposes increasing the transit transports and taking certain quotes for Mongolia from the total load to be carried between China and Russia, provided that these transports are intensifying. If approved, it will facilitate our railways to have duo rails and have electrification. The financial and investment issues will be settled as well," the Minister said and reminded that Mongolia made an offer to establish a joint transport and logistics company.

A mechanism of Mongolia-Russia-China trilateral meetings of heads of states and of Vice FMs has been formed, and a meeting of Vice ministers of Road and Transport is to become its important part, he said.

The second meeting has been led by Kh.Erjan, the Vice minister of Road and Transport of Mongolia, A.S.Tsydenov, a Deputy minister of Transport in charge of railway transport matters of Russia, and Fu Shuani, a Vice chairman of the State Railways Authority of the People's Republic of China.

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First President of Mongolia Attends 18th Eurasian Economic Summit

April 10 ( On April 07-09, 2015, the 18th Eurasian Economic Summit was successfully held in Istanbul, Turkey and in his opening remarks, President of the Marmara Group Foundation Dr. Akkan Suver indicated that during the Summit several important topics would be touched including Finance, Telecommunication, IT, Energy, Transportation & Logistics and an Economic Bridge: Silk Road.

At the Summit delegates from 40 different countries involving Vice Prime Ministers, Ministers, Religious leaders and politicians have attended to exchange views, where Mongolia was represented by the first President P.Ochirbat, who delivered a speech on the development of Silk Road to connect Asia and Europe under new ideas of economic and political ties.

The Forum attached great importance on the reconstruction of Silk Road that will connect the Pacific Ocean with the Baltic Sea. Besides, the Silk Road will connect Basra Gulf with Indian Ocean. Within these connections new investments will be easier to conduct and they will be more efficient. Consequently, the number of new cooperation between countries will increase, said organizers. 

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Link to his speech


The Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index 2015: Mongolia 77/94

April 10 ( The Henley & Partners firm in collaboration with the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which maintains the world's largest database of travel information, have jointly released an annual the Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index for 2015.

The Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index is a global ranking of countries according to the travel freedom that their citizens enjoy.

Henley & Partners analyze the visa regulations of all countries and territories in the world and present an index which ranks each by the number of other countries that their citizens can travel to without having to obtain a visa.

In the 2015 Index there are 219 destination countries (territories) in total and the amount of nationalities (passports) evaluated is 199, of which 193 countries are UN Member States, where Mongolian nationals can travel without a visa to 51 states of the world and ranks at the 77th place on Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index 2015.

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Bill submitted on exempting customs duty on Austrian medical equipment aid

Ulaanbaatar, April 10 (MONTSAME) The Speaker Z.Enkhbold received on April 10 a draft law on exemption of customs taxation. The bill was presented by the Minister of Finance J.Erdenebat.

The draft has been developed due to the receipt of easy-term loan provided by the government of Austria in a scope of the Agreement on Financial Cooperation inked in November 28 of 2011.

Several healthcare and emergency projects will be implemented in frames of this agreement, the intended are on "Medical equipment renovation at National Oncology Center", "Equipment renovation at National Health Center for Mother and Infant", "Equipment renovation and capacity building at First General Hospital and hospital for state special service staff", "Introduction of new technology in Ulaanbaatar sewage system", "Capability improvement at Fire-fighting service at Emergency Department", informed the Minister.

In order to ensure a successful realization of these projects, it is necessary to free from the customs taxes all the equipment and instruments required for the projects, he said.  

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Ambassador of Belarus Stanislav Chepurnoy participates in the solemn events, dedicated to arriving of the Victory Relay to Ulaanbaatar

April 10 (MFA of Belarus) On April 10, 2015 Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Belarus to Mongolia Stanislav Chepurnoy took part in the solemn events, dedicated to arriving of the Victory Relay to Ulaanbaatar.

The representatives of General Authority for Border Protection of Mongolia, ambassadors of Russia and Kazakhstan in Mongolia also participated in the event.

The Mongolian side took up the torch of the Victory Relay at the solemn atmosphere near the Monument for the Memory of Soviet Warriors at Zaisan Mountain.

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Seoul hosts Mongolian traditional costumes fashion show on 25th anniversary of ties

April 12 (UB Post) The Embassy of Mongolia in South Korea and Shilmer Zagvar fashion center jointly organized a fashion show to celebrate the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and South Korea. The fashion show took place at three places, the National Assembly of South Korea, Chung-Ang University and Lotte Hotel for three days from April 7 to 9.

Officials of state organizations, members of Parliament, artists and businessmen of South Korea, and Mongolian diplomats and citizens in South Korea attended the fashion show.

Producer of G-Entertainment Studio D.Ganbold directed the show. Designer J.Tselmeg and D.Unurbold introduced 66 clothes made with felt, silk and cashmere at the show.

Models of Shilmel Zagvar fashion center wore the clothes on the runway. Famous violinist of Mongolia Ch.Delgertsetseg played Mongolian classical compositions at the show.

During the fashion show, the organizers opened "Wind from the Steppes" photography exhibition to the public.

"Wind From the Steppes" provided a glimpse of the splendor of Mongolia's natural beauty, along with the ancient nomadic culture of the Mongolian people, the majestic sceneries of Ulaanbaatar, and images of Mongolia's efforts to adopt democracy in the 1990s.

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Mongolian runway show features cultural pride

April 12 (The Korea Times) "Forget the old, nomadic Mongolia. Explore a new, culturally sophisticated Mongolia." 

This is the message Mongolian Ambassador Baasanjav Ganbold said he intended to convey to the Korean public through a fashion show his embassy organized to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of Korea-Mongolia diplomatic relations.

The runway show at the Lotte Hotel in Seoul on April 8 featured the past, the present and the future of Mongolia through three Mongolian designers' collections. The first collection showed a reinterpretation of Mongolian tradition, followed by cashmere pieces and evening dresses.

Ganbold said some of the Mongolian models are world-class professionals who appeared on the catwalks in Europe or the United States.

A Mongolian violinist played pop-style music at the show, adding fun and excitement to the anniversary event and drawing applause from the audience.

Until last year, Mongolian artists used to perform or showcase their works at exhibitions in Korea every year to celebrate the anniversary.

This year, Ambassador Ganbold said, he wanted to try something new and innovative because it marks the 25th anniversary of bilateral relations. Cultural pride motivated him to organize such a unique event. 

"I thought it would be great to showcase our nomadic and modern lifestyle through a fashion show which demonstrates the evolvement of the country from its past, to the present and the future," the envoy said. "Korea has a lot to offer to help Mongolia achieve economic growth. But at the same time, I think we, Mongolians also have things to offer to Korea. Culture is one of them."

Mongolians are culturally sophisticated, he said.

Renowned designer Lie Sang-bong, who watched the show at the reception, praised Ambassador Ganbold highly for showcasing his country's culture through such a dynamic event featuring music and high fashion.

"I was shocked at the fashion show. I mean that as a compliment. It was fantastic," he said.

Lie noted fashion is one of the most effective ways to help the public understand foreign culture because it is part of everybody's life and people know about fashion.

"The fashion show helped me build understanding of Mongolian culture. I clearly could see the unique characteristics of Mongolian culture through high fashion that featured on the show. It was a very good idea," he said. 

"One thing that I regret about today's runway show is that if it were me, I would have tried to add a collection featuring the fashion trends of the host country simply because this event is for the anniversary of bilateral relations."

The Embassy of Mongolia hosted another fashion show at the National Assembly on April 9. 

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Mongolia marks silver jubilee with fashion – Korea Herald, April 12

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Social, Environmental & Other

Guest Post: Mongols on the International Film Stage

By Marissa Smith

Mongols on the International Film Stage: Negotiating the International Relations of Mongolia By Means of Their Understanding by Others

April 11 (Mongolia Focus) During a press conference in Berlin March 3rd with Chancellor Merkel, President Elbegdorj quipped, "Die Mongolen sind wieder da, aber mit friedlichen Absichten!" (The Mongols are back, but with friendly intentions!") In meetings coinciding with the International Tourism Fair (ITB) in Berlin, Mongolian officials called on Germany to support further involvement in Mongolian transport infrastructure, perhaps involving Lufthansa as well as rail projects needed to access natural resources (particularly rare earth minerals that Germany has expressed interest about in recent years).

President Elbegdorj's comment reveals the quality of the tourism fair and government talks as not simply Mongolia's asking for development aid or marketing its natural resource commodities, but as Mongolia beckoning foreign partners while managing and capitalizing on these partners' own strong impressions and ideas about Mongolia and Mongols. Since Mongolia's Democratic Revolution (now a period of twenty-five years), films about Mongols have been another example of how Mongolians often use and negotiate with, rather than flatly deny the validity of, understandings that others have of them.

With Wolf Totem's recent release and box office success in France, China, and Mongolia, Mongolia's presence on the international film stage continues to demonstrate how Mongolians maintain involvement in creative works spearheaded by others and use them to build further international relations, but ones that usually remain un-depicted in international popular culture.

Directed by Jean Annaud (Seven Years in Tibet, The Name of the Rose, The Bear, Enemy at the Gates) and produced by China's largest state film enterprise (China Film Group),Wolf Totem is based on the semi-autobiographical novel by Lu Jiamin, who penned the book using the pseudonym Jiang Rong. Translated into Mongolian in 2010, the novel was a best-seller in Mongolia as well as in China and the United States. As in the case of Sergei Bodrov's "Mongol," however, only one of the lead actors was Mongolian, the female love interest (R. Ankhnam in Wolf Totem as Gasmaa, and Khulan Chuluun as Borte inMongol). A few additional cast members (including Gasmaa's husband Batu who dies around halfway through the film) were Mongols from China and Russia.

Early responses to the book and to the film in Mongolian online journalism and associated discussions have thus far not much elaborated on the lack of Mongolian actors per se, let alone how Chinese (and Russians, in the case of Mongol and Urga) frame relations with Mongolia and Mongols in terms of gender. (See Uradyn Bulag's collections The Mongols at China's Edge and Collaborative Nationalism in particular for this, and the study of these films for their insight into the Chinese and Russian sides of their relations with Mongolia is definitely further merited but beyond the scope of this post).

Rather, early discussions in the Mongolian context have:

1.    Emphasized the international character of the film and the role of Mongolians and Mongolia as part of a particular international endeavor and general international community. An American connection is made by citing director Jean Annaud as "Oscar-winning" and the participation of actors from France, Canada, and Australia ( as well as China and Mongolia is noted. Most news stories coming up in a search of "Chonon Suld" (the title of the film in Mongolian) around the release are features about Mongolian actress R. Ankhnam, and comments of "amjilt khusii Ankhnam" ("wishing you success, Ankhnam") are common in threads below articles about the film.

2.    Debated about the accuracy with which Mongolian culture is portrayed. It is within these discussions that (widely varying) comments about the Mongolness of Inner Mongols are made and (often very strong and violently put) critical statements of Mongol-Chinese relations made. See in particular the argumentative comments on an article describing a panel of academics' denouncement of the film's accuracy vis-à-vis Mongolian culture (, and a piece comparing the making ofWolf Totem to that of Urga, in the sense that Mongolia disallowed production and China saw opportunity so the films were made in Inner Mongolia: Recall that "Mongol" was filmed in Kazakhstan after the Mongolian government also refused Bodrov's script. Also here ( is another opinion piece critical of the film's representation of Mongolian practices that obliquely comments on the film's reflection of Mongolian-Chinese relations more broadly. I would emphasize however, that comments approving of the film are prevalent, including encouragements that all Mongols see the film and "khiimor sergeene" (

In short, through ambivalence and debate about the accuracy of films about Mongolia and Mongols that have taken prominent positions in international popular culture, Mongolians reconsider thorny issues of national and international identity and relation among themselves while enticing foreigners to visit Mongolia as the truly authentic site of the timelessly pastoral and environmentally friendly. The film will undoubtedly spur tourists to visit this summer and in years to come.

Unfortunately, creative international relations like those involved in the making of Wolf Totem (for instance the involvement of Mongolian wolves and gazelles and Canadian animal trainers:, and Jean Annaud's dramatic shift in relation to the Chinese government:, unfortunately remain largely unportrayed in international popular culture.

The converse is true of the Sundance-winning Genghis Blues, a point of reference for many Americans interested in Mongolia, while I have not known Mongolians to claim as their own (the film was made in and about Americans and Tuvans in Tuva). Mongolian-made films shown at international film festivals vary widely in this regard, yet the most prestigious awards go to those that maintain the illusion of Mongolians as isolated and timeless (The Story of the Weeping Camel) or undergoing a violation of this isolation and along with it the disruption of supposedly socially and environmentally critical tradition (Khadag).

In any case, being perceived as quaint and naive "grasslanders," let alone marauding hordes (in both cases as essentially anti-international) compromises Mongolian's ability to pursue international relationships as an experienced and developed partner, as it continues to drive hard bargains in international mining projects and seek a direct flight between Ulaanbaatar and Berlin operated by Lufthansa.

(Special thanks to "Olav" for helping me access the film! I also thank him and others for their conversations about Wolf Totem on Facebook.)

About Marissa Smith

Marissa J. Smith is a PhD Candidate in Anthropology at Princeton University. Her dissertation work concerns relationships of "international friendship" in Erdenet, Mongolia, which involve Russians as well as Americans, mining engineers as well as herders. Marissa works to bring this ethnographic work to bear in conversations on alterity and translation, nationalism, corporations, development, and social mobility, particularly between urban centers and so-called rural peripheries.

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"A Million Trees" Campaign to Start Nationwide from April 15

April 10 ( Starting from April 15, 2015, the Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism of Mongolia appraises for "A Million Tree" campaign nationwide and the movement is not only purposed to plant a tree and "leave" as a regular annual National Tree Day being held twice a year, but also it aims to continuously show the tree caring.

The campaign is targeted to involve more public by providing planting guides, and teach the right way to plant tree and shrub, when to prune and many more advices will be performed.

The Million Tree program will be implemented across the country in two phases, first - to plant between April 15 and September 15, and the second - to tree caring such as watering and restoring from October 01 to November 01, 2015.

Moreover, in order to promote the activity, organizers pledge to reward the best three Aimags, one District of Ulaanbaatar and four Sums (administrative unit of an aimag) with monetary prizes and certificates.

"A Million Tree" Program Awards

Best three Aimags

1 place (1 Aimag) - 8.0 million MNT (Tugrug)

2 place - 5.0 million MNT

3 place - 3.0 million MNT

Best District of Ulaanbaatar

One District will be a winner and rewarded with 5.0 million MNT

Best four Sums

1 place - 5.0 million MNT

2 place - 3.0 million MNT

3 place - 2.0 million MNT

4 place - 1.0 million MNT

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"Cool School" Finalists Respond to Mongolia's Extreme Climate

April 11 (Arch Daily) The sixth international competition by Building Trust International, this year's "Cool School" design competition is in its final stage. Participants were challenged with the task of designing a school addition for 100 students responsive to the extreme climatic conditions of Mongolia, emphasizing adaptability, aesthetics, and comfort. Of over 180 submissions, one winner and nine honorable mentions will be selected by a jury and announced on May 1, 2015.

In celebration of the creative designs, Building Trust International has created a Facebook gallery of all the competition entries. Check out 12 selected designs after the break.

You can see all of the Cool School proposals here.

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"Spring Vitamin" Seven Lectures to Discuss Seven Vital Topics of Today

April 10 ( The English Academy of Mongolia is organizing a single event "Spring Vitamin" hosting a seven-lecture by top seven speakers to get acquaint the audience with 7 vital topics of today.

The event will be taking place at the UB Palace in Ulaanbaatar starting from 03:00 pm on April 12, 2015, where each speaker will be delivering a speech of 20 minutes followed by answer-questions.

The "Spring Vitamin" Lecture Topics and Speakers

1.    "Goal: Mongolian youth and the right ways to reach a financial freedom" by Mrs. J.Oyungerel, Director-General of "Petrovis" LLC

2.    "Education: Mongolian youth and opportunities to obtain the world education by own skills not by money" by Mrs. Ts.Oyungerel, Member of Parliament

3.    "Changes: A man's miraculous achievements" by Mr. B.Gansukh, lecturer

4.    "Choices: The ability to make right choices" by Mr. Ts.Khureltulga, Director of English Academy of Mongolia

5.    "Relations: The wonderful art of communication" by Mrs. L.Narantuya, Attorney and Family & Marriage Consultant

6.    "A Mongolian Man: Reasons to be a Mongolian" by Mrs. Z.Bat-Otgon, President of Monukol, the Academy of Mongol Intellect

7.    "Love: Studying the science of love" by Mrs. Ts.Sarantsetseg, Head of Sri Sri Center, the Art of Living Foundation

An entrance ticket costs 5,000 MNT (Tugrug) and this is a fund-raising campaign to sponsor the "The Top 100 World 100% Scholarships" event as well to donate for the treatment of children with cancer.

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Kearney teen helps keep Mongolian children in school

Crockett started the Mongolian Scholars Fund

April 11 (Kearney Hub) Being able to help others makes Kearney teenager Cyrus Crockett feel grateful.

"It's a privilege to help," he said. "I think if people could see (a need), they would do the same thing I am doing."

Well, maybe. After all, not every 16-year-old starts a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of students across the world.

But Crockett isn't an average teenager. He started the Mongolian Scholars Fund, a 501(c)(3) organization, in 2014 after witnessing firsthand the issues Mongolian students face.

Crockett has always been interested in the country and culture of Mongolia.

It started when he was a kid, Crockett said, learning about Genghis Khan's epic land empire that stretched across the steppes of central Asia.

A trip to the landlocked country located between China and Russia gave the then 14-year-old a different aspect of Mongolian culture to focus on: the plight of Mongolians who live in slums on the outskirts of cities.

His knowledge and understanding of the problems facing the country are vast and impressive.

In the last 20 years, many factors have contributed to the current crises in Mongolia, Crockett said.

Large mineral deposits were discovered in the countryside, and mining companies have developed the land. That means some nomadic people, animal herders in the Mongolian tradition, were displaced.

Also, a natural occurrence called the zud (or dzud) has caused thousands of herding animals to die.

A zud comes in many forms, but it's essentially a prolonged series of harsh winter conditions. During a zud, temperatures can drop to as cold as -50 degrees Fahrenheit. This can kill animals from exposure or starvation, if the short and stubby grasses on the plains are covered in snow or ice.

According to a 2013 report from the Finnish Red Cross, in 2009-2010, 8.5 million cattle died during the zud, a figure that amounted to 18 percent of the country's total herd. And in recent years, the zud phenomenon has been occurring in consecutive years, causing many Mongolian herders to find a new way of life.

"Because their livelihoods are destroyed, they've had to migrate to the cities," Crockett explained. As a result, Ulaanbaatar, the country's capital, is surrounded by vast slums called the Ger Districts.

"They've ended up there, to start a new life and to assimilate into what is now their future."

And while living in the Ger Districts comes with many problems such as high heating costs and pollution, Crockett is focusing his non-profit's efforts on education. The Mongolian government has set up schools for the children of the Ger Districts, but getting there can be impossible in the harsh conditions of the zud. If a child doesn't have warm winter clothing, they cannot travel to school in the freezing temperatures.

"They end up not going for 2, 3, or 4 months if it's a bad year," Crockett said. "When they finally do end up going back, they are so far behind they can't catch up."

Currently, the organization's main project is clothing children. For around $15, the Mongolian Scholars Fund can purchase warm boots and long coats for one child to keep him or her warm on the journey to and from school. All of the group's donations go directly toward purchasing and distributing clothing.

"We've been able to clothe one entire school," Crockett said. "We're really excited about it, but we want to do more."

Crockett said he believes the project will have long-term benefits for the entire nation of Mongolia.

"What if in third grade, that's all (the education) you would ever have?" he said. "Even if we can't reach everybody, even if we can keep them going for one more year or two more years, I think that will ultimately benefit both them and the rest of Mongolia in the long run."

Crockett is the president of the Mongolian Scholars Fund. He set up and registered the organization for IRS tax-exempt status by himself. He is aided by a handful of individuals from around the U.S. Crockett attends high school at Stanford University's online high school, which gives him flexibility in his studies.

"It works well for me," he said. "It allows me to do this, because otherwise it would be difficult."

When not working on the Mongolian Scholars Fund or doing homework, Crockett said he enjoys cycling, traveling and learning new languages. Right now, he's studying Mandarin.

Crockett said his parents, Heber and Carrie Crockett, have been supportive of his endeavors, and he's thankful for their assistance and guidance.

During his first visit to Mongolia, Crockett said he was struck by how some portions of the country are untouched, with no signs of humanity dotting the large, gradual hills of the plains. He toured the Ger Districts and said he was touched by the humility and generosity of the culture.

Seeing such a strong willingness to welcome others made an impact on Crockett, he said. He insists that he doesn't deserve accolades or praise for his work.

"I don't think I'm special in terms of helping people," he said. "I bet most people help people, and if most people would see what's going on I think that people would help."

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U.S. to face off Mongolia at wrestling's Freestyle World Cup

April 12 (Westside L.A. Today) The U.S. defeated Cuba and Russia in pool matches today at wrestling's Freestyle World Cup at the Forum.

The U.S. will face Mongolia (1-1) at 11 a.m. today in the final pool match for both teams. If the Americans win, they would advance to the championship match at 5:45 p.m. against the Group B winner.

Iran (2-0) will face Azerbaijan (2-0) in the final Group B match at 12:30 p.m. to determine the group winner.

The U.S. defeated Cuba 6-2, winning the final six matches after losing the first two, before a crowd announced at 2,411. The U.S. defeated Russia, 17- 16 on classification points after each team won four matches.

The U.S. trailed Russia, 16-13, in classification points heading into the final match, with American heavyweight Tervel Dlagnev needing to defeat Arslanbek Aliev by a fall or a technical fall and not allow a point to give the U.S. victory. Dlagnev won 10-0.

Iran defeated Belarus, 8-0, and Turkey, 7-1, amid rhythmic cheers of "Iran" during its matches. The concourse of the Forum was decked with Iranian flags.

The Freestyle World Cup is wrestling's annual dual meet championship and has been held annually since 1973. Iran has won each of the past three years.

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Riverside High School plays host to Mongolian wrestling team

April 9 (The Press Entreprise) When Riverside King High School wrestling coach Harlan Kistler heard the Mongolian men's national wrestling team needed lodging for its visit to Southern California, he didn't hesitate to open his doors.

The 20-man Mongolian contingent, ages 17-35, in town for the 2015 Freestyle World Cup on Saturday and Sunday at the Forum in Inglewood, mostly doesn't speak English and would seem to share little in the way of background and life experiences with members of the Inland area wrestling community.

Other than wrestling, of course, which proved to be all the common ground the two sides needed to open the doors for a rich cultural exchange.

"There's a mutual respect in any country (among wrestlers), like a brotherhood, and everybody kind of supports each other in other countries," Kistler said. "I think there's a lot of respect outside of the ring because you're all working hard."

The team's three-day stay in Riverside started out as you might expect.

After rendezvousing with his guests, Kistler whisked the group straight to the King wrestling room for an intense practice. Following the workout, Kistler realized the facility's showers were out of order and he was soon back at home confronting the realities of hosting 20 athletes head on.

"It's like a labor of love. It's weird logistically because there's so many people, but they're so pleasant and so humble," Kistler said. "This saves them money and we get the resource of them talking to our kids, telling them what it's like in their country and about their culture, their values, their discipline."

The group returned to King each of the next two nights to practice and each night the crowd of local onlookers swelled, eager to get a glimpse of some of the best wrestlers in the world and learn from their stories.

High school wrestlers from as far away as the Coachella Valley, as well as some members of the Wolves program, turned out on Wednesday and the Cal Baptist men's wrestling team was on hand to scrimmage with the Mongolians.

"When (Kistler) told me the Mongolian team (was here), I said, 'Hey, we need to bring whoever wants to come, I don't care what school they're from," said Indio High wrestling coach Ramon Villalobos, who brought over a dozen wrestlers from his school, Coachella Valley, Shadow Hills and Desert Mirage. "I think they learn a lot from the different cultures and just seeing what they did to the college wrestlers. They're from another level than we're normally seeing."

Mongolian wrestling dates back to the Neolithic Age and is historically one of the three primary tenets of manhood in Mongolian culture, along with archery and horseback riding. It remains the country's most popular sport and an aspiration for youth all over the country.

It's also vastly different from American wrestling in its training and techniques, which was a surprise to Kistler, who remembers practicing four times and running 12 miles daily when training for the American junior national team.

"They just come in here and wrestle and have fun and they're in great shape and ready to go," he said. "They have a more relaxed approach to it, they enjoy it and they seem to have a lot of longevity, not a lot of injuries."

Those on hand Wednesday were also impressed by the strength and quickness of the Mongolians, who favor standing tie-ups and throwing and are adept at controlling opponents through changing from one position to another while staying on the attack.

"I picked up a lot of new moves and their mentality is just way different from the guys around here," King freshman wrestler Adrian Salgado said. "That was good to see. Some of them grew up with no running water at their house, so just to hear that it really hit me how thankful I am to be in a good area."

The Mongolian squad left quite an impression on everyone they encountered, and the exchange went both ways.

"I've done a lot of trips myself," said Steve Barrett, a coach with the Mongolian team who coordinates international exchanges for wrestlers through the sport-based evangelical ministry Athletes In Action. "It's one thing to stay in a hotel, but the ones that I've organized that actually stayed with local families, they've liked that so much better. They've gotten to eat with American families, see how they live, live in their houses. The coaches have been really warm and friendly and hospitable, really taken them in and helped them in any way that they can."

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O.Gundegmaa claims Olympic berth at ISSF World Cup 2015

By B. Tungalag

April 12 (UB Post) The ISSF World Cup is taking place in Changwon, South Korea from April 8 to 15.

2008 Olympic silver medalist, State Honored Athlete and Labor Hero O.Gundegmaa of Mongolia won a gold medal in the women's 25 m pistol event on April 10. She was followed by Chinese shooter Lin Yuemei. Seventy athletes participated in the women's 25 m pistol event.

O.Gundegmaa closed the semi-final in the lead with 18 hits, with one point advantage over Yuemei. In the medal match, O.Gundegmaa scored five hits in three consecutive series. Both O.Gundegmaa and Lin Yuemei were awarded a Rio 2016 Quota Place.

The bronze medal went to Bulgaria's four-time World Cup bronze medalist Antoaneta Boneva.

International Sports Master T.Bayartsetseg and International Sports Master Ts.Munkhzul competed in the same event as O.Gundegmaa, and placed 32nd and 49th respectively.

More than 570 athletes from 68 countries are competing in the ISSF Rifle and Pistol World Cup in Changwon.

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'Romeo and Juliet' Dinosaurs Found Buried Together in Mongolia

The couple was unearthed after 75 million years

April 3 (TIME) Researchers uncovered a dinosaur couple that had been buried together for more than 75 million years and gave them the nicknames "Romeo and Juliet."

The dinosaurs, a pair of oviraptors, were found to have physical differences suggesting they were male and female, similar to the gender differences seen in modern birds, the researchers wrote in the journal Scientific Reports. They were discovered within about 20 centimeters of each other in the Gobi Desert, Mongolia.

It's likely that the love birds were killed in a sand dune collapse brought on by heavy rains, and therefore buried alive—suggesting a more apt pair of nicknames might be Aida and Radamès.

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