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Monday, April 6, 2015
Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original
Mogi: ASX, HKEx, LSE closed today for Easter but NA markets will open today
Mongolia's Leader Takes to TV and Texting to Win Back Investment
By Michael Kohn
April 5 (Bloomberg) Mongolian Prime Minister Saikhanbileg Chimed stands out from predecessors in his use of national television and texting to get his message across to the public: Without foreign investment, the economy is going nowhere.
Mogi: wouldn't characterize it as "approving." Rio never needed approval to go forward with Phase II, but needed tax, disputes to be settled first.
Mongolia approves new phase of Rio Tinto mine project: PM
April 5 (AFP) Mongolian Prime Minister Chimediin Saikhanbileg announced on Sunday that his Cabinet has decided to proceed with the second phase of a huge foreign-invested copper and gold mine that has divided opinion in the resource-rich Central Asian nation.
Saikhanbileg said in a nationally televised address that the decision regarding the Oyu Tolgoi mine was in the national interest.
"Some of us have to make decisions," he said. "It's time to do this," he added.
"As a prime minister, I recognise my responsibility of making historic decisions essential to the country."
Sprawling and sparsely-populated Mongolia has enjoyed world-leading economic growth in recent years -- peaking at 17.5 percent in 2011 -- on the back of a minerals boom exemplified by the giant copper- and gold-laden Oyu Tolgoi mine, which is operated by Anglo-Australian resources giant Rio Tinto.
But that performance has slumped to troubling levels, as rising resource nationalism and an increasingly stringent investment environment led many foreign investors to abandon the country.
Saikhanbileg said that Mongolia and Rio Tinto had reached agreement "in principle" and that an official announcement would come soon after final details were worked out.
The second phase of Oyu Tolgoi will result in a $4.2 billion investment in Mongolia, he said.
The government and Oyu Tolgoi had been locked in negotiations for two years on the second phase of the mine. Late last month Rio Tinto chief executive Sam Walsh visited Mongolia for talks on the issue.
The decision to move forward on Oyu Tolgoi follows a controversial text message referendum in early February in which Mongolians voted to back stalled foreign investment in natural resources.
The referendum, backed by Saikhanbileg, saw 56.1 percent of respondents support increased overseas investment in megaprojects such as the Oyu Tolgoi mine that could stimulate the troubled economy.
Saikhanbileg used the text poll to seek a mandate less than three months after he took office via parliamentary negotiations after his predecessor was ousted.
But the vote was controversial and strongly criticised by opponents who saw it as a political manouevre by the prime minister, who backs resource development as a way to boost the country's weakening economy.
Mongolia last held parliamentary elections in 2012. President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj was re-elected for another four-year term in 2013.
Foreign direct investment into the landlocked country wedged between giants China and Russia crashed 74 percent last year, according to the central bank.
In January, a Mongolian court sentenced three former foreign mining executives to prison for tax evasion in a case that sent a further chill over foreign investors. But Elbegdorj issued a presidential pardon for the men in February.
Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg National Address, April 5
Unofficial English Translation provided by Khan Investment Management
Entrée Gold CEO Gregory Crowe Sees Opportunity in Mongolia
Those who follow the copper space have no doubt heard of the Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia.
April 1 (Copper Investing News) The project, which includes an open-pit mine and a series of other deposits all managed by Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO,ASX:RIO,LSE:RIO), has been making headlines in recent months over disputes between the company and the Mongolian government that have held up underground development. Market watchers may remember that Oyu Tolgoi was once 66-percent owned by Robert Friedland's Ivanhoe Mines (TSX:IVN), which became Turquoise Hill Resources (TSX:TRQ) after Rio Tinto assumed control of it in 2012.
However, there's another company in the mix that not all market watchers may know about: Canada's Entrée Gold (TSX:ETG). Entrée has been working to develop the massive Ann Mason copper deposit in Nevada, but it also has the Lookout Hill property in Mongolia. Lookout Hill completely surrounds the Oyu Tolgoi mining license, and Entrée has a 20-percent carried joint venture interest in two deposits that cross over the license boundaries. Currently, Rio Tinto is one of Entrée's largest shareholders and is also the acting manager of the Lookout Hill joint venture.
So how does a junior get involved with a company like Rio Tinto? To find out, Resource Investing News spoke with Gregory Crowe, president, director and CEO of Entrée, about the company's foray into Mongolia. Crowe also spoke about mining in Mongolia in general and what he thinks the future holds for mineral extraction in the country.
How the partnership came to be
According to Crowe, Entrée's Oyu Tolgoi story goes all the way back to 2002, when Ivanhoe Mines was still running things at the project. With the famous Friedland heading up Ivanhoe, Entrée took advantage of an opportunity to secure a large land position surrounding the project.
That move paid off quickly. Ivanhoe moved drilling towards the northern boundary of its project — close to Entrée's Lookout Hill — and soon enough, Friedland wanted to do a deal to secure a portion of Entrée's property. The papers were signed in 2004, Ivanhoe became Entrée's largest shareholder and exploration success followed shortly after.
"In the middle of 2005, Ivanhoe intercepted 608 metres of 3.25 percent copper equivalent, which is one of the largest, richest intercepts in a porphyry copper-gold system ever recorded," said Crowe. "That attracted the attention of Rio Tinto."
Within a few weeks, Rio had bumped Ivanhoe out of the top shareholder position for Entrée. It started buying up Ivanhoe as well, eventually assuming control in 2012 and changing the company's name to Turquoise Hill Resources.
Currently, Entrée's largest shareholder is Sandstorm Gold (TSX:SSL), a royalty company, but Rio Tinto and Turquoise Hill still have significant holdings.
Part of Oyu Tolgoi
It's a little hard to follow, but Entrée is definitely part of the plan for the massive Oyu Tolgoi mine. The joint venture's Hugo North Extension copper-gold deposit is the northern continuation of the Hugo Dummet orebody, the bulk of which is on the Oyu Tolgoi license. The other joint venture deposit, the Heruga copper-gold-molybdenum deposit, is the southernmost deposit in the series.
"Hugo North Extension hosts some of the highest-grade mineralization of the entire Oyu Tolgoi project, and it is key to the underground mining development," Crowe said. "We are part of the mine plan, and we are part of the first lift underground mining at Oyu Tolgoi, once Rio Tinto and the Mongolian government resolve their outstanding issues."
Caught in a tangle
At the moment, underground development at Oyu Tolgoi is still stalled — neither party appears to want to move forward until the issue of how to pay for the second phase of underground development at the mine is sorted out, and other shareholder issues are resolved.
The first phase of development cost about $6.5 billion. The Mongolian government owns 34 percent of phase 1 of the project (Mogi: and Phase II), and thus is responsible for 34 percent of those costs. At the end of the day, the government ended up debt financing its share of the costs, and its payout from the project has been pushed further back.
Crowe pointed out that there is the potential, with several of the world's leading banks, to finance the mine's underground development, but Mongolia won't sign off until other issues it sees are taken care of.
For its part, Entrée's share of underground development costs are taken care of. "Our debt financing package is prime plus 2 percent, which is a pretty good rate," he said, "and we are carried through to production with absolutely no repayment except out of production."
Of course, with all that's going on in the country and with issues surrounding jurisdiction becoming more and more important, one had to ask what drew Entrée to Mongolia in the first place.
The spirit of Crowe's answer can be summed up in one word: opportunity.
"We moved there because in essence, there was a ground position surrounding Ivanhoe's license," he reiterated, "It was an opportunity for a junior resource company to get in early, [and] we decided as a company that it would be worth the risk."
Crowe reasoned that if nothing had come out of Entree's foray into Mongolia, the company simply would have been, "another junior resource company that fell by the wayside."
"But, we decided to take the risk, and we ended up being part of a world class project that attracted the attention of major companies," he added.
And while Oyu Tolgoi is still tied up at the moment, Crowe expressed optimism about the future of mining in Mongolia. He noted that after several years of a fairly nationalistic government, the implementation of a foreign investment law that was relatively hostile to foreign investors, and the imprisonment of one US resident and two Filipino residents in the wake of issues with coal company South Gobi Resources (TSX:SCQ), things were not looking great as far as investment in the country goes.
Still, the tide could be turning. Mongolia made significant changes to its foreign investment law and recently pardoned those three executives. Crowe also noted that the country has a new prime minister who is committed to resolving issues and moving the country forward.
More recently, Crowe met with Mongolia's new Minister for Mining and Energy, R. Jigjid (Mogi: just Mining), at this year's PDAC conference in Toronto. Overall, he suggested that the tone of the meeting confirmed this view.
"He's very optimistic that the attitude of the new government is to get these issues resolved, particularly with respect to Oyu Tolgoi and moving the whole process forward," he said. Certainly, investors will be keeping a close watch to see how the project plays out.
"I do have faith in Mongolia. I think it'll change," said Crowe. "I think this is the year it will turn around. And that'll be a very important event for Entrée."
Mongolia Growth Group Ltd. Announces Issuance of Stock Options and Settlement of Outstanding Debt
Toronto, Ontario, April 2 (FSCwire) - Mongolia Growth Group Ltd. (YAK - TSXV) Mongolia Growth Group Ltd. ("MGG" or the "Company") announces that subject to the approval of the TSX Venture Exchange, the Company intends to issue a total of 640,691 common shares of the Company at a price of CDN $0.82 per share in settlement of outstanding amounts owed by the Company in the amount of US $420,000. On issuance, the shares will be subject to a four month hold period from the date of issuance.
The Company also announces today that a total of 935,000 5-year, stock options to purchase shares of MGG at an exercise price of CDN $0.72 per share have been granted to employees and a consultant of MGG subject to TSX Venture Exchange approval. These options have been issued pursuant to the Company's Stock Option Plan in order to attract, retain and motivate new and existing employees and consultants of the Company.
MSE Weekly Trading Report: MSE ALL +0.17%, Turnover ₮66.1 Million Stocks, ₮587 Million T-Bills
April 6 (MSE) Mongolian Stock Exchange organized 5 securities trading sessions and made transaction of MNT653,103,024.00 million between 30 March 2015 and 03 April 2015.
49,465 shares of 41 joint stock companies worth of MNT 66,103,024.00 were traded.
MOST ACTIVILY TRADED SECURITIES
MOST ACTIVE BROKERAGE COMPANIES IN SHARE TRADING
Ard capital group
Eurasiac Capital mongolia
Government retail bonds trading:
5,870 Government retail bonds worth of MNT587,000,000.00 were traded through one trading session.
MOST ACTIVE BROKERAGE COMPANIES IN GOVERNMENT SECURITIES TRADING
As of 03 April 2015, market capitalization was MNT 1,329,048,983,821.02 which indicated increase of 0.17%, and MSE ALL index reached 969.21 units which indicated increases 0.92% from the previous week.
FRC Approves Relisting of Javkhlant Kharaa JSC on MSE
April 2 (MSE) According to the resolution No.:246 of Financial Regulatory Commission dated on 25 June 2014, listing review report of official letter request No.:01/121 of "Javkhlan Kharaa" JSC dated on 12 January 2015, 58,543 shares with MNT100.00 face value of "Javkhlant Kharaa" JSC has been relisted at Mongolian stock exchange.
FRC Suspends Argai Best's Brokerage License
April 6 (MSE) According to the official enforcement No.:30 of state inspector of Financial Regulatory Commission dated on 3 April 2015, the trading license of "Argai Best" LLC suspended from 6 April 2015.
MSE E-Newsletter, March 2015
April 3 (MSE) --
· Government bonds worth MNT49.2 billion traded through 4 trading sessions in March.
· Additional Government Securities worth MNT100.0 billion registered at MSE.
· Detailed information about govern-ment retail bonds.
· Decisions of Mongolian Stock Exchange and Financial Regulatory Commission
· Annual reports summary of MSE's member securities companies.
· First two months of glass account's brief report of Mongolian stock exchange.
· Notice of annual meetings that will be held on March
· Mongolian stock exchange held meeting with a project team of JICA
· D.ANGAR: Mongolian capital market's transparency and accountability should be increased
MSE March Report: MSE ALL -2.71% to 958.34, Turnover ₮1.3 Billion Stocks, ₮49.8 Billion T-Bills
April 2 (MSE) Mongolian Stock Exchange organized 22 securities trading sessions and made transaction of MNT51.2 billion between 01 March 2015 and 31 March 2015.
MOST ACTIVE BROKERAGE COMPANIES
Daewoo Securities Mongolia
643.2 thousand shares of 71 joint stock companies worth of MNT1.3 billion were traded.
MOST ACTIVILY TRADED SECURITIES
Value /million MNT/
"Talkh chiker" JSC
"Material Impex" JSC
"Tavan tolgoi" JSC
"Dornod avto zam" JSC
Government retail bonds trading:
515,900 Government retail bonds worth of MNT49.8 billion were traded through 5 trading sessions. 127 Government retail bonds worth MNT12.4 million were traded on secondary market trading.
MOST ACTIVE BROKERAGE COMPANIES IN GOVERNMENT SECURITIES TRADING
Value /billion MNT/
Daewoo Securities Mongolia
Out of 71 traded stocks, share price of 16 JSC increased, 33 decreased and 22 remained at same price compared to the same period of last month.
Market Capitalization and MSE ALL index:
As of March 2015, market capitalization was MNT1.311 trillion which indicated decrease of 2.46% and MSE ALL index decreased 2.71% to 958.34 from Last month. MSE ALL index maximum was 987.91, minimum was 957.37 and average was 973.17.
BoM MNT Rates: Friday, April 3 Close
MNT vs USD (blue), CNY (red) in last 1 year:
BoM FX auction: US$4m sold at ₮1,985.91, CNY50m at ₮320, accepts $4.3m MNT, $63.5m USD swap offers
April 2 (Bank of Mongolia) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on April 2nd, 2015 the BOM has received bid offers of USD 15.1 million in a rate between MNT 1983.31-1986.11 and CNY 55.0 million in a rate of MNT 319.76-320.40 from local commercial banks. BOM has sold USD 4.0 million in a rate of 1985.91 and CNY 50.0 million with rate of 320.00.
On April 2nd, 2015, The BOM has received MNT Swap agreement bid offer in equivalent to USD 4.3 and USD Swap agreement bid offer of USD 63.5 million from local commercial banks and accepted the offer.
BoM issues ₮100 billion 1-week bills at 13%, total outstanding -22.4% to ₮287.5 billion
April 3 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 100 billion at a weighted interest rate of 13.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/
Mongolia must accept blame over Rio Tinto mine dispute - PM
ULAN BATOR, APRIL 3 (Reuters) - Mongolia must take much of the blame for a dispute with Rio Tinto that has delayed the expansion of a $6.5 billion copper mine and disrupted economic growth, the country's prime minister said.
The construction of the second underground phase of the Oyu Tolgoi project has been on hold since August, 2013, amid complaints about cost overruns and a dispute over tax.
"Much of the blame (for the delay) goes to us," said Prime Minister Chimed Saikhanbileg, who was appointed late last year with the task of kickstarting an economy rattled by falling commodity prices and a 74-percent slump in foreign investment last year.
Amid concerns about the growing role played by foreign firms in its mineral-dependent economy, Mongolia passed a series of laws and regulations designed to raise tax revenue and impose greater domestic control over "strategic" mining assets.
Parliamentarians even sought to renegotiate the terms of the 2009 Oyu Tolgoi agreement, which granted 66 percent of the project to Ivanhoe Mines, now known as Turquoise Hill Resources and majority owned by Rio Tinto.
But Saikhanbileg, speaking at the annual Mongolia Economic Forum, said that some of the regulations had been badly conceived and implemented, and that Mongolia had "lost credibility".
"We need that credibility at this time when we move ahead with the Oyu Tolgoi underground mine project," he said, according to a transcript published by the Business Council of Mongolia on Friday.
He pointed to a decision to impose a "progressive royalty" without even informing Rio Tinto, which led to the closure of the project's domestic bank account, diverting all the mine's cash flows overseas and undermining trust in Mongolia itself.
"That happened some time ago, but it was a key problem element in the long-term negotiations between Oyu Tolgoi and the government," said Jim Dwyer, the executive director of the Business Council of Mongolia.
The two sides have also been in dispute over a claim by Mongolia for unpaid tax. An official said earlier this week that there has now been a breakthrough and that "misunderstandings" surrounding the tax regime had now been resolved.
"They're making a lot of progress," Dwyer said about current negotiations between the government and Rio Tinto. The Business Council of Mongolia has 225 local and international members, including Rio Tinto and Oyu Tolgoi.
Unofficial translation by BCM
PM Saikhanbileg's Opening Remarks at Mongolia Economic Forum 2015
April 2 --
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am honored and privileged to open this year's Economic Forum.
I hope that we will conduct warm dialogues and discussions on how the social and economic challenges Mongolia has faced can be addressed and we all will seek right solutions and find objective ones and as a result, it will allow us to organize the Forum effectively.
I wish that all the pressing issues would be discussed in the MEF's plenary and panel discussions and each input be set forth in decisions, each decision be a way to address one confusion or challenge we have faced.
Let me put these topics aside for today as I am going to extend the updates on the economic actions the Government of Mongolia has taken and some policy issues it has planned to address as well as major projects and development to the public via the televisions this Sunday.
The MEF organizers didn't select the motto of this year's Forum accidentally.
Today, the expression "building credibility" has been more important than ever before.
The experience and developments we have had indicate that trust built on one side only never succeeds. As long as one side's trust becomes both sides' credibility a form of cooperation is established and is converted into mutual beneficial cooperation.
We are well aware how important credibility is for all spheres of economy and business and our daily life as well as politics, law, legal framework, society, and family.
The signs of large-scale projects, opportunities to develop the first two major deposits, rapid growth of raw material prices, relatively stable politics, and free market system – all these attracted 2010-2011 investment flows to us as a magnet.
The appreciation of the Mongolian currency "togrog," investors' interests, and rapid growth in incomes started allowing us be confident that sunny days we can develop ourselves this way will continue regularly.
This trust itself started being a major challenge for the transition of investors' big trust just shaping up in Mongolia to credibility.
The Mongolians say: "Everyone is wise about the past and every tooth is sharp for tattered meat." However, we must learn from our mistakes not to make more mistakes.
Every country defines its strategic industries itself and however, no one may argue that our legal promotion and regulation brought about 180-grade opposite results. Much of the fault that the investment made in the Oyu Tolgoi open-pit mine failed to move ahead with underground mine development goes to us.
If we name the frequent changes in laws, long exploration blocking, soap opera serials around the long named law, press conferences and demonstrations penetrated by politicians' populism, and the like, there will be a quite long list of events where we lost our credibility.
The following example will show that there is even no smell of credibility in the Oyu Tolgoi project we know well.
The Government of Mongolia included a new progressive royalty of Tg 450 billion it will charge in the annual budget right away without notifying the other party at all. A tax inspector arrived at the company and closed its account right away and consequently, all cash flows had to go though offshore banks. Conversely, Rio Tinto's statements which blamed the Government of Mongolia were released one by one made a significant contribution to the trust in Mongolia.
It is regretful that this development has continued for a long time in the biggest investment made and being made in our country and collaborators' activities which will continue for decades.
While developments and decisions such as the long named law, 106 licenses, Hotel Mongolia, and Mr. Kapla, which made the investors run away as a result of state policy, were taking place and being made one by one, many individuals prepared and circulated news and information and social media stayed active apart from the media which criticized and blamed us. Presumably, this was inevitable in that situation.
Today, Mongolia's state policy has completely changed to attract investors but the above organizations and individuals haven't changed their waves yet.
The people, who were beating cymbals and performing a "Tsam" dance all over the world talking about the strategy law, long named law, 106 licenses, and the like, are still totally silent as though they swallowed water or disappeared from sight when all these issued have been addressed. This means that that credibility isn't built yet.
Mongolia repealed the "popular" Investment Industry Law and passed a completely new Investment and Investment Fund Law instead but there is still total silence. The issues such as the long named law, 106 licenses, and Hotel Mongolia have been addressed but they say that this isn't a sensational and attractive decision. When we state that we will support foreign investment in all respects they say that it isn't interesting while the Oyu Tolgoi issue isn't addressed yet. Today, we have our credibility at this level.
Business of those who seek negative sides of developments only, behave like total critics, have the titles like "independent or patriotic," and protest any agreement or contract is much prosperous.
We, Mongolians, say "it is my home though it is gauzy and she is my mother though she is brushy." There is no point in being called as independent experts or patriots after they keep telling bad things about their country – Mongolia every time.
Not merely the Government or Mongolia but also any investor will benefit from investing in Mongolia. Now, it is time to agree on and comply with the win-win principle.
When active business operations go on, both businesses and governments believe that it is common practice to use arbitration and dispute resolution. If the foreigners present here are interested to know how many disputes their respective governments have at arbitrary tribunals they will hear about records of hundreds of such cases. The Government of Mongolia currently has 4 dispute cases only. However, who is blowing Khan Resources' dispute case that way? What is the reason a typical business process considered usual in other countries is magnified by a microscope when it happens in Mongolia? Let's think together about who will actually benefit from making Mongolia look like this.
We don't intent to ask for make-up to the current situation but we do want to look and be valued as we are.
I would like to let you understand that Mongolia and Mongolian state, which have felt how sunny days are replaced with rainy days quickly in case credibility is lost, how national currency "togrog" depreciation affects people's lives, and that not merely natural resources but also foreign technology, labor, and financial assistance can help develop, and which are more experienced and desire to regain the lost trust, look forward to welcoming you.
I have doubts that people, who are affectionate toward Mongolia and want business development and national prosperity here, gathered in this hall. As long as Mongolia is good we all will be good.
We, Mongolians, are optimistic people. We have no doubts that Mongolia which has an abundance of resources and friendly people will attract investors.
We need that credibility at this time when we move ahead with the Oyu Tolgoi underground mine project. We aren't competitors but collaborators. The both parties are collaborators on the same boat. Both Mongolia and Rio Tinto must benefit from this project. As we start changing our approach to the issues this way we are confident about specific outcomes. As Prime Minister I met with CEO of Rio Tinto Mr. Sam Walsh here just a few days ago and we had agreement and understanding on this.
On these days the MEF is taking place the ongoing negotiations with the TT consortium are reaching a final stage.
Investment in the TT project, new railway construction, CHP 5, Eg river hydropower plant, Baganuur, Buuruljuut, Shivee Ovoo, and TT power plants, and new plants, highways, new housing districts, apartment houses, and other development projects, which will follow the OT project, will attract more and more new investors one by one.
I have doubts that good news which will come from Mongolia one by one will rebuild Mongolia's credibility.
I wish that this Forum we all will participate in would be an event which enhances trust in Mongolia which anticipates investment, progress, and development.
This year's Forum commences at this time when we do need credibility and partnership based on dialogue and mutual understanding and this is a manifestation of expected solutions.
I announce the official opening of the MEF.
I wish every success for the MEF.
CLOSING SPEECH BY ZANDAAKHUU ENKHBOLD, SPEAKER OF THE STATE GREAT KHURAL (PARLIAMENT) OF MONGOLIA, AT THE 2015 ECONOMIC FORUM
April 3 --
Ladies and gentlemen,
This year's Economic Forum coincides with our deep business cycle recession and the critical point in time where we need to formulate our long-term economic policy more realisitically.
Indeed, the current economic challenges require us to genuinely understand the nature of our different economic sectors and to correct and strengthen our economic policy while focusing on real economic development.
It should be commended that this year's Economic Forum has addressed many important issues related to both the cyclical shifts and the long-term trend of our economy.
Today, I would like to share with you my thoughts on the key features of our real economy, its real challenges and real opportunities.
A few years ago, our annual economic growth reached 17%, to the surprise of the world. However, this number plummeted to 7.8% just within three years. This extreme volatility can be attributed to the following factors: (Mogi: doesn't mention political, legal factors)
· First, our economy is highly dependent on mineral prices.
· Second, due to the volatile shifts and dynamic trends of the mineral prices, investment in our mining industry also exhibits a highly volatile pattern.
· Third, given the small economy, the lumpy sunk-cost nature of investment in the mining sector amplifies the volatility even further. For example, Oyu Tolgoi alone accounts for more than one half of the foreign direct investment that exceeded 4 billlion U.S. dollars annually in 2011 and 2012.
· Moreover, when ranked by the share of the natural resources revenue in the total government revenue, we rank very high in the world, approximately at top 30. In the recent past, the share of the natural resources revenue in the government revenue has been in the range of 20-30 percent. So, our budget is highly dependent on the mining sector. Ignoring this important aspect of our economy, we have engaged in overly pro-cyclical government expenditure in the recent past. This took its toll on our economy.
We have learned a hard lesson that our economy is highly exposed to large extractive industry shocks and this will continue in the foreseeable future. In addition, for developing countries such as ours, it is common that the business cycle recessions run deeper and longer. Another important feature of the Mongolian economy is its weak infrastructure and under-developed non-mining sectors.
Therefore, our broad economic policy can be characterized by dual economic policy that aims to efficiently respond to highly volatile mining shocks and to ensure long-term economic growth through stable investment in our infrastructure and manufacturing sector.
Building a strong foundation of the manufacturing industry is a process as essential as kids learn to read and write. We can create true national wealth only by producing more value-added goods while competing on the global market. This will also ensure stable and faster growth.
Let me give you a very simple example. It is not unusual that the copper price changes 2-3 times just within a year. On the contrary, the price of electrical machinery, which is made of copper, hardly fluctuates.
Moreover, it is interesting to notice that Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, who do not have any copper mining, together produce 40 percent of the world's printed circuit boards (PCBs). Then, why cannot we have the ambition to produce 50 percent of the world market of this relatively simple product just by using a tiny share our own copper?
We also have to have a very strong emphasis on our agricultural sector, which accounts for the economic fortune of half of the Mongolian households. In many respects, creating our national wealth means creating good jobs. To this end, it should be noted that the shocks to the mineral prices tend to translate to even larger shocks to productivity of the non-mining labor forces. Then, more volatile employment risks make it harder for us to train the individual skilled workers through stable employment and thus to improve overall labor productivity.
Everything has two sides, the good and the bad. Over the last two years, there has been too much populism that tugrik became weak. However, we do not really see the bright side that the weaker tugrik creates more auspicious environment for the non-mining sector. For example, just within the last one year, export of certain products of the agricultural and textile industries has increased by 25-60 percent.
Given our sparse population and big land, we have considerably high infrastructure expenses and therefore very high public expenditure. Consequently, as the mining sector accounts for the large part of the government revenue, our heavy dependence on mining will continue in the foreseeable future.
We must also be able to maintain a sufficient level of public investment by raising our public debt when there is a sudden drop in the price or demand of our mineral goods. In this regard, I would like to point out that there are not many countries that have a debt ceiling. For example, as of August 2013, there are seven countries that have a debt ceiling. These countries are Denmark, Kenya, Malaysia, Namibia, Pakistan, Poland and the USA. It is not very surprising that these seven countries, on average, have a relatively small share of extractive industries in the revenues. Of these seven countries, only Malaysia has a higher revenue share of the extractive industries than Mongolia. In other words, a debt ceiling is rare among countries that have a high revenue share of the extractive industry.
As you may already know, there is this global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). This initiative seeks to raise the responsibility of the government, civil society and the extractive companies in order to promote open and accountable management of natural resources. Mongolia declared to implement the initiative in 2006. Several leading companies such as Centerra Gold, Rio Tinto, Sumitomo, who are already operating in Mongolia, also joined this initiative.
On Feb 6, 2015, the parliament decided to discuss the Extractive Industries Transparency Law draft. If the bill is passed, it will help us to ensure transparency around extractive industries and to make information on such industries more accessible. It will also help us create more unbiased information on individual extractive companies.
Another important opportunity is emerging in our economy with respect to our two neighbors, China and Russia. Last fall, President Xi Jinping proposed to construct an economic corridor linking China, Mongolia and Russia. We hope that this will strengthen traffic interconnectivity and facilitate cargo transportation in the region. Three countries also seek to build a transnational power grid, which may allow us to export energy to China. With Chinese urbanization at its hike, the regional energy demand is expected to have highly robust growth in the near future.
It is not very easy for our economy to maintain steady investment growth without attracting our third neighbors, such as Germany, Japan, Republic of Korea and the USA. In this regard, just a little over a month ago, there was a major event for our economy, the Japan-Mongolian Economic Partnership Agreement. The Mongolian parliament ratified the agreement shortly after it was signed. The Japanese parliament is expected to ratify the agreement soon.
Previously, Japan has signed the EPA with 14 other countries. For Mongolia, Japan is the first country to have such an agreement with. However, the notion of free trade is not entirely new to Mongolians. For example, in 13-15th centuries, Mongols maintained a large secure trade zone known as the Silk Road spanning Eurasia, along with the Pacific maritime trade.
Clearly, as the Silk Road did, the Economic Partnership Agreement will greatly enhance our foreign trade. But, the benefit of the agreement is not just limited to the trade volume. Given the Economic Partnership Agreement, we aim to join the global industrial network of Japan while producing more and more value-added goods.
Also, we should exert much greater effort in creating more efficient legal and business environment in order to help Japanese companies invest easily into the Mongolian manufacturing sector. There have already been several success stories of the Japanese high technology factories operating in Mongolia. This type of partnership will not only teach us the new technology, but it will also help us learn from the Japanese businesses, build the mindset of the skilled work force and thus enhance labor productivity, which is essential for building a stronger manufacturing sector.
The Mongolian economy is multifaceted and has very rich dynamics. We cannot discuss all the important aspects of the economy just by meeting once in a year. As we know, this year's Economic Forum has discussed many important questions. Of course, there are also many other unaddressed issues. I recommend that we discuss our economic issues on a regular basis by using more empirical analyses and make an efficient use of this discussion when formulating our social and economic policy.
I would like to thank all the participants and the organizers of the Forum. All the best!
Mongolia Economic Forum asks critical questions about state's role in the economy
April 3 (news.mn) The 6th Mongolia Economic Forum is being carried out at a time when the country is facing an economic crisis and foreign direct investment has gone, in addition to revenue from the mining sector failing to meet expectations.
In comparison with previous years, the forum is being organized under very modest circumstances, and the main topic was how to bring back foreign investment which has left Mongolia.
It was evident that many of the forum's participants have lost their faith and trust in the state, and representatives of the private sector are also dissatisfied.
Many participants complained that the instability of the state is negatively influencing the economy. Head of the Cabinet Secretariat S. Bayartsogt pointed out that these problems stem from the Constitution of Mongolia. President of the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry B. Lkhagvajav stressed that the participation of the private sector is crucial to making changes to the constitution.
Forum attendees asked the representatives of Parliament and Government who sat on the panel stage, if those who represent the state do not believe in the state, how can it win the public's trust? The question went unanswered.
Fresh topics were discussed at this year's forum. The presentation made by Minister M.Enkhsaikhan which was given during the working lunch session drew an attentive audience. He gave a presentation on "Super Cycles: Rich and Poor".
Another topic of interest was discussion of the tax law and pressure from the State put on the business sector. According to Chairman of the Investigation Department of the National Anti-Corruption Agency U.Enkhtur, the organization investigates almost 300 people in tax cases each year. Ten percent of these cases are considered financial crime.
Disputes have arisen due to these issues, but they have been related to the Expert of the Court Research Institute. An investigator appoints an expert to a case, but critics debate whether these appointed experts meet all criteria and requirements to be objective towards the claimants and defendants.
U.Enkhtur and state prosecutor Erdenebat assured the forum's attendees that everything is taking place according to the law. However, MP Ts. Oyungerel stressed that she is very disappointed in the work of the experts and that they have dragged down the reputation of Mongolia. She stressed that because of this, the investments made in Mongolia are passing the nation by.
The MP added, speaking frankly, that she was very doubtful that there are professionals now working for the Court Research Institute and General Taxation Authority.
Immigration chief B.Purevdorj discusses positives changes to policy for foreign visitors
April 3 (news.mn) Director of the Office of Immigration, Naturalization and Foreign Citizens B.Purevdorj participated in Mongolia Economic Forum's session "Ways to improve the investment environment".
He appealed to investors and noted that Mongolia is one of the world's most peaceful countries. "Our organization will put all efforts towards the creation of a favorable environment for investors in order to keep their trust that in investing in right sectors and to be satisfied," he said during the session's panel.
Journalist of www.gogo.mn spoke with him regarding the projects implemented by their organization to improve conditions for foreign investors.
The Office of Immigration, Naturalization and Foreign Citizens is an organization which works closely with investors. Do you have good news to share with them?
Our organization has implemented several projects in regards to the interests of foreign investors and in order to create a favorable environment for them. Previously, there were 86 rules and regulations related to investors. Now we have reduced them to 42 and invalidated some of the rules which were not so important. For instance, to receive licenses and permits to conduct business activities, investors previously had to go to Ulaanbaatar and approval was issued by the chairman, instead, we have given this authority to local area inspectors of border and customs agencies. So, for investors, it has become easier to resolve investment issues.
In order to prolong the term of permits to conduct activity in Mongolia, do foreign invested companies have to register on a regular basis?
Yes. We are going to make changes to procedures which were approved by a government resolution. Foreign citizens will have to prolong permanent residence permits not every year but once every three years. In order to prolong permanent residence approval, they also have to ask the chairman and officials.
When will these changes be made?
Changes will be made starting from April 15. We tried to make these changes before the forum but couldn't.
How often do you receive claims and proposals related to investors?
In 2014 we received claims related to 60 investors, from which 58 resolved disputed cases and left the country. Two investors had to be deported from Mongolia. These two investors submitted false documentation and we had to deport them.
In 2015 we haven't received any claims.
According to a report from the Director of the Office of Immigration, Naturalization and Foreign Citizens S.Javkhlanbaatar, in 2013 there were 390 foreign invested companies in Mongolia. Was this the number of companies on record to receive permanent residence approval?
From 2007 to 2008 there were a lot of companies looking to receive permanent residence in Mongolia. However, we should note that today this has changed, and Mongolian and foreigners all follow regulations and rules strictly.
Minister Enkhsaikhan speaks on "Supercycle: Rich and Poor" at MEF
Ulaanbaatar, April 3 (MONTSAME) The Minister M.Enkhsaikhan took the floor at the Mongolian Economic Forum on April 2, dedicating his speech to "Supercycle: Rich and Poor" theme. He said this topic was inspired by a presentation by Paul Collier, the author of "The Bottom Billion", themed "Supercycle is over. What's next?", which was given last month at the UN headquarters.
Speaking on supercycles, the Minister said this is an economic phenomenon that happens every 20- 25 years and brings major ups and downs in commodity prices, and that the latest supercycle took place in 2000- 2010. The previous supercycles happened in 1970-1980, and in 1950, after the world war when the Europe had to rely on the Marshall' plan for economic restoration. "The history tells us that the cycle will not happen in 10-15 years to came, and that we need a brand new thinking on intensifying the economic competitiveness of Mongolia," he said.
According to him, it is time for Mongolia to "move on". Particularly, the commodity prices doubled during the last supercycle,"did we seize the opportunity? If not, what was the problem?" asked the Minister.
It is a mistake if projects' yields are estimated by the amount of tax they accumulated for the State Budget. The two-digit economic growth of the country happened thanks to the Oyu tolgoi project, he concluded.
Politics & Legal
Z.Enkhbold: Elbegdorj Will Be the First President to Give Report to Parliament
Ulaanbaatar, April 3 (MONTSAME) Elbegdorj Tsakhia will become the very first President to report to the State Great Khural (parliament), said the Speaker Z.Enkhbold in interview to the "MM" agency Thursday.
The President will give the report on his works of the last year at the opening of the parliamentary spring session that will start 2.00 pm on April 11, this has been included in agenda to be considered by session, the Speaker said.
The Speaker also expressed a position of parliament over the matter on dismissing a large number of state servants after the appointment of the current Premier. "Newly appointed heads of some Ministers have been irresponsible, for example the Minister of labor had dismissed 57 state servants. The law does not allow the Ministers--political servants--to do so. If this and other actions of the cabinet will not be corrected, parliament will impose tough responsibilities over the Ministers," Mr Enkhbold stressed.
About imposing tax on cashmere he said this is a rumour. "It is intentionally spread by indulged in cashmere business people because they always want to buy the raw material at lower price," he said and confirmed that the cashmere exchange will continue under the market principle.
Mogi: hmmm, guess it's not just Mongolia media
Tony Blair makes 'secret visit' to Mongolia to 'help corrupt government plan gold mine which could destroy ancient graves of Attila the Hun's ancestors'
By WILL STEWART
· Former premier made unannounced visit to capital Ulaanbataar last month
· Met new Mongolian prime minister Chimed Saikhanbileg on trip, sparking fears from ecologists he was encouraging Western investment in mining
· Noyon Uul region has major gold reserves but many sacred burial mounds
· Exploitation may 'destroy monuments of the Mongols and their ancestors'
· Mr Blair admits to 'regular' Mongolia visits but denies discussing mining
April 2 (Daily Mail) Tony Blair has been dragged into a bitter row in Mongolia over plans for gold mining in a region where the elaborate ancient graves of Attila the Hun's warrior ancestors are located.
The former premier made an unannounced visit to Ulaanbataar last month in his capacity as a consultant to the cash-strapped government, which is dogged by allegations of endemic corruption.
He met new Mongolian prime minister Chimed Saikhanbileg but the secrecy surrounding his trip stoked fears from ecologists and the opposition that he is being deployed to encourage Western investment to the country to massively increase gold, copper and coal mining, despite acute environmental worries.
Specifically, there is concern over plans for development of the sacred pine-covered Noyon Uul region around 65 miles north of Ulaanbaatar which has £1.2 billion gold reserves but is dotted with the burial mounds of the rulers of the ancient Hun civilisation, dating back to the first century BC.
'Tony Blair probably came to us because the strategic deposits in the mountain Noyon Uul are the centre of attention,' reported local news source 24Tsag.mn, citing official sources.
The news outlet - which claimed Blair had flown 'secretly' to Mongolia last week - also speculated he was advising on another controversial project, involving expansion of multinational Rio Tinto's Oyu Tolgoi mine in the Gobi Desert, and a possible bailout from the IMF.
Atilla was a feared fifth century barbarian warrior who ruled the Hunnic Empire from the Urals to the Rhine. He was born in modern-day Hungary, but his fearsome forebears are seen as originating much further east, in Mongolia.
Activists from ecological pressure groups including Save Noyon Uul have protested to the government that plans for a foreign mining company to exploit gold reserves 'will destroy the historical monuments of the Mongols and their ancestors.
'Driven to despair, they promised that if the Mongolian government allows mining in the sacred land of the Mongols, its defenders are ready to give their lives to save Noyon Uul', said one report last week.
The Mongolian premier - who recruited Blair to Mongolia two years ago when he held the position of cabinet minister - is seen as the leading advocate of the plan to boost mining in several regions, including Noyon Uul, where Canadian company Centerra Gold may be given the go-ahead to exploit significant reserves.
He lunched with the former Labour Party leader after he held a 'text message referendum', dismissed as a cheap gimmick by foes, aimed at garnering support for new mining to boost the flagging economy.
The country's president Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj has 'a strong stance against mining of Noyen Uul and wants to leave the cultural heritage site intact', evidently contrary to the position of his prime minister, it was reported.
There was no mention of the Mongolian trip on the official website of The Office of Tony Blair, nor any comment from the Ulaanbaatar government on whether his work includes advice on exploiting 50 tons of gold reserves.
But Mongolia is under severe pressure to raise revenue from mining to head off an economic crisis after foreign investment slumped 74 per cent last year, with speculation also centering on Tavan Tolgoi, one of the world's largest untapped coal deposits in the South Gobi Desert.
Tony Blair Associates one year ago hired Anand Pillai, formerly an adviser to Rio Tinto in Mongolia.
Noted Russian scientist Natalia Polosmak - who has made sensational archeological discoveries at Noyon Uul - said: 'This was the burial ground of the Hun elite.
'The site dates from the 1st century BC to the 1st century AD and contain up to 200 burial mounds.
'The collection of fabrics that we found there is unique.'
Among the precious finds were elaborate chariots buried with Hun warlords, unique fabrics, ancient jewellery, plaques decorated in silver and gold, and carvings of fantastical creatures.
A spokesperson from Mr Blair's office said: 'Tony Blair regularly visits Mongolia as part of his project there - which is already in the public domain - and has a full time team working on helping the government with its reform programme.
'He has nothing whatever to do with any gold mining business or other mining there so we don't know what is being referred to.'
A spokesman for Centerra Gold, referring to the company's Gatsuurt mine in the Noyon Uul region, said: 'Our Gatsuurt property has been designated as a deposit of strategic importance.
'We are continuing to work with the government to determine the level of Mongolian ownership in the project and before Gatsuurt can proceed. We need a deposit development agreement and the necessary permits, approvals and regulatory commissioning.
'We are aware of Mr Blair but not the details of his involvement with the government.'
Golomt Bank Promotes EVP L.Oyun-Erdene to CEO
April 3 (Golomt Bank) L.Oyun-Erdene appointed to Chief Executive officer of Golomt Bank Golomt Bank's Board of Directors has appointed Mrs.Oyun-Erdene as Chief Executive officer of Golomt Bank, effective April 1, 2015. Mrs. Oyun-Erdene previously held the position of Executive Vice president.
Mrs. Oyun-Erdene joined the Golomt bank in 1999 and has held a wide range of leadership position, and in 2014, she appointed to Executive Vice president. Since becoming the Executive Vice president, she held a valuable contribution to the development of corporate banking market in Mongolia and supported small and medium enterprise in all economic sectors.
Mrs.Oyun-Erdene received bachelor's degree in engineering from Prague Technology University in 1987-1994, and received her master's degree in business from Hangdun International University.
MNCCI Announces 2015 Events Calendar
April 3 (infomongolia.com) Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI) released a list of agenda to organize, attend and some to co-host abroad with its counterparts in 2015.
Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry 2015 Program
Russia-Mongolia Business Forum
April 02, 2015
Vietnam EXPO Fair Trade
April 14-18, 2015
Hanoi, Viet Nam
"Gates to Asia" Exhibition Russia-Mongolia Business Forum
April 22, 2015
Mongolia Export & Import Products and Goods Exhibition
May 15-19, 2015
Erlian (Erenhot), China
KIWIE 2015, Korea International Women's Invention Exposition
May 15-22, 2015
Seoul, South Korea
Mongolia-Switzerland Business Forum
June 02-03, 2015
13th Mongolian-Taiwan Trade and Economic Meeting & Measures
Mongolia-Austria Business Forum
June 04-06, 2015
IX World Chambers Congress
June 10-12, 2015
Shanghai Cooperation Organization Business Council
June 17-19, 2015
St. Petersburg, Russia
Mongolia-Belarus Business Meeting
Mongolia-Czech Business Meeting
11th Joint Conference of Mongolia-China-Russia Chambers of Commerce and Industry
July 21-23, 2015
Baotou, Inner Mongolia, China
International Youth Leader Innovation Conference
July 12-17, 2015
28th Asian Trade Promotion Forum (ATPF) CEO Meeting
August 2015 (preliminary)
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Mongolia-Turkmenistan Business Forum
August 2015 (preliminary)
China-Mongolia-Russia Economic and Border Cooperation Business Forum and Exhibition
August 20-25, 2015
Erlian (Erenhot), China
Northeast Asia Trade and Investment, Expo & Meeting
September 01-06, 2015
Jilin Province, China
CAREC Federation of Carrier and Forwarder Associations Annual Meeting
29th Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CACCI) Conference
October 29-30, 2015
Hong Kong, SAR, China
International Travel Fair
Bazaar Berlin Trade Fairs
International Agriculture Expo
November 11-15, 2015
Jinju, South Korea
Korea-Mongolia Business Forum (under negotiation)
Seoul, South Korea
UK-Mongolia Business Forum (under negotiation)
Top Mongolia Carriers Launching Samsung S6, S6 Edge on April 11
April 2 (infomongolia.com) Mongolia's third largest mobile operator, Unitel Corporate Group announces the preorders for the Samsung's 2015 flagship mobile devices and the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge are now available until April 09th and official releases will be starting from April 11, 2015.
However, prices per unit are not revealed yet, but pursuant to their announcement, Unitel offers a free wireless charger to first 300 buyers and the official ceremony will be taking place at the newly opened Hunnu Mall at 07:00 pm on April 11, 2015.
Moreover, another biggest carrier, MobiCom Corporation also announces the handset sales with global launches on April 10, 2015. Recently, Mobicom pledged to accomplish the LTE 4G technology within 2015 and the latest 5G networks from 2020.
A store devoted entirely to Mongolian-made cashmere arrives in Toronto
March 9 (Toronto Life) Black Goat Cashmere, the maker of luxurious casualwear, has just opened up its first Toronto shop on Bloor Street West, between international heavyweights Cartier and Agent Provocateur. It's the Vancouver-based company's first store outside of its home town, which is why most Torontonians probably haven't heard of the Real Housewives–certified shopping destination, or its dedication to all things cashmere-related. Now, Yorkville residents and local shoppers can get their hands on Mongolian-made cashmere sweaters, dresses, pants, ponchos, scarves, turtlenecks, and even something called a "leisure suit" that will run fancy television-watchers over $600. At least for those prices, shoppers can trust that their purchases will keep them enveloped in a warm, cozy cocoon—kind of a treat on the Mink Mile, where down the road at Gucci a similar price tag will only score you a pair of painful-looking stilettos.
131 Bloor St. W., 416-967-4628, blackgoatcashmere.com
Baganuur, Nalaikh Districts to Become Ulaanbaatar's First Ever Satellite Cities
April 3 (infomongolia.com) The regular meeting of the Capital City Citizens' Representative's Khural was held on April 02, 2015, where the main issues to discuss were an approval of city-status to Nalaikh and Baganuur Districts of Ulaanbaatar.
The Meeting was chaired by Governor of Capital City and Mayor of UB, E.Bat-Uul and Chairman of Citizens' Representative's Khural, D.Battulga and after considering the issues, majority of attendees agreed to accrediting the city-status to above districts.
Consequently, Nalaikh and Baganuur Districts of Ulaanbaatar become the first satellite cities of Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia and this decision is recorded as the first in its history.
The Governing Administrations of Nalaikh and Baganuur had earlier proposed their requests in November 2014 and conducted votes to become independent administrative divisions in January 2015.
Thereafter, the Municipality of Ulaanbaatar city will be governing 7 Districts including Bagakhangai, Bayangol, Bayanzurkh, Songinokhairkhan, Sukhbaatar, Khan-Uul and Chingeltei as well as 2 satellite cities of Baganuur and Nalaikh.
Ulaanbaatar to have Satellite Towns – Montsame, April 3
Mogi: just a few a months ago we were being snubbed by both sides on rail, pipelines.
Beijing Proposes China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Belt
China proposed Wednesday to build an economic corridor linking China, Mongolia and Russia.
April 2 (Sputnik News) Foreign Minister Wang Yi floated the idea during a meeting in Beijing with his Mongolian counterpart Lundeg Purevsuren.
"There is a huge area for cooperation existing between China, Russia and Mongolia. The construction of the China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor would connect China's Silk Road Economic Belt to Russia's transcontinental rail plan and Mongolia's Prairie Road program," the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
During the meeting Wang Yi held out hope for mutually beneficial interaction with Russia and Mongolia on the three-way "new corridor for cooperation" running across the entire Eurasian continent as a "new platform for the economic development of our three countries."
China will be working closely with Russia and Mongolia in drawing up a pertinent roadmap and will do whatever it takes to make the project happening.
"We are confident that this would bring economic benefit to our three countries and serve as a major boost to the economic advancement of Eurasia as a whole," Wang Yi added.
Chinese President Xi Jinping initially proposed the idea of a new Silk Way to link China with Europe and boost the country's economic ties with Asia and Africa when meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj on the sidelines of the 14th summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in 2014.
China pins hopes on China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor – TASS, April 2
FM Pays visit to China – Montsame, April 3
Minister of Foreign Affairs paying an official visit to China – news.mn, April 3
Mongolia set to join China in WWII anniversary events
April 2 (China Daily) Mongolia wants to join hands with China to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, the country's Foreign Minister Lundeg Purevsuren said when he met with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Wednesday evening in Beijing.
Mongolia made a significant contribution to the fight against fascism during World War II, he said, and both countries should hold commemorative activities together, such as producing TV programs on the war and organizing veterans to revisit the battlefields together.
Wang welcomed Mongolian participation and said the anniversary was a good opportunity to remind people of the contribution and sacrifice of generations past and show the resolution of Asia to protect global peace.
Relations between the two countries have entered a fruitful period, Wang said, and have been upgraded to "comprehensive strategic partnership" since President Xi Jinping's visit to Mongolia in August. The foreign ministers discussed the concrete achievements from the consensus made by the leaders of both countries.
Saying the Chinese proposed Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21 Century Maritime Silk Road could be combined with Mongolia's national infrastructure "Prairie Road" program, Wang believed that the construction of a Eurasian high-speed transport corridor linking Beijing and Moscow will boost regional connectivity and growth.
Wang also said both countries had started the establishment of a cross-border trade zone and Mongolia had played an active role in financial cooperation with China, for example, as a co-founder of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
According to Xinhua, China and Mongolia agreed on March 27 to dedicate nine square km on either side of their border to a joint economic zone.
Purevsuren echoed Wang by saying that Mongolia is willing to cooperate with China in the Road and Belt Initiative and could become a "bridge" connecting Asia and Europe.
Gao Shumao, a former Chinese ambassador to Mongolia said the cooperation between China and Mongolia could be strengthened in mining, infrastructure and financial sectors.
Mongolia has been an active partner of China since President Xi Jinping's visit last year. It was one of the first countries to apply to join the AIIB, it quickly supported the Road and Belt Initiative of China and a mining cooperation agreement concerning the massive Tavan Tolgoi coalmine, which involves Chinese companies, is under negotiation, Gao said.
Viewing the cross-border trade zone as part of the Belt and Road Initiative which will focus on jointly building a new Eurasian Land Bridge and developing the China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor, Gao believed that further cooperation between China and Mongolia will be of significant benefit to various sectors in both countries.
China, Mongolia pledge to commemorate victory of World War II – Xinhua, April 1
Mogi: This is the power of social media in Mongolia. It wouldn't have been imaginable just a few years ago that officials would feel the need to apologize for such despicable incidents. Doesn't mean ultra-nationalism is dying down, but shows you that sane voices, who are the clear majority, are finally fed up and now are speaking out against such disgraceful lunatics.
Mongolia apologizes for attack on Chinese tourists by neo-Nazi group
ULAN BATOR, April 4 (Xinhua) -- Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj said here Friday that extreme nationalism is harmful, and Mongolia should be a responsible, friendly and open country.
He said this in response to a recent incident in which an extremist group in Mongolia attacked and insulted several Chinese tourists.
On March 28, several Chinese citizens were attacked by a Mongolian neo-Nazi group known as Khukh Mongol (Blue Mongolia) while traveling on the Burkhan Khaldun mountain in Khentii province, eastern Mongolia.
The extremists forced one of the Chinese tourists to kneel down.
The Chinese tourists, all of whom have already returned to China, neither contacted the Chinese Embassy nor went to the local police after the incident.
However, relevant pictures and video clips were uploaded to the Internet, drawing wide attention of the Mongolian society and media.
Ulan Bator's Mayor Erdene Bat-Uul on Thursday offered an official apology for what had happened to the Chinese tourists, pledging to hold the perpetrators accountable.
"I officially apologize to the Chinese citizens for the immoral behavior" of the extremists, Bat-Uul said.
The mayor said he felt ashamed for what had happened, which was in violation of Mongolia's Constitution and criminal law.
In a public speech Friday, President Elbegdorj appeared to approve with the mayor's apology.
The Chinese Embassy in Mongolia Thursday lodged solemn representations with Mongolia, condemning the incident which violated the personal dignity and safety of the Chinese citizens and demanding those responsible be brought to justice.
The embassy also demanded that Mongolia make more efforts to protect the Chinese citizens in the country, and ensure a safe work and living environment for them.
In recent years, a number of neo-Nazi groups have appeared in Mongolia, espousing ultranationalism and harboring hatred for foreigners.
Wang Yi: Effectively Advance Construction of China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor – MFA China, April 2
Neo-Nazis Attack Tourists in Mongolia – Israel National News, April 5
Mayor apologizes for attack on Inner Mongolian tourists
April 5 (UB Post) Ulaanbaatar Mayor E.Bat-Uul met with delegates of the Association of Inner Mongolians in Mongolia (AIMM) last week and offered his apology for an attack against Inner Mongolian tourists by members of a Mongolian nationalist group.
Photos of the foreign visitors kneeling in front of members of a Mongolian nationalist group at Burkhan Khaldun Mountain had been circulating on social media two weeks prior to the Mayor's statement.
The people in the photos are said to have stopped the tourists who were hiking at the sacred mountain, forcing them to go back down after making them kneel and verbally assaulting them.
"It was an embarrassing and immoral thing to do, which is against the Constitution of Mongolia, as well as the Criminal Code," the Mayor stated. He added that such hostilities are inappropriate considering efforts to develop year-round tourism in Mongolia, citing that the incident may have a negative impact on the city's number of Inner Mongolian visitors.
Head of AIMM L.Baatar, said during the meeting, "The victims have stated their complaints. Mongolia is known worldwide now. Many Inner Mongolians visit Mongolia not only to invest in businesses, but also to travel to the home country of Chinggis Khaan. Having such hostile manners against the tourists who went to Burkhan Khaldun to pray is against people's right to worship."
He accepted the Mayor's apology and promised to deliver the apology to businessmen and tourists from Inner Mongolia.
Chinese media outlets have reported that President Ts.Elbegdorj gave a statement in support of the Mayor's apology, but there has been no official statement made on the website of the Office of the President.
Vision and Actions on Jointly Building Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road
Issued by the National Development and Reform Commission, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China, with State Council authorization, March 28
More than two millennia ago the diligent and courageous people of Eurasia explored and opened up several routes of trade and cultural exchanges that linked the major civilizations of Asia, Europe and Africa, collectively called the Silk Road by later generations. For thousands of years, the Silk Road Spirit – "peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit" – has been passed from generation to generation, promoted the progress of human civilization, and contributed greatly to the prosperity and development of the countries along the Silk Road. Symbolizing communication and cooperation between the East and the West, the Silk Road Spirit is a historic and cultural heritage shared by all countries around the world.
In the 21st century, a new era marked by the theme of peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit, it is all the more important for us to carry on the Silk Road Spirit in face of the weak recovery of the global economy, and complex international and regional situations.
When Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Central Asia and Southeast Asia in September and October of 2013, he raised the initiative of jointly building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road (hereinafter referred to as the Belt and Road), which have attracted close attention from all over the world. At the China-ASEAN Expo in 2013, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang emphasized the need to build the Maritime Silk Road oriented towards ASEAN, and to create strategic propellers for hinterland development. Accelerating the building of the Belt and Road can help promote the economic prosperity of the countries along the Belt and Road and regional economic cooperation, strengthen exchanges and mutual learning between different civilizations, and promote world peace and development. It is a great undertaking that will benefit people around the world.
The Belt and Road Initiative is a systematic project, which should be jointly built through consultation to meet the interests of all, and efforts should be made to integrate the development strategies of the countries along the Belt and Road. The Chinese government has drafted and published the Vision and Actions on Jointly Building Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road to promote the implementation of the Initiative, instill vigor and vitality into the ancient Silk Road, connect Asian, European and African countries more closely and promote mutually beneficial cooperation to a new high and in new forms.
Mogi: RSC should think first how its own hydro plants are hurting Baikal, while Mongolia has none. There are international laws on how much a country can utilize rivers that span borders.
New hydroelectric facilities in Mongolia may harm Lake Baikal says Russian Security Council
April 3 (Interfax) The construction of hydroelectric facilities in Mongolia may harm Lake Baikal, in the opinion of a commission of the Russian Security Council.
"Complicated hydrological conditions in the Baikal region have negatively impacted and significantly reduced water levels in Lake Baikal," a source in the Russian Security Council press service told Interfax on Friday, after a meeting of the Security Council's Environmental Security Interdepartmental Commission.
"The prospective construction of the Shuren hydropower plant and other hydroelectric facilities in the River Selenga and its tributaries in the Mongolian People's Republic (Mogi: MPR is the old communist name) may enhance the negative impact from the low water season on Lake Baikal and general environmental conditions," the source said.
The commission looked into Baikal environmental security threats linked to the ongoing contamination of the air, surface waters and bottom sediments with toxic chemicals and bio-agents, especially in the area of the shutdown Baikal Paper and Pulp Factory, he said.
"The absence of sewage and wastewater treatment systems in many populated areas jeopardizes the eco-system of the lake. Most existing wastewater treatment facilities are based on old technologies, in which many waste cleaning stages are missing," the source continued.
The commission has drawn up recommendations for the Russian government, the Russian Academy of Sciences and the authorities of Buryatia, the Irkutsk region and the Transbaikal territory and urged them to take additional measures towards the environmental security of the Baikal nature area and conservation of the lake as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Russian Natural Resources and Ecology Minister Alexander Donskoy said on April 2 that water levels in Lake Baikal might begin to restore in the middle of April. "We are hopeful, considering weather conditions and other factors," the minister said.
As of April 2, water levels in Lake Baikal had fallen nine centimeters below the critical mark.
Discussion on Mongolia to Be Held at OECD in 2016
April 2 (infomongolia.com) On April 01, 2015, Chief of Staff of the President's Office P.Tsagaan received the delegation led by the Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Ambassador Pavel Rozsypal.
They have arrived in Ulaanbaatar to attend the Mongolia Economic Forum 2015, which commences today at the Government House.
Mr. Pavel Rozsypal expressed the OECD's interest to cooperate with the Government of Mongolia on trade, fight against corruption and improving legislative environment for the mining sector. He also mentioned that a discussion on Mongolia will be held next year.
Moreover, they expressed views on the 11th ASEM Summit in 2016, the Parliamentary Elections in 2016, and the new Government, which will be also formed in the year of 2016, reports the President's Office.
P.Tsagaan Meets Czech Delegation – Montsame, April 2
Speaker Receives Sverdlovsk Oblast Assembly Delegates
Ulaanbaatar, April 2 (MONTSAME) Chairman of the State Great Khural (parliament) Z.Enkhbold Wednesday received a delegation led by Mr A.P.Sukhov, a deputy head of the Legislative Assembly of Russia's Sverdlovsk oblast.
The Speaker thanked the Russian delegation for taking part in the "Mining Mongolia-2015" international exhibition, and underlined an importance of deepening the bilateral traditional, good-neighborhood and friendly relations and of enriching the strategic partnership with a new content. He considers the ties between the legislative bodies as intensively developing, "this relationship must be strengthened, it is vital for the bilateral relations".
The guest thanked the Speaker receiving them, spoke about the Legislative Assembly of Sverdlovsk oblast and added that a level of mutual high visits is increasing. Mr Sukhov is glad that the President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj will visit Moscow to take part in a celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Victory in Great Patriotic War this May 9.
Present at the meeting were R.Gonchigdorj, a head of the Mongolia-Russia inter-parliamentary group, and other officials.
Ambassador of Belarus Stanislav Chepurnoy meets Mongolian Minister of Industry
April 3 (MFA of Belarus) On April 3, 2015 Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Belarus to Mongolia Stanislav Chepurnoy met with the Minister of Industry of Mongolia Dondogdorj Erdenebat.
The sides discussed prospects of developing cooperation in the sphere of machinery and light industry.
An agreement to intensify the appropriate activities in the run-up to the next session of the Joint Belarusian-Mongolian Commission on Trade and Economic cooperation in June 2015 was reached.
MP M.Batchimeg Invited to Tokyo World Assembly for Women in August
Ulaanbaatar, April 3 (MONTSAME) A member of parliament M.Batchimeg Thursday received Mr Kondo Kazumasa, the first secretary of Japan's Embassy in Mongolia, at the State House.
Mr Kazumasa spoke about an upcoming this August in Tokyo World Assembly for Women, "it supposed to gather leader women from some 100 countries". The Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe attaches a great importance to women' participation in the social-economic development, "this assembly will also focus on this matter," Mr Kazumasa said and granted her the Japanese official invitation to this measure.
Ms Batchimeg thankfully received the invitation and said she will reply soon. She pointed out that women MPs of the two countries can contribute to the bilateral relations, and underlined an importance of the Mongolia-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement and bringing it into a great effectiveness.
Ex Malaysian leader Mahathir Mohamad blogs attack on current PM Najib Razak in model murder case
Bangkok, April 4 (The Age): Former Malaysian strongman Mahathir Mohamad has called for the reopening of investigations into who ordered the murder of a Mongolian socialite at the centre of high-level corruption allegations in Kuala Lumpur, provoking a furore in the ruling party he led for 22 years.
In a vitriolic attack on Malaysia's current Prime Minister Najib Razak, Dr Mahathir referred to a hidden hand in the murder, backing a claim by Malaysian police commander Sirul Azhar Umar, who is being held in Sydney's Villawood detention centre, that he was ordered to kill the glamorous 28-year-old Altantuya Shaariibuu.
"People are asking who gave the orders," Dr Mahathir wrote in his blog.
"Apart from [Prime Minister] Najib dismissing the claims as rubbish, there was no investigation," he wrote.
"This involves human lives. It would be very cruel for Sirul to die for just carrying out orders."
Sirul, a former bodyguard of Mr Najib, fled to Australia last year before he was sentenced to hang by Malaysia's highest court in January for shooting Ms Shaariibuu in the head twice as she begged for the life of her unborn child, before blowing her up in jungle on Kuala Lumpur's outskirts.
Allegations have simmered for eight years that Ms Shaariibuu was murdered to keep her quiet about purported kickbacks to high-level Malaysian officials over a $US2 billion ($2.6 billion) purchase of French submarines.
Described as a jet-setting party girl, Ms Shaariibuu was a translator in the later stages of the negotiations.
Mr Najib strongly denies ever meeting Ms Shaariibuu or having any link to her, and his government denies any wrongdoing in the submarine purchases, which are the subject of an investigation by magistrates in France.
Dr Mahathir's intervention in the case is highly contentious in the United Malays National Organisation, the party that has ruled Malaysia since 1956.
The case has been taboo in Malaysia's government-controlled mainstream media and authorities in Kuala Lumpur have refused to reopen the investigation despite the fact that no motive for the murder has ever been proven.
Although nearing 90, Dr Mahathir remains a powerful figure in UMNO and in 2009 spearheaded a campaign to elevate Mr Najib to the prime ministership.
But relations between the two men collapsed amid acrimony last year after UMNO lost the popular vote at the 2013 elections but stayed in power because of a gerrymandered voting system.
In his widely read blog, Dr Mahathir said Malaysians "no longer trust" Mr Najib and that if he remains in power UMNO will lose the next election.
"Once UMNO loses, it cannot be rehabilitated," he said.
Dr Mahathir also raised questions over state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad, which is mired in $US11 billion of debt, describing it as "highly embarrassing".
Mr Najib, who has ordered an audit of 1Malaysia and denied any wrongdoing, set up the fund and is the chairman of a committee that oversees it.
Dr Mahathir also described as a "waste" a new jet purchased by Mr Najib, saying the government already had other jets to use.
"Many loyal members and UMNO leaders will blindly follow the leadership. I am also loyal but my loyalty is to the party and the Malays that it represents," Dr Mahathir wrote.
"It is not easy to write this blog. But for the sake of the race and the country I have to expose all this," he said.
"I am not yet senile even though I am nearing 90 years of age ... whoever says I am senile is fooling themselves."
Malaysia's government has yet to file an application to extradite Sirul, who is being held in Villawood on immigration charges. Australian laws forbid those facing the death penalty being sent back to their home countries, leaving Sirul's fate unknown.
Mr Najib has not commented publicly on Dr Mahathir's comments.
NAJIB'S MONGOLIAN LINKS FROM ALTANTUYA TO 1MDB: Mystery heats up over RM4 bil loan
April 3 (The Malaysia Chronicle) Last week the Finance Minister (who is also the Prime Minister, Najib Razak) made a formal response to opposition MP Tony Pua's persistent questioning about where the RM4 billion borrowed from Malaysia's pension fund had been invested.
Tony Pua has complained that SRC's very belated accounts published for March 2014 gave no information whatsoever about how this borrowed public money had been spent.
Therefore, Sarawak Report was most interested to receive research from one of our readers into this company, which was facilitated by an examination of the public accounts of a separate Chinese investor in Gobi Coal called Origo Partners Plc.
(If 14% is worth USD$13 million….)
Mogi: just last year Mongolia was declared one of only a handful of measles-free countries in the world
Measles Outbreak Hits Mongolia
April 2 (news.mn) As of today, there are a total of 333 suspected cases of scarlet fever in Mongolia, but only 95 have been confirmed by laboratory analysis, including 22 adults, some of whom are doctors and medical workers.
The first case was reported on March 18, 2015, when a patient exhibiting symptoms of the bacterial disease was admitted to the hospital.
A press conference was organized by the Ministry of Health and Sports in response to the outbreak, and attended by Vice Minister of the Ministry of Health and Sport D. Atarmaa and Resident Representative of the World Health Organization Soe Nyunt-U.
Cases of scarlet fever have not been documented in Mongolia since 2010, and Mongolia was granted a certificate for the elimination of this disease.
In order to reduce the spread of this illness, public health experts suggest vaccinations for children from the ages of six months to five years old.
As reported by the Deputy Minister of Health and Sports, Mongolia's patient zero is thought to be a student who returned to Mongolia from study abroad.
The Resident Representative of the World Health Organization, suggested that the outbreak here may be related to the recent outbreak China, and that medical samples have been sent to Hong Kong for verification.
S.Lambaa: Revised Health Insurance Law will come into effect on July 1
April 5 (UB Post) The following is an interview with senior advisor to the Speaker of Parliament Dr. S.Lambaa about the revised Health Insurance Law. He is also the deputy head of the working group that finalized the preparation work of the law's amendment.
The Health Insurance Law has been amended. Why was it revised?
Mongolia established a social health insurance system for the entire nation in 1994. Nearly 94 percent of Mongolia's population had been insured by the end of 2014. The law has been amended several times but the customer's satisfaction on health care services were still poor, the scope of assistance and services for the insured was limited, and people continued to pay additional high costs from their own pockets.
Under the basis to prioritize the rights of the insured, the Health Insurance Law was revised with the purpose to specify the rights and role of the National Insurance Board, found an independent insurance organization capable of purchasing good health care services, and transfer to a system capable of sharing the insured's financial risks.
This law was initially submitted in 2010 and was discussed in the previous and this parliamentary sessions, and was approved by Parliament on January 29, 2015.
Can you briefly tell us about what exactly has been changed in the law?
Regardless of the amount of contributions paid by the insured, the financial risks related to health will be shared, high quality health care and services that are safe, fair and accessible will be provided to the insured based on the principle of solidarity, and everything related will be regulated by the government independently to ensure the organization's independency.
Health insurance has been divided into voluntary and compulsory insurances? Didn't the insurance originally have these two specifications?
Formerly, it was named voluntary insurance and mandatory insurance. "Mandatory" wasn't a legal term so it was changed to "compulsory". Now, all Mongolians are legally required to buy the compulsory health insurance. The revised law specifically defines the form, package and medical benefits of health care and services provided to people covered by this insurance. Citizens have to cover the entire cost of health care and services which haven't been included in the package. In this case, it's been legalized so that people can establish agreements with private insurance companies on a voluntary basis to reduce financial risks. Overall, all insurances are aimed at protecting people from risks.
The law is said to have made the rights of the insured very clear and expanded the rights. Can you clarify on this?
Indeed. Regardless of citizenship, you can choose and get insured by any form of health care and service agencies that have formed contracts with health insurance providers. Also, people can monitor their premium account and the information of the health care services they received through the internet, and redeem extra paid health insurance premiums.
Can you clarify on who contracted health insurance providers are and all forms of health care and service agencies?
According to the law, a new, independent health insurance organization or agency will be established from January 2016. This organization will spend and control the Health Insurance Fund according to the decision from the National Insurance Board. In other words, it will establish agreements with all forms of health insurance providers, transfer funds from the Health Insurance Fund to organizations that provide health care and services, and monitor the performance. All forms mean that agreements will be established with both government and private health care service providers without discrimination. Presently, they pay different amount of tariff.
What will be the role of the new health insurance organization?
As specified in the law, it will form agreements with health care and service provider organizations, create an integrated information and insurance fund system, provide related information to the National Insurance Board and other authorized agencies, and support their operations. The health insurance organization will also make calculations and studies required for determining the rate of premiums, results and costs of health care and services, as well as inform the insured of the routine checkup time for screening and diagnostic tests for preventative care. It's responsible for inspecting capital spending and the quality of health care services. Until the new Health Insurance is established, the current Health Insurance Organization, affiliated to the Ministry of Population Development and Social Welfare, will be responsible for these works.
According to the unrevised law, people used to pay four percent of their wage for insurance premiums a month, of which two percent was paid by the individual and the rest by the employer. The government used to pay 670 MNT a month for each insurance consumer for payment. Has this premium rate been changed?
The rate of health insurance premium is renewed annually by the National Insurance Board pursuant to the government's proposal. It's been determined that the rate of monthly premium to be paid by underage children and student studying at universities, colleges and vocational training centers is no less than one percent of the minimum wage, and the monthly premium to be paid by other insurance consumers is no less than two percent. The minimum wage in Mongolia is 192,000 MNT. The one and two percentages of premiums to be paid by the people specified above will be paid by the government. This way, revenue for the Health Insurance Fund will be boosted.
The public was very satisfied with the indication allowing the insured to transfer funds from their insurance money to others. In what kind of cases can insurance money be transferred?
If costs and payments of health care and service of the insured and employers, specified in paragraph 2 of Article 4 in the Social Insurance Law, as well as self-employees, herders, foreigners, people without citizenship, and students in colleges, universities and vocational centers have exceeded the maximum limit of the year, another family member can have some of the payment transferred to their insurance. This can be done only once a year and only with consents from the family member.
The health spending per capita depends on the insurance fund source for the year. Now, each person can receive health care and service of the insurance fund worth up to 1.8 million MNT and are eligible to medical discounts.
What kinds of changes were made in the health care and service package of the Health Insurance Fund?
Some changes were made in the health care and service package in the revised Health Insurance Law. For instance, outreach services of health centers in soums as well as specific treatments, diagnoses, and health examinations have been included in the health insurance. Other newly covered health care and services include: cancer treatment of provincial and district integrated hospitals (previously, cancer treatment of only the National Cancer Center was insured), expensive treatments and services and equipment required for them, a combined health treatment for during pregnancy and postnatal, preventive screening, and costs of cancer chemotherapy and radiation therapy provided by other levels of health organizations.
The Health Insurance provides discounts on some medicine. Have there been any changes to this?
The insured receives discount when purchasing drugs prescribed by doctors. This system has been expanded and drugs prescribed by specialist doctors of provincial and district Specialist Outpatient Clinics will receive the same amount of price discount.
Now, the global trend mainly focuses on preventing diseases instead of treating it after infection.
Some people were saying that everyone will get e-cards and make payments with it. Can you comment on this?
That's incorrect. The insured will not make payments with their e-cards. The e-cards That will be distributed to everyone in accordance with the law will certify that the individual is insured with a health insurance. The insured holding this card can receive health care with discounted prices at any health care organization. The introduction of health insurance e-card will provide the opportunity to establish an electronic information system and transfer service charges within a short period of time. The electronic information system will provide a list of health care and service provider organizations and show their location, level of health care referral system, the number of services, and information on their quality.
When will the revised Health Insurance Law take effect?
A specific length of time has been set to meet with the provisions of the articles of the law with the aim to ensure the preparation work for implementing the Health Insurance Law. For instance, the Health Insurance Law will be effective from July 1, 2015. Article 8.1 specifying health insurance rates and payment procedures, Article 8.2.4 specifying that students of universities, colleges and vocational training centers are responsible for paying premiums themselves, and Article 15.1 related to the new Health Insurance Organization to be established will become effective from January 1, 2016.
Completely Upgraded Dragon Long-Distance Bus Terminal Reopens
April 3 (UB Post) The Passenger Transport Service Center reopened its long-distance bus terminal running buses between Ulaanbaatar and provinces, on Wednesday, after a complete upgrade.
The Passenger Transport Service Center, commonly known as Dragon Bus Terminal, moved into its new building shortly before the opening.
"The building is an eight-floor office with 12,800 square meters of space. It was constructed at the cost of 20 billion MNT and we built a terminal where customers can have access to basic services, such as food and goods sales, a restaurant, hotel, and bank," said S.Bayar, executive director of Dragon Holding LLC, owner of the terminal.
Customers used to wait outside the terminal for buses to depart, regardless of weather conditions, the terminal's cafeteria and grocery store were small, and the surrounding area of the terminal was unpaved, leading to customer complaints, according to the company.
On an average day, 5,000 to 6,000 people visit the terminal and over 700 buses and microbuses set off to 16 provinces, arriving at the terminal after completing their journeys, according to terminal officials.
The terminal also achieved the status of international terminal, and will soon transport passengers from Erenhot-Ulaanbaatar-Ulan Ude.
The terminal's administration announced a plan to build a tunnel system for buses to divide up space for passengers, staff, and buses.
Ireeduin Tumen Ekh 2015, Mongolia's High-Stake Horse Racing Competition to Take Place on May 10
April 3 (infomongolia.com) Mongolia's high-stake horse racing competition for Daaga or Colt, two-year old, namely "Ireeduin Tumen Ekh" will be taking place for its consecutive 8th year at Tsagaan Khutul area in Khui Doloo Khudag, Tuv Aimag on May 10, 2015.
This year's competition is organized by "Khui Mandal" Club and sponsored by ABT Group and notably, young horses of both sex and thoroughbred racehorse are allowed to take part in and thus, the prizes are as high as competitive.
The winner of the "Future Speeders" or "Ireeduin Tumen Ekh 2015" will be rewarded with a brand new Toyota Land Cruiser 200, where a runner-up with Toyota Prius 20 autos respectively.
Ireeduin Tumen Ekh 2015 Prizes
Winner - Toyota Land Cruiser 200
Runner-up - Toyota Prius 20
Third place winner - Honda motorbike + 1,000 USD
Fourth & Fifth place winners - Honda motorbike + 500 USD
Moreover, during the Ireeduin Tumen Ekh 2015, a horse racing competition for Shudlen (three-year old) involving either sex and crossbreed will be also organized and winner is rewarded with Toyota Corolla Axio sedan.
Barangay Ginebra acquires Mongolia's Sanchir as Asian import
MANILA, Philippines, April 3 (Rappler.com) - Barangay Ginebra San Miguel has acquired their Asian import for the PBA Governors' Cup by attaining the services of Mongolian basketball star Sanchir Tungalag.
In an article released by Spin.ph, it was indicated that Tungala is listed at 6-foot-3 and will arrive in the Philippines on April 9.
Ginebra is currently on break after their ousting from the PBA Commissioner's Cup quarterfinals at the hands of Rain or Shine and will resume practice on Monday, April 6, where the team will hold their first session under new head coach Frankie Lim.
Tungalag, who's considered one of the best Mongolian basketball players, averaged 16.6 points and 5.6 rebounds a game during the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
"I am very excited for this opportunity. I want to help make Ginebra a contender again. To make all the Ginebra fans and my countrymen in Mongolia proud," Tungalag said through his agent, Sam Ramos.
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