|“Doing business with Mongolia”, “UK Investors show” бизнес хөтөлбөр March 27-April 02. 2019 ЛОНДОН ХОТ, ИХ БРИТАНИ||Mongolian Business Database||London UK|
|SYMPOSIUM ON GLOBAL MARKETS Nationalism and Protectionism: The United States in the International Arena June 17-18, 2019 The Center for American and International Law Plano, Texas, USA||The Center for American and International Law (CAILAW)||Plano Texas June 17-18 2019|
|"Open to Export" ICC WTO International business award||ICC WTO||London|
ULAN BATOR, Dec. 26 (Xinhua) -- Mongolia's total foreign debt reached 7.24 billion U.S. dollars in the third quarter, up 12 percent from the same period last year, the country's central bank said Wednesday.
As of the third quarter, foreign debt accounted for about 60 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP), according to the central bank.
"We have many challenges ahead. In particular, the government is due to pay back 5.4 billion U.S. dollars in total in 2021-2022," said Bayartsaikhan Nadmid, president of the Bank of Mongolia.
"So, we need to pay special attention to increase foreign currency reserves," he said.
Mongolia's foreign currency reserves reached 3.4 billion dollars at the end of the third quarter, a new high since 2013, he added.
The mineral-rich country has a population of 3.2 million and an economy of 12 billion dollars.
The country's economy is heavily dependent on the mining industry that contributes to about a quarter of the country's GDP and around 90 percent of its exports.
Russia is considering boosting exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to China. The LNG would come from its largest island, Sakhalin, to fulfil Beijing’s growing energy demand, Russia’s envoy to the country has revealed.
“There are plans to supply liquefied gas to China not only from the Yamal [LNG plant], but also from Sakhalin. It can be partly supplied in the form of liquefied natural gas, and a pipeline may eventually be built,” ambassador Andrey Denisov told journalists on Wednesday.
The diplomat explained that gas supplies via a pipeline are much cheaper, but such projects can be launched only if a long-term bilateral deal is sealed. On the other hand, LNG is more convenient as the pipeline works only one way, but at the same time the fuel in the liquefied form is more expensive, according to Denisov.
China is world’s fifth largest consumer of natural gas and has long been planning to increase imports from foreign suppliers, including Russia.
Moscow and Beijing are currently finalizing talks on the gas supplies agreement via the so-called ‘Western Route’, which stipulates building the Power of Siberia pipeline to deliver Russian gas from the Far East to China.
The new pipeline will deliver 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually for 30 years. The last remaining question the sides are discussing is the price, Denisov said.
“Many issues are agreed, as far as we know, except for the main one, perhaps, the issue of defining the price,” the envoy told journalists.
Russia currently has two LNG plants – Gazprom’s Sakhalin-2 and Novatek’s Yamal LNG. Energy giant Rosneft is also planning to build a new plant in partnership with US’ ExxonMobil, Japan’s SODECO and India’s ONGC Videsh. The $27 billion Yamal LNG project, which began operations last December, has recently reached full capacity and has already shipped two million tons of the liquefied fuel.
Ulaanbaatar/MONTSAME/ At its regular meeting on December 26, the Cabinet approved a National Program on promoting the development of intensive animal husbandry.
Activities to be implemented within the program will be reflected in the Basic Guideline to Develop Socio-Economy every year and required funding will be issued from state and local budgets and foreign loan and assistance. It plans to spend MNT166.3 billion on the program implementation for 2019-2023.
The funding will be spent on rendering support to build capacity of managers and professional association of intensive animal husbandry, transfer it into cluster system, import high productive livestock, naturalize, ensure food safety and introduce technology.
As a result of the program implementation, it is expected to increase the utilization of milk producing enterprises by 35 percent, the number of cattle to be bred by two-fold, output of milk and meat from one cattle by 20 percent and the volume of milk and meat to be processed industrially by 30 percent.
Moreover, it aims at zeroing the import of liquid milk and decreasing the import of dried milk by 30 percent and import of other milk products by 15 percent, alongside 90 percent and 70 percent decreases of egg and honey imports respectively. Furthermore, it is estimated to improve the fodder provision of intensive animal husbandry by 40 percent and modernization of techniques and technology by 30 percent.
Promoting top entities and businesspeople who contribute to the national economy, the Entrepreneur Ceremony took place on December 21, 2018 for the 22nd year organized by the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI).
Mr. B.Lkhagvajav, President and Chairman of the MNCCI, opened the ceremony and said: “Mongolia overcame economic crisis with the hard work of 157 thousand business entities which created over a million work places. As a result, growth at the macro-economic level grew by 6.3 percent.”
The top entities that immensely contributed to the Mongolian economy were selected in recognition of their annual business achievement, profits, social responsibility, employment, export and others.
This year’s Entrepreneur Grand Prix went to the Suu LLC, national producer of milk and milk products. Also, Mongol Bazalt LLC was awarded with ‘Golden Cup’ award of the Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CACCI).
Independent Agency Against Corruption (IAAC) held its monthly meeting yesterday and presented the progress of some notorious cases involving Parliament Members, including the Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Development Fund (SMEDF) and MNT 60 billion sell-off of public service positions.
Regarding the SMEDF scandal, the IAAC confirmed that several high-profile officials have issued over MNT 100 billion through affiliated people and entities; however, due to the scale of these cases, the IAAC announced that they are unable to disclose the number of people involved as the investigation requires more time. The IAAC also informed that the agency has issued a request to suspend the rights of three Parliament members over the SMEDF scandal, which is currently under review by the Prosecutor, and refused to reveal the names of these MPs.
Moving on to the case involving the Development Bank of Mongolia, the IAAC noted that they have finished investigating around 20 relevant cases, which are now being settled at the court.
The IAAC authorities then commented on the bribery case involving special permission of Salkhit silver deposit, disclosing that an investigation is being conducted on USD 1.3 million worth potential bribery that entail high-profile Government official; thus, the people involved has been detained until further findings.
Since the last monthly meeting, the IAAC opened a new case on officials responsible for air pollution reduction actions, specifically the Clean Air Fund. Due to the fact that the case was recently opened, the IAAC officials refused to disclose any further and stated to give details at the next month’s meeting.
During the Parliamentary election of 2016, a voice recording of three high-profile officials of the Mongolian People’s Party went viral on social media. In the recordings, more than 8,000 jobs in Mongolia’s government and state-owned enterprises were being offered by the MPP. The IAAC initially dropped the case due to lack of evidence; however, the case was reopened after a new situation was emerged earlier this year. Yesterday, the IAAC announced that the General Intelligence Agency has confirmed the authenticity of the recordings; thus, investigation has begun on the implementation of the sell-off.
Additionally, the IAAC presented the results of corruption studies, in which the judiciary was ranked number one on corrupted institution list. The list is as follows:
2. Land Department
3. Medical institutions
4. Ministries and Government agencies
5. Education institutions.
Cabinet, at its regular meeting yesterday, authorized Minister of Energy Davaasuren Tserenpil and Director General of the Energy Regulatory Commission Tleikhan Almalik to sign the agreement on establishing a power plant near Tavan Tolgoi deposits that will supply electricity to Oyu Tolgoi project.
Within the frame, Tavan Tolgoi thermal power plant with a capacity of 300 MW will be built and connected to the substation of Oyu Tolgoi project in two 220 kW power lines. Officials highlighted that the capacity can be increased in the future and the construction will start in March 2020 and finish by the end of June 2023. Tavan Tolgoi Power Plant LLC will be responsible for the necessary financing under its Investment Agreement.
On the other hand, Oyu Tolgoi LLC has agreed to draw electricity from domestic network as much as possible starting from next year.
Cabinet also approved the National Program on Supporting Intensive Animal Farming. Accordingly, the implementing activities will be added to the Government’s annual action plan and the required funding will be financed from State and local budget, as well as foreign loans and aids. The total cost of the program, which will be implemented in 2019-2023, is estimated at MNT 166.3 billion.
These will be spent on supporting intensive animal farmers, capacity building professional associations, transferring to cluster system, importing high-yield livestock and animals, ensuring food safety and introducing new technologies.
Later on, the Cabinet ratified the bill on health insurance. In 2019, the health insurance premium amount will be four percent of an individual’s monthly salary or an income equal to it. The amount will be divided in half between the employee and the employer.
New health premium to take effect in January
As for self-employed persons, herders, students and minors, the monthly premium will be MNT 3200, and MNT 6400 for foreigners, refugees and citizens whose only source of income is pension, members of a family in need of social welfare assistance, parents raising their children under the age of two (three for twins and triplets), military personnel and prisoners.
According to a study conducted by Tenkhleg Zuuch LLC, a total of 6,607 household accommodation were available in Ulaanbaatar as of 2018. Research institutions noted that the housing oversupply will prolong further due to low purchasing ability of households. While 24,773 household apartments were commissioned in 2013 when the eight percent mortgage loan was introduced; however, the number dropped to 12,277 households in 2017. As for 2018, about 12,000 household accommodation is expected to be built, of which 20 percent are already sold.
As of today, the average housing price stands at MNT 2.2 million per square meter in Ulaanbaatar, while the average purchasing power of households remains at MNT 1.2 million.
Tenkhleg Zuuch also expects housing demand to reach 33,102 in the next three years and supply to 38,514 households, creating 5,412 household housing surplus in the real estate market.
Housing price index fell by over 10 percent in 2015-2016 and slightly increased since the beginning of this year. The study also forecasted the average real estate prices to surge next year as the Government is planning to continue the eight percent mortgage program and to increase financial sources of the program.
The Trump administration is poised to propose maintaining Obama-era restrictions on mercury pollution from power plants, responding to opposition from electric utilities that have already spent billions of dollars to meet the requirements.
At the same time, the Environmental Protection Agency is set to propose changes that may make it harder to toughen mercury emissions standards in the future by disavowing the legal justification for the regulation and altering the way its health benefits are measured. The proposal reflects a balancing act for the Trump administration, which has struggled to address a rule loathed by coal producers
The proposal reflects a balancing act for the Trump administration, which has struggled to address a rule loathed by coal producers, viewed warily by EPA officials who object to how it was justified and yet has already been complied with by power companies.
“We’ve been in compliance for a number of years now, the equipment is operating and it is effective. We really see no reason at all to roll back the requirements," said John McManus, senior vice president of environmental services at American Electric Power Company Inc. “Retired plants aren’t coming back, and we see no reason to turn back the controls that are running on our existing plants.”
The 2012 rule prompted a wave of coal-fired power plant closures and drew the ire of a powerful foe: coal magnate Robert E. Murray, who has spent years crusading against the regulation in court. His coal company, Murray Energy Corp., argues its domestic sales have suffered as a result of the standards.
But power companies such as Duke Energy Corp. have implored the EPA and White House to leave the mercury standards intact. Utilities have already spent some $18 billion installing required technology to fulfill the requirements and satisfy April 2015 compliance deadlines that have long since passed, industry trade groups told the EPA this summer.
For instance, AEP has invested nearly $8.8 billion on environmental equipment retrofits at its coal-fired power plants since 2000, with much of that equipment contributing to its compliance with the mercury rule. The utility-owner has retired 7,200 megawatts of coal-fired generation from 2011 through 2016 as part of its effort to meet the more stringent mercury rules. Mercury emissions from its plants have dropped 95 percent since 2001.
Coal-fired power plants are the largest U.S. source of mercury, a metal that is converted in soil and water into a neurotoxin that can lower IQ, cause motor function deficits, damage the nervous system and lead to more heart attacks.
“More mercury in the air means more mercury in the water, which means more mercury in the fish, which means more mercury in people who eat the fish,” said Janet McCabe, an acting assistant administrator of the EPA’s air office in the Obama administration. “That is especially problematic for young children, pregnant women and the babies they are carrying.” The EPA is set to propose keeping the mercury limits in place while simultaneously withdrawing an assertion the requirements are “appropriate and necessary”
The EPA is set to propose keeping the mercury limits in place while simultaneously withdrawing an assertion the requirements are “appropriate and necessary” — a legal benchmark under the Clean Air Act.
The change would arm the rule’s opponents with ammunition for another lawsuit challenging the mercury standards in an effort to win a court-ordered repeal. It’s not clear any such litigation would prevail; a 2008 ruling by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on another mercury rule sets a high bar.
Although the EPA is ensnared by the partial government shutdown, it has enough leftover funding to continue operating, at least this week. The agency is expected to issue the proposal as soon as Wednesday.
The EPA also is set to recalculate the cost and benefits of the mercury rule in a way that dramatically shrinks its estimated potential health gains — a change that could prevent the EPA from making the mercury pollution requirements more stringent in the future.
At issue are the broad health benefits that spring from regulations — not just those that directly flow from reducing a pollutant explicitly targeted by individual rules. In the case of the mercury rule, for example, the technology utilities employed to curtail mercury emissions also pared the amount of nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide belched out of their power plants, which the EPA said would reduce asthma attacks, heart attacks and premature deaths.
Those “co-benefits” of the mercury rule were an essential figure in the Obama administration’s calculation of the its ultimate price tag. Although the EPA estimated it would cost industry $9.6 billion annually to install necessary technology, it said health benefits from reducing mercury and other non-targeted pollutants were worth nearly 10 times more.
As much as 89 percent of the 2012 rule’s health benefits came from reducing fine particulate matter — beyond the toxic air pollutants the measure actually targeted, according to the EPA.
Now, under President Donald Trump, the EPA is set to assert that because it is leaning on its Clean Air Act authority to regulate hazardous air pollutants, it is improper to consider the health benefits of paring other pollution.
The EPA may argue that pollutants regulated under other programs can’t be used to “justify a regulation that is only supposed to be about hazardous air pollutants,” said Jeff Holmstead, an assistant EPA administrator under former President George W. Bush.
By disregarding co-benefits, the new proposal is set to conclude that the rule’s costs exceed its benefits. Environmentalists say the change could preclude the agency from counting these benefits to justify the cost of toughening requirements in the future.
The Trump administration approach would limit “the EPA’s ability to recognize the full range of benefits that result from pollution control,” said Joe Goffman, a former senior counsel in agency’s air office. The result is “to limit the reach of the Clean Air Act as a tool for regulating air pollution and protecting public health.”
The mercury standards have been the subject of litigation for years. After they were imposed in 2012, the coal industry sued, ultimately forcing the EPA to revisit its conclusions. The Obama administration reinstated the regulation in 2016 and Murray Energy sued to block it, but a federal appeals court delayed the case so the Trump administration could reconsider the rule....
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean officials attended a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday for an aspirational project to modernize North Korean railways and roads and connect them with the South.
The ceremony at the North Korean border town of Kaesong came weeks after the Koreas conducted a joint survey on the northern railway sections they hope to someday link with the South.
The ambitious project is among a variety of peace gestures agreed between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and liberal South Korean President Moon Jae-in as they push ahead with engagement amid a stalemate in larger nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang.
But beyond on-site reviews and ceremonies, the Koreas cannot move the project much further along without the removal of U.S.-led sanctions against the North.
During his three summits with Moon and a meeting with President Donald Trump in June, Kim signed vague statements pledging a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula without describing how and when it would occur. But followup nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang have stalled for months over the sequencing of the denuclearization that Washington wants and the removal of international sanctions desired by Pyongyang.
About 100 South Koreans, including government officials and lawmakers, attended the ceremony. They were greeted by North Korean officials including Ri Son Gwon, who heads an agency dealing with inter-Korean affairs. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, executive secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, and officials from China, Russia and Mongolia also attended the ceremony, according to South Korea’s Unification Ministry.
The Seoul government plans to conduct further surveys on North Korean railways and roads before drawing up a detailed blueprint for the project. Actual construction will proceed depending on the progress in the North’s denuclearization and the state of sanctions against the country, the ministry said.
“We plan to hold detailed negotiations with the North to coordinate on the specific levels we want to achieve in the modernization of railways and roads and how to carry out the project,” said Eugene Lee, the ministry’s spokeswoman.
Even if the North takes concrete steps toward denuclearization and gains sanctions relief, some experts say updating North Korean rail networks and trains, which creak slowly along the rails that were first built in the early 20th century, could take decades and massive investment.
Seoul said it received an exemption to sanctions from the U.N. Security Council to proceed with Wednesday’s ceremony as it involved the usage of South Korean transport vehicles and goods. The Koreas’ joint survey of North Korean railways in November, which also required U.N. approval, marked the first time a South Korean train traveled on North Korean tracks.
The Koreas in December 2007 began freight services between South Korea’s Munsan Station in Paju and the North’s Panmun Station to support operations at a now-shuttered joint factory park in Kaesong. The South used the trains to move construction materials north, while clothing and shoes made at the factory park were sent south. The line was cut in November 2008 due to political tensions over North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.
The Kaesong factory park was shut down under the South’s previous conservative government in February 2016 following a North Korean nuclear test and long-range rocket launch....
Mass production of Russia’s new Aurus limousine, developed for the presidential motorcade, will begin in the eastern region of Tatarstan. The first vehicles will roll off the production line in 2020.
The project will be implemented at the production facilities of Russia's automobile company Sollers in the special economic zone of Alabuga, Tatarstan Republic, according to the Trade Minister Denis Manturov.
The automaker is set to provide production capacities for manufacturing some 5,000 Aurus cars per year, the minister said.
Aurus vehicles are currently produced as a limited series by the Russian state-run Central Scientific Research Automobile and Automotive Engines Institute (NAMI).
The maximum annual output totals 250 vehicles. So far, the institute has been producing only limousines and sedans. The current production levels are reportedly seriously lagging behind demand. An off-road vehicle Aurus Komendant will see the light in 2021-2022.
Aurus was born out of a project dubbed “Kortezh” (cortege), which was aimed at giving a boost to the domestic automobile industry by investing taxpayer money into developing a domestic presidential car line.
The goal was to have many components of the vehicle produced domestically, importing expertise and know-how as needed. Kortezh is estimated to have cost about $190 million over five years, according to the minister.