|“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|
Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ On December 6, G.Zandanshatar, Head of the Cabinet Secretariat met with Neil Saker, the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) Resident Representative for Mongolia.
At the meeting, the sides exchanged views on current conditions of the state budget and banking and finance sector of Mongolia.
The Head of the Cabinet Secretariat noted Mongolia’s involvement in the IMF’s Extended Fund Facility (EFF) program brought accelerated economic growth, improvement in the public budget balance and more investment. He also said the Government of Mongolia endeavours to decrease budget deficits and to diversify the economy by improving budget discipline and reducing expenditures.
Mr. Neil Saker expressed IMF’s satisfaction at Mongolian Government’s successful implementation of the EFF program, highlighting the 2018 State Budget is predicted to show a positive balance.
The parties also shared information about Mongolia’s export policy and economic growth.
Researchers propose a new theory to explain iron-oxide concretions found in Utah and Mongolia www.phys.org
A team of researchers from Japan, Mongolia and the U.K. has developed a new theory to explain the origin of iron-oxide concretions (hard, solid masses) found in Utah and Mongolia. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the group describes their theory and how well it tested.
People have known about the iron-oxide balls found in Utah for hundreds, if not thousands of years—they are often referred to as Moqui marbles after the local Indian tribe. But how the small spheres came to exist is a mystery. It is the same story with the little balls in Mongolia. Interest in both has spiked in recent years due to the "blueberries" (hematite spherules) found on Mars back in 2004—many geologists believe they developed in the same way as the balls on Earth. In this new effort, the researchers suggest they may have solved the mystery of their origin on Earth, and by extension, on Mars, as well.
The researchers started by looking at samples of the balls using X-ray diffraction and optical microscopes. This allowed them to get a good look at the cores of the balls. After studying the makeup of the interior of the balls, the researchers concluded that they were first nothing but sandstone (mostly calcite). But then, the sandstone was very slowly dissolved by acidic water rich in iron, resulting in the formation of the balls, which notably have calcite cores. The researchers next conducted lab experiments designed to make similar balls using the same process. They report that their efforts were successful.
The researchers suggest their findings offer evidence of flowing water on Mars during the time the "blueberries" came to exist. They note the lack of a calcite core does not mean it was never there—such cores could very easily have vanished due to over-wash flowing through the rock. They further suggest that such an occurrence would also explain the dearth of carbonate on Mars' surface—it would have been dissolved as part of the process that led to the creation of the blueberries.
Ulaanbaatar/MONTSAME/ On December 3, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs organized a regular consultative meeting of staffs of the Mongolian government institutions, who work in charge of relations affair with the U.S.A.
The consultative meeting involved about 20 representatives of over 10 organizations, including the Parliament, government, ministries and agencies, with the presence of diplomats of the US Embassy headed by Charge d’ affaires a.i Manuel P.Micaller.
In his opening speech, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs D.Davaasuren emphasized that Mongolia has been developing active relations and cooperation with its third neighbor –the U.S.A. "In particular many important events have been occurred in 2018 including the visit of Mongolia Prime Minister to the U.S.A, elevation of bilateral relations into expanded comprehensive partnership, signing of a roadmap for expanded economic partnership and the MCC USD350 million Compact as well as others."
He also asked the representatives to collaborate for making preparations for regular political consultative meeting between the two countries to be held in Washington early 2019.
During the meeting, representatives reviewed the events happened between the two countries in 2018 and exchanged views on measures to be implemented in 2019 to expand the bilateral cooperation.
Parliament was scheduled to appoint the next Minister of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry, and discuss the amendments to the Minerals Law at its plenary session yesterday; however, both discussions had to be postponed due to failure to form quorum as four Members of the Parliament (MPs) staged a sit-in and demanded Speaker Enkhbold Miyegombo to submit his resignation letter. Blaming the absentees for interfering with the continuity of Parliament operation, MP Enkh-Amgalan Luvsantseren requested the Parliament to issue a demand to MPs that were not present at the session.
A quorum is reached when at least 39 out of 76 parliamentarians attend the session. However, 40 MPs submitted a petition to not attend plenary sessions until the Parliament Speaker resigns from his position last month. Continuing on to the next stage of protest, MP Bold Luvsanvandan, Batzandan Jalbasuren, Oyun-Erdene Luvsannamsrai and Ayursaikhan Tumurbaatar staged a sit-in; thus, the Speaker received the four members to listen to their demand. The protesting MPs stressed, “We are organizing a sit-in because we think the Parliament Speaker has violated the Constitution. The evidence of Mongolian People’s Party authorities discussing to selloff public positions to raise MNT 60 billion was disclosed during the 2016 Parliamentary Election. Speaker Enkhbold was involved in the case and we perceive you are unqualified to act as the Parliament Speaker. If you do not, we will move onto the next stage of protest.”
• A quorum is reached when at least 39 out of 76 parliamentarians attend the session.
• MPs refuse to attend plenary session over Speaker's involvement with MNT 60 billion sell-off case.
• Speaker expresses willing to take responsibility after the court rules against him.
Speaker Enkhbold responded, “The law clearly states five instances of ousting the Parliament Speaker. You need to address the issue in accordance with the law of Mongolia. Regarding the MNT 60 billion sell-off case, I am not against organizing a public hearing; however, it is not possible to hold a public hearing on a case that is currently under investigation. The President also submitted a request to the Constitutional Court. I am willing to take any responsibility after the court ruling.” With the failure to form a quorum, the Parliament decided to postpone several items on the order paper. Thus, the Parliament is expected to discuss the appointment of the Minister of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry, as well as the Minerals Law, which is expected to extend 2.5 percent gold royalties for five years, today.
On the occasion of the upcoming international Anti-Corruption Day, the Independent Authority Against Corruption (IAAC) held a discussion under the theme “Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) Development Fund: Issue and Solution” yesterday. At the discussion, the IAAC disclosed some of the inspection results on SME Development Fund.
A spokesperson of the Bank of Mongolia (BoM) said, "SMEs play significant role in food, agriculture and light industry sector, as well as business activation. For instance, SMEs account for 60,330 out of about 78,000 private entities with active operations. These companies employ 43 percent of total workforce.”
Statistics show that SMEs amount to 17.6 percent of Mongolia’s GDP and 2.3 percent of export. As of today, over 900,000 people are employed by SMEs.
The Government, under the 2016-2020 Platform Program, is implementing both financial and non-financial measures to develop SMEs. As for financial support, the Government granted MNT 835.1 billion worth soft-loans to 7,536 lenders from the SME Development Fund since 2009, as well as MNT 130.6 billion from Local Development Funds to 7,536 borrowers.
On the contrary, the accessibility to SME Development Fund stands at about 20-30 percent according to Deputy CEO of Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI) Sarandavaa Myanganbuu. “SMEs have to prepare over 30 different documentations from nine Government bodies and go through 36 processes just to draw loan from SME Development Fund. In average, SMEs spend MNT 200,000 - MNT 1.5 million and 33 days just to request a loan. About 60 percent of loan issuers are small loan requesters of up to MNT 100 million.”
Furthermore, Mr. Sarandavaa disclosed that State and ministry officials account for 80 percent of total SME Development Fund loaners. “Previous lessons show that financial support alone is not enough to develop SMEs. They need consultative services that will coordinate their projects with the possibility of success. A study conducted in 2017 that involved over 2,500 SMEs suggested revision to Laws on tax, labor and SMEs. Also, it shows that the current legal environment has the highest pressure on middle-sized enterprises,” addressed Mr. Sarandavaa.
In addition, the IAAC has conducted an inspection on SME Development Found and found five violations, which were disclosed at the discussion. These are:
Granting loans without proper selections;
High-risks on the repayment of granted loans;
Loan issuance to unclear project implementation date;
No penalties to overdue repayments;
Lack of monitoring and accountability.
Participants also highlighted the lack of transparency of information on project loans, which grants more accessibility to people close to the information.
The Japan Sumo Association said on Wednesday that rank-and-file wrestler Takanoiwa assaulted an attendant of his stable during the ongoing regional tour. Just two months after the sport’s governing body issued a “declaration to eradicate violence,” Takanoiwa, 28, physically attacked a lower-ranked apprentice wrestler, the association said.
According to the JSA’s public relations department head, the apprentice has a swelling in his face. The JSA says it will consider a punishment for Takanoiwa, who has withdrawn from the winter regional tour in Fukuoka.
Takanoiwa, whose real name is A.Baasandorj, has himself been the victim of assault, when on 26 October 2017, when he was hit with a karaoke machine remote control at a lounge bar by fellow Mongolian Harumafuji. The yokozuna retired the following month.
In November, Takanoiwa dropped a damages suit filed against Harumafuji, saying his family in Mongolia had been subject to abuse over the legal action from their compatriots who hold Harumafuji in high regard.
The scandal prompted former yokozuna Takanohana, the head of Takanoiwa’s stable until it was dissolved, to quit the Japan Sumo Association in September.
The Mongolian government has taken the decision to ban the consumption of raw coal in Ulaanbaatar starting from 15 May 2019 in an attempt to reduce air pollution in the capital. About 202 thousand households in the ger districts of Ulaanbaatar burn 1.1 million tons of raw coal each winter, which produce around 80 percent of the smog which envelopes the city. The plan is to conduct an ecological ‘revolution’, turning from raw coal and replacing it with 600 thousand tonnes of briquettes, thereby drastically decreasing air pollution. The briquettes will be made from coal powder by Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi and will be sold at the same price as the raw coal currently used. Is this the golden bullet to the pollution problem? Many people living in the ger districts think not, stating that the briquettes do not generate as much heat and are currently more expensive than the raw coal. At present, 25kg of briquettes is being sold for MNT 3750; pricier than raw coal by MNT 200-700.
Meantime, the government has been trying with limited resources to put a dent in the problem. Subsidies have been offered to families for stoves that produce less pollution, and since January 2017, electricity in many of the city’s highest-polluting districts has been made free at night, when pollution levels are always at their most severe.
The Trump administration is rolling back Obama-era rules on climate change regulation limiting carbon dioxide emissions from coal power plants in the United States, making it easier to build new ones.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plan, announced Thursday, would no longer mandate that plants meet the strict emissions goals of achieving emissions equal to or less than what plants would have achieved with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology.
Under the proposed revisions to the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS), EPA would let new coal plants emit up to 1,900 pounds (862 kg) of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour of electricity. The rule would replace the Obama-era standard allowing only 1,400 pounds of carbon per megawatt-hour.
Proposal eases limits of carbon dioxide emissions from coal power plants, making it easier to build new ones.
EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation Bill Wehrum called the old rule “wishful thinking.”
“Today’s actions reflect our approach of defining new, clean coal standards by data and the latest technological information, not wishful thinking,” he said in a statement.
“U.S. coal-fired power will be a part of our energy future and our revised standards will ensure that the emissions profiles of new plants continue to improve.”
The announcement follows a recent U.S. Energy Information Administration report showing that domestic coal use will sink to a 39-year low this year, largely due to a drop in its use for generating electricity.
Only one, relatively small, new coal-fired generator is expected to come online by the end of 2019, the EIA said.
According to the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, power plant operators have either shut down or announced plans to close at least 630 coal plants in 43 states in the last eight years. That’s about 40% of the U.S. coal fleet, the trade group says.
EPA’s move comes as the world gathers in Poland for what is being dubbed the most important meeting on climate change since the 2015 Paris Agreement, which President Donald Trump has criticized repeatedly.
It also follows the US push to edit a G20 communique by adding a paragraph emphasizing that the US "reiterates its decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, and affirms its strong commitment to economic growth and energy access and security, utilizing all energy sources and technologies, while protecting the environment."
"Today's proposal is nothing more than another thoughtless attempt by the Trump Administration to prop up their backwards and false narrative about reviving coal at the expense of science, public safety, and reality," Mary Anne Hitt, senior director of Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign, said in a statement.
The proposed modifications are Trump’s latest attempt to fulfill campaign promises to revive the coal industry and restore mining jobs. But experts believe they are unlikely to dramatically alter the US power mix or give a big boost to domestic coal demand, which has flagged amid competition from cheap natural gas and renewables....
Mongolia's PM has kept his job, but the country is reeling from fraud and political turmoil www.scmp.com
Mongolian Prime Minister Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh last week survived a vote of no confidence – but now he must juggle party and opposition interests to retain power and fulfil new promises to fight corruption, and his success or failure in doing so will have lasting implications for the country.
The unsuccessful attempt to oust him follows weeks of unrest in the capital, Ulan Bator, as Mongolians protest recent revelations of documented government embezzlement.
Friday’s vote of no confidence was initiated by the Prime Minister’s own party, the Mongolian People’s Party (MPP). Despite the MPP’s 85 per cent majority in Mongolia’s 76-member parliament, the Ikh Hural, he survived the vote with only 40 parliamentarians voting in his favour and 33 against. This factional public infighting is unprecedented for the MPP, a party long seen as a disciplined and united force compared with the rival Democratic Party (DP).
This vote comes on the heels of what has become known locally as the “SME scandal”. In early November, Mongolian news agency Ikon reported that 14 MPs, two cabinet members, and other high-ranking officials had channelled more than US$1 million in government funds to their family and friends. The funds, essentially business loans offered at a severely reduced interest rate, were intended for the development of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Mongolia’s SME fund is crucial to its development. The country is overly dependent on its mineral resources, trading more than 80 per cent of its total national exports to neighbouring China. This overreliance has caused Mongolia’s economy to decline precipitously when world commodity prices dip, or when China decreases its demand.
In 2017, an economic crash and governmental budget mismanagement forced Mongolia to receive a US$5.5 billion bailout from a group of international backers organised by the International Monetary Fund, which included the People’s Bank of China. The bailout programme included a requirement that Mongolia diversify its economy, and growing SMEs is key to growing non-resource revenue.
The Khurelsukh vote followed 10 hours of intense debate, during which members of parliament exchanged barbs and accusations of corruption. The 27 MPP members who revolted against their party framed the vote as an accountability issue, demanding that the Prime Minister step down for failing to provide repercussions for implicated politicians.
In a fierce defence, Khurelsukh declared the vote a ploy by MANAN – the Mongolian word for “fog”, which is also an acronym combining the Mongolian abbreviations for the MPP and the DP. MANAN refers to what Khurelsukh and others have called Mongolia’s “30 families”, the elite group he claims controls both parties.
He alleged that this group, led by current Speaker and former prime minister Miyegombyn Enkhbold, is attempting to topple the government because it is interfering with the elite’s business interests. Echoing the populist rhetoric that was effectively used by current President Khaltmaagiin Battulga’s 2017 election campaign, the Prime Minister depicted himself as a champion of the people intent on fighting elitism and grand corruption in Mongolia’s government.
Mongolians generally perceive their government as having high levels of corruption, and ranked political parties as the country’s second most corrupt institution on a recent Asia Foundation survey. The SME scandal has given the public a focal point for their mistrust, and on November 14, protesters braved frigid temperatures to gather in front of parliament to demand accountability for the missing funds.
The Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry has called on its 3,500 member companies to boycott tax payments until the scandal has been resolved, and is demanding a constitutional amendment to increase public oversight of government finances.
To date, the head of the fund, the state auditor, and the minister overseeing the fund have been dismissed, while others are under investigation. In his comments on Friday, Khurelsukh vowed to audit Mongolia’s 20 other state funds in an effort to root out corruption.
Mongolia’s leading political commentator, Jargalsaikhan Dambadarjaa, told the South China Morning Post that the turmoil of recent weeks will ultimately lead to “cleaning the public government of its bad features” and bolster democracy. He predicts this will be reflected in the 2020 parliamentary elections when new, perhaps less experienced, members are elected for their outsider status.
Three members of the opposition, DP, broke ranks to vote in favour of Khurelsukh. Parliamentarian Jalbasürengiin Batzandan has been stripped of his party membership, and in a Monday press conference accused DP party boss Sodnomzunduin Erdene of being a “puppet of MANAN”, and vowed to fight to reform his former party.
The two others have been barred from running on the party’s ticket in the 2020 election. One of them, Lu Bold, has announced his resignation from DP, leaving it with no official caucus representation in parliament.
While Prime Minister Khurelsukh retained power with promises to address grand corruption, the politicking necessary to save himself in the vote of no confidence may tie his hands. Of the 14 parliamentarians implicated in the SME scandal, eight voted to retain Khurelsukh as Prime Minister.
“The PM has made some difficult bargains to survive the no-confidence vote, both within his party and the opposition,” warns Mogi Badral Bontoi, the chief executive of market intelligence newswire Cover Mongolia. “How much the taxpayers will pay for those promises this time is anyone’s guess.”
Mongolia is no stranger to political turmoil – fewer than half of its prime ministers have served terms longer than two years. As seen in its protracted negotiations with mining giant Rio Tinto, Mongolia’s political instability has long compromised its own development and its relations with investors.
“Short-term political instability should obviously be making our investors and trading partners nervous, but this should not affect the government position and outstanding relations with our largest trading partner, [China],” said Cover Mongolia.
The populist rhetoric of MANAN is highly persuasive in a country with persistent poverty and inequality despite its wealth of resources. Mongolians have seen their politicians repeatedly fail to deliver on promises, and a new poll by the Independent Research Institute of Mongolia shows that 70 per cent of citizens are highly dissatisfied with the current political situation.
Are Khurelsukh’s promises to combat elite corruption merely rhetoric used for his political survival? Or will he truly take on the existing power structure and promote transparency and oversight? It remains to be seen whether he has the capacity to fight corruption fairly and justly within the rule of law, rather than wield rhetoric and selective enforcement to punish his political opponents....
ULAN BATOR, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- The Mongolian government has decided to increase the value of mortgages it issues by 200 billion Mongolian tugriks (76 million U.S. dollars) to 500 billion Mongolian tugriks, said Minister of Construction and Urban Development Khavdislam Badyelkhan on Wednesday.
"The government made the decision to help more people have access to houses ... in Ulan Bator. There are many people who want to apply for mortgages," Badyelkhan said at a press conference.
Currently, tens of thousands of residents in the shantytowns of the capital Ulan Bator and the country's 21 provinces want mortgages, the minister said.
In the first 10 months of the year, a total of 237 billion Mongolian tugriks (90 million dollars) in mortgages have been granted to about 3,600 borrowers, according to the Bank of Mongolia.