|“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|
Relationship with southern neighbor China is key to Mongolia’s development potential as link between Asia and Europe.
A visit to China by Mongolia’s foreign minister late last month marked a significant and positive shift in the relations between the two countries and facilitated the implementation of an economic bailout package that Mongolia badly needs.
On Feb 20, just as Mongolian Foreign Minister Tsend Munkh-Orgil visited Beijing, China joined an international consortium to provide Mongolia with a series of loans to ensure the country has enough cash on hand to cover payments on some so-called Chinggis Bonds that are coming due this month.
China’s part of the package included a commitment to extending a currency swap line worth 15 billion yuan ($2.18 billion).
Mongolia had angered China in November by allowing a visit by the 14th Dalai Lama, who has pushed for separating Tibet from China.
In January, during a phone call between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Munkh-Orgil, Mongolia said it had reflected deeply on the visit and promised to not allow the Dalai Lama to visit again.
On Feb 20, Wang said the bilateral relationship “is ready for another start”.
Just five years ago, Mongolia was the fastest growing economy in the world with GDP expanding by more than 17 percent. In 2016, the country barely avoided a contraction, and only managed growth of about 1 percent thanks to a resurgence in coal prices toward the end of the year.
“The economy (of Mongolia) has been slowing in addition to the softening of commodity prices, but in terms of the near-term outlook I would say it is positive,” said Akiko Terada-Hagiwara, a senior economist in the East Asia department of the Asian Development Bank.
Long reliant on its plentiful natural resources, Mongolia has other needs, not the least of which is infrastructure to facilitate further growth.
“In terms of infrastructure, the country needs to build a lot. Electricity demand is high … but they will need to shift to clean energy,” said Terada-Hagiwara. “In terms of growth, probably more infrastructure is needed around the mining areas, including transportation and water supply.”
And both the investment and markets that Mongolia needs are in China. Mongolia depends on China for much more than just quick cash to stave off a default.
The country is likely to benefit from infrastructure projects associated with the Belt and Road Initiative, a China-led drive to improve connectivity along the historical Silk Road trading routes.
A landlocked country of 3.1 million people, Mongolia has just two neighbors, China and Russia. Without access to ports, Mongolian coal has to be transported overland.
The country has been working with a number of international companies, including large Chinese enterprises, to develop mega projects but it has yet to overcome a bottleneck caused by a lack of railway capacity.
That is why Mongolia could emerge as one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Belt and Road and become a pivotal link between Asia and Europe. One leg of a proposed Eurasian rail link would travel through Mongolia.
Little of this is likely to happen, however, without support from China.
Mongolia’s neighbor has long been the largest export market for its goods, including coal, milk, copper, gold, cashmere and leather. By the end of 2016, China bought some 80 percent of Mongolia’s exports. At the same time, China provided about a third of Mongolia’s own imports.
This year, the development of the Oyu Tolgoi gold and copper mine, which has long been delayed, is coming online and is expected to be a big driver of economic growth and should help keep the economy in positive territory.
The Oyu Tolgoi mine is operated by multinational mining giant Rio Tinto which started construction of the mine in 2010 but production was stopped in 2013 after a disagreement over costs and revenue sharing between the company and the Mongolian government. Shipments started again in 2015.
Copper and gold are two of Mongolia’s many plentiful natural resources.
However, the country may be most famous for its coal deposits. Most coal mined in Mongolia goes to China.
“Coal has to be exported to China but currently most of it is done by truck. If they had trains going to China that would be more efficient but currently they don’t,” said Terada-Hagiwara.
Most coal moves out of Mongolia’s giant mines such as Tavan Tolgoi in large trucks that, on good days, flow relentlessly into China through border crossings along the Inner Mongolia autonomous region.
There are occasionally hiccups — the flow was temporarily stopped in December when some border townships such as Urad Middle Banner raised fees to cross into China.
It is only when it reaches the other side of the Chinese border that the coal can finally be loaded into trains and distributed throughout the country.
For China, having access to high quality coal from nearby Mongolia is a boon.
Thomas Hugger, founder and CEO of Asia Frontier Capital, a fund that invests in Mongolia and Mongolia-focused companies, noted that China has to source other commodities from around the world, while for coal “they have some of the best resources at their doorstep”.
The timing may also be good for Mongolia, said Hugger, because “China just announced that it will stop importing coal from North Korea, and that is huge for Mongolia”.
China has been keen to work with Mongolia to develop projects that give it access to coal, often at prices below the global market price.
In December, the Mongolian government met with representatives of Shenhua Coal, a major Chinese State-owned enterprise, which is considering taking over the development of the giant Tavan Tolgoi mine from Mongolian government-owned Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi.
The one outstanding issue is a $350 million loan that Erdenes owes to another Chinese company, Chalco.
Mongolia’s Prime Minister Jargaltulga Erdenebat is likely to attend the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in China, which will take place in May.
Mongolia is also looking to boost ties with Russia. The two countries signed a cooperation agreement in February during a visit by the Mongolian foreign minister.
The tripartite program to establish the Mongolia-Russia-China Economic Corridor is also being discussed. The idea for an economic corridor between the three countries was first floated in 2015 and cemented in June 2016 during the 16th Summit of State Heads of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, of which all three countries are members.
The corridor fits in well with the Belt and Road strategy, which was initiated by President Xi Jinping in 2013.
“I am happy with the way our trilateral ties are developing,” said Xi in June 2016. “Our three countries’ ministries, local authorities and companies are working actively to implement this road map, and are organizing intensive coordination of projects in trade, the economy, humanitarian ties, transit traffic, tourism and sports.”
Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ Mongolians are celebrating International Women’s Day for the 62th time since 1955 when the day was first marked following an ordinance issued by People’s Great Khural, the then Parliament.
In dedication to the occasion, we are unveiling some interesting statistics on the state of Mongolian women. Mongolia’s population is 3,119,935, and there are 1,585,952 women, 69 percent of whom live in a city and 31 percent live in the countryside.
On average, Mongolian women weigh 59.4 kg with average height being 157.7 cm. Life expectancy in Mongolia is 69.89 whereas the number is 76 for women and is continually increasing.
Average marriage age among Mongolian women is 24.5, average number of children is 2-3 and 4.9 percent are single mothers.
1 out of every 5 woman holds higher education diploma, and 580,100 women are employed with average wage being MNT 808,900. 54 percent of Mongolian women actively vote.
The Chinese Embassy in Moscow is urging Chinese tourists not to try and touch or hug Russian children when visiting the capital.
The embassy included the advice in a special six-part video series, informing Chinese tourists about Russian traditions and etiquette.
Other helpful tips include asking Chinese tourists not to climb on trees or monuments, not to speak loudly while on the Moscow metro, and to queue correctly in shops and restaurants.
It also prepares vital advice on the correct flowers to give during a Russian wedding ceremony.
The number of Chinese tourists in Russia continues to rise, with many government tourist attractions and high-end department stores working to accommodate the new wave of visitors. More than 1.3 million Chinese tourists visited Russia in 2015, according to the Federal Tourism Agency — a 64 percent increase from 2014.
While newly-minted President Donald Trump is fighting to get coal back in the energy game, on the other side of the pond the fossil fuel is decidedly out of fashion.
The closure of coal mines, including the last British underground coal mine in 2015, is part of a global trend away from coal, as countries transition to less polluting natural gas and renewables.
The effect of the mine closures, along with the shuttering of coal-fired power stations – three closed in 2016 – has meant a dramatic fall in greenhouse gas emissions for the island nation.
According to Carbon Brief, an energy and climate science website, with the use of British coal used for electricity at record lows, carbon emissions in 2016 were about 381 million tonnes. New Scientist points out that with greenhouse gas escapes dropping almost 6% in 2016, the UK's carbon pollution is at its lowest level since 1894:
Emissions of carbon dioxide from coal fell 50 per cent in 2016 as use of the fossil fuel dropped by 52 per cent, contributing to an overall drop in carbon output of 5.8 per cent last year compared with 2015, Carbon Brief said.
The assessment reveals that coal use has fallen by almost three-quarters in just a decade.
New Scientist names cheaper natural gas, a hike in carbon taxes, expansion of renewable energy, less demand for overall energy, and the closure of Redcar steelworks in late 2015, as all factors resulting in cleaner air. Although, it points out that carbon from natural gas use rose 12.5%, and emissions from oil increased 1.6% due to lower gasoline prices.
Over 20% of the United Kingdom's energy needs are still met by coal, which is mostly imported. Since 2000, U.K. power generators Electricite de France SA to RWE AG have bought more of the fuel from abroad, where coal from Australia to Colombia is cheaper, according to the Confederation of U.K. Coal Producers.
In New York on Tuesday copper for delivery in May fell as much as 1.7% to $2.6080 per pound or $5,750 a tonne after a surge in warehouse stocks in Asia limiting the impact of supply disruptions at the world's biggest mines.
Reuters reports copper inventories at facilities controlled by the LME unexpectedly jumped by almost 39,000 tonnes, the biggest inflow in more than a decade and reversing a downtrend in place since mid-December. Shanghai Exchange stocks jumped by 24,000 tonnes to total 320,000 tonnes, an 11-month high.
In February copper jumped to its highest level since May 2015 after workers at BHP Billiton's giant Escondida mine in Chile first went on strike, but a slowdown in China which consumes some 46% of the world's copper and diminishing prospects of a bold infrastructure program in the US have shifted market attention to demand strength.
In 2006, the company went door to door talking to workers’ wives, trying to convince them to tell their husbands to go back to work
The strike by the main union representing 2,500 workers at Escondida, the world's largest copper operation by a wide margin, already in its 26th day shows no signs of ending. Protestors again blocked access to the mine on Tuesday, while management appears to be awaiting the 30-day deadline that will allow it to make individual offers to workers to return to duties.
Bloomberg explains that should more than 50% of workers accept BHP's individual proposals the union will legally have to end the strike although the union said it's prepared to hold out for 60 days:
"In 2006, the company went door to door talking to workers’ wives, trying to convince them to tell their husbands to go back to work," Carlos Allendes, a union spokesman said. "We understand that their policy will be exactly the same this time."
The previous labour strike in 2006 ended after 25 days. The previous wage deal was signed four years ago copper was trading around $3.40 a pound.
BHP, which operates and majority owns the mine with fellow Melbourne diversified giant Rio Tinto, declared force majeure at the mine on February 10. In its annual financial results BHP said it expected full-year production at Escondida of 1.07 million tonnes, which gives the mine a nearly 5% shares of global primary copper production.
Peru strike adds to Freeport woes
In Peru top listed copper producer Freeport McMoRan's Cerro Verde mine which recently underwent a massive expansion has also been hit by labour action. The mine union said workers will walk off the job on Friday for a five-day period, but both representatives from the union and mine management did not rule out an indefinite strike Reuters reports. Cerro Verde last year more than doubled its copper output to a shade under 500,000 tonnes.
Freeports Grasberg mine faces a concentrate export ban as it negotiates a new operating licence and ownership agreements from the government of the Asian nation. Last week Phoenix-Arizona-based Freeport said last week it saw not return to business as usual at its operating subsidiary in the country.
PT-FI is in the process of suspending its investments in Papua and reducing production by roughly 60% from normal levels. In January Freeport said for each month of delay in obtaining approval to export, the Indonesian subsidiary's share of production is projected to be reduced by approximately 32,000 tonnes of copper and 100,000 ounces of gold....
Anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks on Tuesday published what it said were thousands of pages of internal CIA discussions about hacking techniques used over several years, renewing concerns about the security of consumer electronics and embarrassing yet another U.S. intelligence agency.
The discussion transcripts showed that CIA hackers could get into Apple Inc iPhones, Google Inc Android devices and other gadgets in order to capture text and voice messages before they were encrypted with sophisticated software.
Cyber security experts disagreed about the extent of the fallout from the data dump, but said a lot would depend on whether WikiLeaks followed through on a threat to publish the actual hacking tools that could do damage.
Reuters could not immediately verify the contents of the published documents, but several contractors and private cyber security experts said the materials, dated between 2013 and 2016, appeared to be legitimate.
A longtime intelligence contractor with expertise in U.S. hacking tools told Reuters the documents included correct "cover" terms describing active cyber programs.
Among the most noteworthy WikiLeaks claims is that the Central Intelligence Agency, in partnership with other U.S. and foreign agencies, has been able to bypass the encryption on popular messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Telegram and Signal.
The files did not indicate the actual encryption of Signal or other secure messaging apps had been compromised.
The information in what WikiLeaks said were 7,818 web pages with 943 attachments appears to represent the latest breach in recent years of classified material from U.S. intelligence agencies.
Security experts differed over how much the disclosures could damage U.S. cyber espionage. Many said that, while harmful, they do not compare to former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden's revelations in 2013 of mass NSA data collection.
"This is a big dump about extremely sophisticated tools that can be used to target individual user devices ... I haven’t yet come across the mass exploiting of mobile devices," said Tarah Wheeler, senior director of engineering and principal security advocate for Symantec.
Stuart McClure, CEO of Cylance, an Irvine, California, cyber security firm, said that one of the most significant disclosures shows how CIA hackers cover their tracks by leaving electronic trails suggesting they are from Russia, China and Iran rather than the United States.
Other revelations show how the CIA took advantage of vulnerabilities that are known, if not widely publicized.
In one case, the documents say, U.S. and British personnel, under a program known as Weeping Angel, developed ways to take over a Samsung smart television, making it appear it was off when in fact it was recording conversations in the room.
The CIA and White House declined comment. "We do not comment on the authenticity or content of purported intelligence documents," CIA spokesman Jonathan Liu said in a statement.
Google declined to comment on the purported hacking of its Android platform, but said it was investigating the matter.
Snowden on Twitter said the files amount to the first public evidence that the U.S. government secretly buys software to exploit technology, referring to a table published by WikiLeaks that appeared to list various Apple iOS flaws purchased by the CIA and other intelligence agencies.
Apple Inc did not respond to a request for comment.
The documents refer to means for accessing phones directly in order to catch messages before they are protected by end-to-end encryption tools like Signal.
Signal inventor Moxie Marlinspike said he took that as "confirmation that what we’re doing is working." Signal and the like are "pushing intelligence agencies from a world of undetectable mass surveillance to a world where they have to use expensive, high-risk, extremely targeted attacks."...
Workers demanding better conditions and benefits have destroyed the production line of a Chinese-owned factory making clothes for Swedish fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz, in one of the most violent labor disputes in Myanmar in years.
The month-old dispute, which also saw managers attacked, highlights the need for Aung San Suu Kyi's government to enact social and labor reforms, analysts say, while at the same time reassuring investors looking to tap the opening of one of the world's fastest growing economies after decades of isolation.
Production at Hangzhou Hundred-Tex Garment (Myanmar) Company, which was one of H&M's 40 suppliers in Myanmar, has been halted since Feb. 9, workers and managers in the Chinese company said.
"H&M group is deeply concerned about the recent conflict and our business relationship with this factory is on hold at the moment," the Swedish-based company said in a statement. It declined to elaborate on the impact on its global supply chain.
"We are monitoring the situation closely and are in close dialogue with concerned parties. We strongly distance ourselves from all kind of violence."
Labor activists say the protest in the commercial hub Yangon - in which equipment, buildings and vehicles were damaged - shows the lack of protection for workers in the labor-intensive textile industry.
The dispute started with a strike in late January following the sacking of a local labor union leader, according to workers and managers. Workers demanded a better performance review system and healthcare coverage.
It turned violent on Feb. 9, prompting the factory's closure. Video footage seen by Reuters shows dozens of female workers surrounding and beating a Chinese manager who was struggling to escape. One company manager and a local labor department official confirmed the authenticity of the footage.
In late February hundreds of workers stormed the factory and damaged facilities including textile machinery, computers and surveillance cameras.
"The tension between workers and management was getting bigger day-by-day," said the company's former union leader That Paing Oo, who was fired in January for taking leave without approval.
He had led a labor protest late last year that successfully pushed Hangzhou Hundred-Tex Garment to compensate employees who did not receive overtime pay, several workers said. The company confirmed that it had paid a delayed overtime payment of 70 million kyat ($51,736) to almost all of its 570 workers based on a settlement reached with the workers in December.
The Chinese embassy in Myanmar described the incident as an "attack" and has filed a "serious request" to Myanmar government to hold those involved accountable.
No one was arrested in the late February violence, police said. Workers' representatives are still negotiating with management over conditions once the factory is able to re-open.
The Chinese company makes garments such as skirts and shirts exclusively for H&M, its assistant manager San Htwe told Reuters. He said the damage would cost around $75,000, and the company was planning to demand compensation from Myanmar's Labor Department.
The conflict is troublesome for H&M, which is widely seen as being at the forefront among large apparel companies in promoting workers' rights and fair wages.
H&M has called on governments in sourcing countries such as Cambodia and Bangladesh to ensure fair pay for workers. It has said it cannot unilaterally require individual suppliers raise wages as it generally shares them with other brands, although according to the owner that is not the case with the factory in this dispute.
H&M, which sources the bulk of its clothes in Asian low-cost countries such as Bangladesh, Cambodia and Myanmar, generally ranks high in sustainability indexes such as the Corporate Knights magazine's Global 100 index, where in 2016 it ranked 20th, lagging only Adidas in its sector....