|“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/ As of today, 286 secondary schools and 4 kindergartens have been registered in Eco School international program, based on ISO 14001 environmental management system, which aims at ingraining environmental-friendly lifestyle.
The 4th national forum held on November 7-8 highlighted that the country intends to increase the number of eco schools, involving 50 percent of total schools by 2022, as stated in the Education for Sustainable Development national program. The United Nations Environment Program emphasizes that the eco school program is the most efficient and worldwide model program to implement education for sustainable development and the Program is developing cooperation for it.
During the forum, a discussion was held under topic ‘Healthy, Safety, Green Environment’ to release recommendation for the Standard for School Environment being developed by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Sports and necessary information were delivered by professional organizations.
A small wastewater treatment plant with a capacity of 20,000 cubic meters has been opened in the Khan-Uul District of Ulaanbaatar. The facility, which was opened on 6 November, will serve160,000 households from the Yarmag and Nisekh apartment complexes; it was constructed by the HNC Company at a cost of MNT 33 billion from the State Budget. This will help decrease burden on the central wastewater treatment plant which is currently operating with 190,000 cubic meters.
Depending on the wind direction, the bad smell from the wastewater treatment plant is a serious problem in the Mongolian capital during summertime. To solve this, and other problems, a new wastewater treatment plant with a capacity of 250,000 cubic meters, significantly more than the old one is to be constructed in the city. Work on the new plant is expected to begin next spring and to begin operation in 2020.
Mongolia on Thursday celebrated National Pride Day, which commemorates the birth of the legendary conqueror Genghis Khan more than 800 years ago.
Mongolian President Khaltmaa Battulga, Prime Minister Ukhnaa Khurelsukh, Parliament Speaker Miyegombo Enkhbold, other members of the parliament and government ministers paid respects to the statue of Genghis Khan in front of the government palace in the capital Ulan Bator.
The celebrations also included traditional wrestling.
In his speech, Battulga called on the parliament and government to respect justice and the rule of law.
His message is related to issues surrounding the alleged abuse of a fund aimed at helping the development of small and medium-sized enterprises.
Reports recently went public that some lawmakers and their relatives have obtained loans with low interest rates from the fund. The scandal has become headlines in the country.
Mongolia began marking the anniversaries of Genghis Khan's birth as an official public holiday since 2012. The anniversary falls on the first day of first month of winter on the Lunar calendar.
The public will be watching Mongolian Prime Minister U.Khurelsukh’s government for its reaction to massive allegations of misuse of its Small & Medium Enterprise Fund.
In 2009, the Mongolian government expanded a fund to support small and medium enterprises (SME’s). This provided companies with low-interest loans at 3 percent interest for up to five years and contained 2 billion Mongolian Tugrik (roughly USD 780,000 at today’s exchange rate). The fund is reported to have dispersed loans totalling nearly 700 billion tugrik, amounting to several hundred million U.S. dollars. The fund was created in and continues to be overseen by the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Light Industry.
However, many of the companies that received loans are tied to prominent politicians through ownership of the SMEs that benefited. The allegation led the current minister of food, agriculture, and light industry, B Batzorig, a member of parliament for the ruling Mongolian People’s Party (MPP), to offer his resignation. A specific allegation is that the minister’s wife had been directly benefiting from the SME fund. Last week, the chief prosecutor requested the State Great Khural (parliament) to revoke B. Batzorig’s parliamentary immunity, however, it refused to do so, It should be noted that the house is dominated by the MPP.
Google employees will now be able to more freely speak out over issues of sexual harassment at the firm.
Responding to demands from the around 20,000 workers who protested last week, the company has said it will end the practice of "forced arbitration" in cases of sexual harassment.
Arbitration will now be optional, chief executive Sundar Pichai said in an all-staff email.
The company did not, however, respond employees' demands in other major areas of concern, angering campaigners.
Most notably, it did not comment on calls for Google's board to have an employee representative, and for the company's chief diversity officer to report directly to the chief executive.
In an email to staff on Thursday, Mr Pichai said: "Over the past few weeks Google's leaders and I have heard your feedback and have been moved by the stories you've shared.
"We recognize that we have not always gotten everything right in the past and we are sincerely sorry for that. It's clear we need to make some changes."
The measures, Mr Pichai said, will increase transparency around instances of sexual harassment, expand mandatory training, and offer increased support for those with claims.
Most impactful will be a shift away from forced arbitration, a highly-criticised practice that meant employees were contractually-bound to deal with complaints internally, in what some legal observers have described as being a "private justice system".
"We will make arbitration optional for individual sexual harassment and sexual assault claims," Mr Pichai wrote.
"Google has never required confidentiality in the arbitration process and arbitration still may be the best path for a number of reasons (eg personal privacy) but, we recognize that choice should be up to you."
But the Tech Workers Coalition, which backed last week's action, said the measures did not go nearly far enough, particularly where it related to contractors who worked with the firm.
"Sundar ignored the demand for a worker to be represented on the board and [temps, vendors and contractors (TVCs)] continue to have no adequate protections from sexual harassment, who make up over half the Google workforce and are disproportionately women and people of colour.
"TVCs didn't receive this email this morning, and have been excluded from the townhall. This deliberate sleight demonstrates the caste-like system deployed by Google, which fails to protect its workers and our colleagues."
The spokesperson added: "For a company that likes to innovate, it's striking to see such a lack of vision for treating all of their workforce with basic dignity. We take inspiration from all who work at Google to keep fighting to build worker power."
Campaigners hope the promised overhaul of how Google handles issues around sexual harassment will remove a culture of secrecy that saw one high-profile engineer leave the company with an $90m pay out, despite "credible" claims of inappropriate behaviour.
The company later said that over the past two years, 48 other employees - including 13 considered to be senior staff - had been fired over sexual harassment issues.
More widely, Google's move to end forced arbitration for sexual harassment claims may energise employees at other firms to demand the same. Uber and Microsoft had already dropped the practice....
The volume of mutual trade between Russia and China may reach $100 billion by the end of 2018 with the figure expected to double in the years ahead, according to Andrey Slepnev, Chief Executive of the Russian Export Center.
“Russia’s exports to China totaled $26 billion in the first half of the current year, marking a 43 percent growth compared to the same period a year ago,” the official said, stressing that the institution expects the figure to increase up to $54 billion at year-end.
According to Slepnev, the partners have managed to boost trade of such goods as wood, metal and chemicals. The volume of agricultural products in the mutual trade reportedly went up one-and-a-half times.
Chinese consumers are reportedly interested in purchasing Russian natural cosmetics and children’s products.
“We are currently developing a number of energy and high-technology projects. A joint enterprise on heavy helicopters is negotiated,” he said. “Cooperation in space and energy sectors is being developed.”
Earlier this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the trade turnover with the country’s Eastern neighbor may reach $100 billion. China is currently Russia’s largest trading partner, accounting for 15 percent of Russian international trade last year.
Bilateral trade between the two countries grew by 31.5 percent, reaching $87 billion in 2017. The partners are promoting settlements in ruble and yuan, bypassing the US dollar and other Western currencies amid numerous anti-Russian sanctions, as well as trade pressure placed on Beijing by Washington.
SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Mongolia aims to complete a railway from its Tavan Tolgoi coal project to the Chinese border by 2021, a Mongolian official told Reuters on Thursday.
The rail link from Tavan Tolgoi would have the capacity to deliver 30 million tonnes of coal a year to China, said Samdandovj Ashidmunkh, chief investment officer of the state firm running the project.
The link will be completed within two years of an overseas initial public offering of stock in Tavan Tolgoi scheduled for the first quarter of 2019, Ashidmunkh, of Erdenes-Tavan Tolgoi, said on the sidelines of a forum in Shanghai on China-Mongolia cooperation in mining.
Mongolia expects demand for high quality coking coal from China’s steel sector to increase, but many analysts in China believe steel production is nearing its peak and could start to fall.
Tavan Tolgoi is the world’s largest undeveloped coking coal mine with 7.4 billion tons of estimated reserves.
The project was originally set to host a thermal power plant that would supply Rio Tinto Ltd’s massive Oyu Tolgoi copper mine, which is currently being expanded.
But Mongolia’s inability to find funding has put the onus on Rio Tinto to build its own power facility.
Ashidmunkh said the government still planned to build a power plant at Tavan Tolgoi.
“It would be too much to have two power plants (in the region). Even if (Oyu Tolgoi) built its own power plant they will still need to purchase our coal,” he said.
Analysts attending the forum expressed scepticism about Mongolia’s ambitions, saying logistic costs still eroded the competitiveness of Mongolian coal and demand could soon begin to taper.
“China and Mongolia are greatly divided in the perception of coal resources at present,” said Chang Yijun, chief analyst with the consultancy Fenwei Energy.
Mongolian coal would only be competitive in southern China, where more imports were required, he said.
By David Stanway
Additional reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk and John Ruwitch; editing by Richard Pullin
Mongolia's parliament speaker Miyegombo Enkhbold has rejected a proposal of dissolution from the country's president, the press office of the legislative body said Wednesday.
In an official letter on Oct. 29, President Khaltmaa Battulga called on the parliament to dissolve itself, after reports went public that some lawmakers and their relatives have obtained loans with low interest rates from a fund aimed at helping the development of small and medium-sized enterprises.
The letter accused the parliament and the government of not fulfilling their promises to the people and violating laws and regulations by abusing their powers.
In his responding letter, Enkhbold said that there was no need to dissolve the parliament which "has been functioning normally and resolving pressing issues of the economy and society on time."
Issues surrounding the fund have become a hot topic recently with four Mongolian lawmakers allegedly lent money coming from the fund to citizens with high interest rates through their non-bank financial institutions.
A number of other high-ranking officials, including Secretary-General of the ruling Mongolian People's Party Dashzegve Amarbayasgalan and Auditor General of Mongolia Dorjsuren Khurelbaatar, allegedly obtained loans from the fund by abusing their powers.
The cryptocurrency market has just hit another new low in 2018, valuing the entire market below USD$200 billion for the first time this year. Despite the volatility, investors are still keen to pile in believing the market is bottoming.
There is no shortage of new 'ground floor' opportunities for these investors in the form of new tokens being issued via an evergrowing number of ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings). In fact, during 2018, new ICO's have raised more than USD$15 billion.
Despite the continued positive sentiment from many invetsors and the hype from ICO promoters, the actual historical performance of ICO's is disturbingly woeful.
Consulting firm EY have revisited 90 global ICOs that it first tracked a year ago — and found almost a third were now worthless — while 86 per cent were underwater on their issue prices.
Almost all the gains were made by just 10 of the ICOs — but even the successful companies were “mired in litigation or conflict over broken promises and unexpected changes in business strategy”, reported EY.
In a recent article by Australian publisher Stockhead, journalist Rachel Williamson found that of the 76 Australian ICO's only 16 are still trading and just four of these are trading above their issue price.
As EY blockchain expert Paul Brody says "It is clear that there is a significant lack of understanding around the risks and rewards of these investments”.
Regulatory action in Australia
Last month the Australian regulator, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), intervened and shut down a planned $50 million ICO from a crypto start-up called Global Tech Exchange. The company purported to have links to former Aussie cricket captain Michael Clarke.
This is not the first time ASIC have intervened; rather they have shut down another 5 ICO's since April this year and, given the EY results, this has likely saved Australian investors from losing more capital.
Around the world, regulators are looking closely at this ICO phenomenon not just from a consumer protection standpoint, but also from a range of challenging perspectives including fraud, theft, taxation, anti-money laundering, payment systems, financial services and financial stability.
We have fielded numerous enquiries from companies seeking to raise capital via ICO's and in all cases, these companies were under the misconception that ICO's are not regulated and somehow provided an easier mechanism of capital raising.
While the evidence is clear that there is a significant lack of understanding from investors around ICO's, our experience suggests there is also a lack of understanding from would-be issuers and promoters who are wanting to believe that ICO's are not regulated. This is not the case.
So what is an ICO?
ICOs are not the same as Initial Public Offerings (IPO) or crowd-sourced funding, both of which are regulated under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and offer specified investor protections. Many ICOs do not offer legal rights and protections or claims to underlying assets.
In some cases, the ICO may be subject to the Corporations Act; in others, the ICO will be subject to the general law and the Australian consumer laws regarding the offer of services or products.
This means the ICO would be subject to the prohibition against misleading or deceptive conduct, either under the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (Cth) or the Australian consumer laws. Australian law may apply even if the ICO is created and offered from overseas.
Central to the regulation of an ICO is understanding if the ICO meets the definition of "financial product" under Division 3 of the Corporations Act, where the financial product could be, for instance, a managed investment scheme, a share or a derivative.
For example, an ICO could be deemed to be a financial product, in the following circumstances:
* A managed investment scheme, where the value of the digital coins acquired is affected by the pooling of funds from contributors or they are arranged to be collectively managed.
* An offer of shares, where the rights attached to the token are similar to those attached to a share, such as ownership of the body, voting rights or rights to participate in the profit.
* An offer of a derivative, where the token is priced based on factors such as an underlying market or asset price, and price movements resulted in a payment obligation.
Each of these scenarios are explored below.
When an ICO could be a managed investment scheme
A managed investment scheme is defined within the Corporations Act. The following are basic indicators of whether an arrangement is a managed investment scheme:
- People contribute money or assets (such as digital currency) to obtain an interest in the scheme ('interests' in a scheme are generally a type of 'financial product' and are regulated by the Corporations Act)
- Any of the contributions are pooled or used in a common enterprise to produce financial benefits or interests in property, and
- The contributors do not have day-to-day control over the operation of the scheme but, at times, may have voting rights or similar rights.
An assessment of what rights are attached to the tokens issued under an ICO is the key consideration in relation to assessing the legal status of an ICO. These rights are generally described in the ICO's 'white paper', an offer document issued by the business making the offer or sale of an ICO token. What is a right should be interpreted broadly and includes rights that may arise in the future or on a contingency, and rights that are not legally enforceable. If the value of the token is related to the management of an arrangement as described above, the issuer of the ICO is likely to be offering a managed investment scheme.
In some cases, ICO issuers may frame the entitlements received by contributors as a receipt for a purchased service. However, if the value of the digital tokens acquired is affected by the pooling of funds from contributors or use of those funds under the arrangement, then the ICO is likely to fall within the requirements relating to managed investment schemes. This is often the case if what is offered through the ICO has the attributes of an investment.
When an ICO could be a share
A share is a collection of rights relating to a company. There are a range of types of shares that may be issued. Most shares issued by companies that offer shares to the public are 'ordinary shares', and carry rights regarding the ownership of the company, voting rights in the decisions of the body, some entitlement to share in future profits through dividends, and a claim on the residual assets of the company if it is wound up.
Most shares issued in Australia come with the benefit to shareholders of limited liability as well.
When an ICO is created to fund a company (or to fund an undertaking that looks like a company) then the rights attached to the tokens issued by the ICO may fall within the definition of a share.
The bundle of rights referred to above may be used by ASIC to help determine if a token is in fact a share. If the rights attached to the token (which are generally found in the ICO's 'white paper') are similar to rights commonly attached to a share – such as if there appears to be ownership of the body, voting rights in decisions of the body or some right to participate in profits of the body shown in the white paper – then it is likely that the tokens could fall within the definition of a share.
Where it appears that an issuer of an ICO is actually making an offer of a share, the issuer will need to prepare a prospectus. Such offers of shares are often described as IPOs.
By law, a prospectus must contain all information that consumers reasonably require to make an informed investment decision.
Importantly, though an ICO may look similar to an IPO, the ICO may not offer the same protections to consumers and may result in liability for the issuer and those involved in the ICO. Issuers of an ICO need to be aware that where an offer document for an ICO is, or should have been, a prospectus and that document does not contain all the information required by the Corporations Act, or includes misleading or deceptive statements, consumers may be able to withdraw their investment before the tokens are issued or pursue the issuer and those involved in the ICO for the loss.
When an ICO could be a derivative
Section 761D of the Corporations Act provides a broad definition of a derivative and is a product that derives its value from another 'thing' which is commonly referred to as the 'underlying instrument' or 'reference asset'.
The underlying instrument may be, among other things, a share, a share price index, a pair of currencies or a commodity (including a cryptocurrency).
Two examples of derivatives are options and futures. An option is a contract between two parties. The buyer has the right, but not the obligation, to buy (or sell) an asset, at a set price, on or before a specified future date, other than a right to acquire by way of issue a security of the entity, such as a share. Futures are generally contracts to buy or sell a particular asset (or cash equivalent) at some time to come. This may involve the use of intermediaries, who themselves may need to be licensed.
If an ICO produced a token that is priced based on factors such as another financial product or underlying market index or asset price moving in a certain direction before a time or event which resulted in a payment being required as part of the rights or obligations attached to the token, this may be a derivative. For example, payment arrangements associated with changes in the relevant product, index or asset could be structured as a 'smart contract' or self-executing contract represented in the token itself.
It is our view that the market for ICOs is poorly understood by both investors and issuers. Investors are under the false impression that ICO's are low risk-high return investment and issuers are under the impression that ICO's offer some form of regulatory arbitrage for capital raising. Until the ICO market develops (if ever) we will continue to sit it out and watch as the regulator intervene to save investors from themselves....
In a study entitled the “spatial and economic proximity of cigarette sales to school children in Mongolia,” researchers found that pupils who were given less than USD2 a week of pocket money were twice as likely to be cigarette users. Additionally, of those who smoke, 37.5 percent smoked single cigarettes. When vendors were found near children’s schools, that number increased to 47.5 percent.
On 25 October, 2012, the Parliament of Mongolia passed the amendments to the Law on Tobacco Control. The law also prohibits sales of cigarettes within 500 meters from schools and dormitories. It bans the sale of cigarettes to anyone under the age of 21. This amended law will be enforced starting from 1 March 2013.
In November 2019, a total of 17 Mongolian hospitals will open their doors to hundreds of local adults who will take part in the tobacco cessation program. The programme, funded by the Pfizer Foundation, will use a new medication called cytisine on 350 patients, while a control group of 350 will go through usual cessation care. The programme is free for patients and uses a medication that only costs USD20 compared to other pricier ‘quitting’ drugs that can run up to USD500.