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8 Reasons Why Mongolia's Capital Ulaanbaatar Might Be The Place for a Trump-Kim Summit www.thediplomat.com
In his recent article “8 Questions the Trump Administration Must Answer Before the Summit With Kim Jong-un,” The Diplomat’s Ankit Panda included the location of the meeting. “Trump should not be willing to sweeten the already-sweet concession of a summit by traveling to North Korean soil to see Kim Jong-un.” The most likely solution to that challenge is Panmunjom, as Panda notes, but should the Trump administration look elsewhere, Mongolia’s capital of Ulaanbaatar emerges as the obvious choice for a meeting location.
In his book “Art of the Deal” Donald Trump included a focus on “Enhance your Location” as one of the 11 pathways to successful negotiations. As it now is emerging that a Trump-Kim meeting may still be tied to conditions, it is not unlikely that the location for the meeting is among those conditions.
Less than twelve hours after news about a Trump-Kim meeting before May emerged the former president of Mongolia, Ts Elbegdorj tweeted, “Here is an offer: U.S. President Trump and NK leader Kim meet in UB. Mongolia is the most suitable, neutral territory. We facilitated important meetings, including between Japan and NK. Mongolia’s continuing legacy – UB dialogue on NEA.”
Here are eight reasons why Ulaanbaatar would be the right location:
Neutrality. Mongolia has pursued a position of political neutrality or of friendly relations with all its regional neighbors since its democratic revolution in 1990. In 2015, there were even discussions about pursuing a formally neutral status for the country.
Friendly relations with the United States. From 1990 on, Mongolia has built friendly relations with the U.S. that have seen many high-level exchanges of official visits, U.S. aid investments, building on the U.S. perception of Mongolia as a scrappy democracy in a tough neighborhood.
Friendly relations with the DPRK. Mongolia’s foreign minister D Tsogtbaatar was just in Pyongyang in early February, and North Korea has contracted thousands of workers out to labor in Mongolia over many years. Perhaps most significantly from the DPRK’s perspective, hundreds of children were evacuated to Mongolia during the Korean War and that emotional connection continues.
The meeting will take place in Asia. Ulaanbaatar is easily reached by a North Korean delegation, requiring only a flight over Chinese territory or railroad travel via China or Russia. For a U.S. delegation, Ulaanbaatar is almost as equally easily reached from Japan or South Korea, requiring, again, only a flight over Chinese territory.
Past interactions. DPRK officials have interacted with third-party governments in the recent past and Mongolia has frequently included North Korea in events that its government has hosted. There have thus been meetings between the Japanese and DPRK governments in Ulaanbaatar in 2007 and 2012. In 2017, the Mongolian government hosted the Ulaanbaatar Dialogue on Northeast Asia. North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Ri Yong-Ho participated in the meeting and in several quiet bilateral meetings with officials from participating countries. These meetings have been successful because of the level of comfort with Mongolian hosts that DPRK officials have felt.
Substantive credibility. Nuclear non-proliferation is among the main issues surrounding a Trump-Kim meeting. Mongolia’s status as a nuclear-free zone was formally recognized in 2012.
Ulaanbaatar would be acceptable to U.S. and DPRK allies. Surely, the South Korean government prefers a location that would see them involved more directly, but Mongolia is likely an acceptable compromise. Japan has appreciated Mongolia’s offers to act as a go-between in the past and a relocation of the meeting away from the Korean peninsula may offer more opportunities for the abductee issue to remain on the agenda. It seems unclear whether Presidents Xi or Putin would have a preference for any particular location, but Ulaanbaatar is likely acceptable to both.
Capacity. While Ulaanbaatar would be challenged by the hundreds of officials that would be required for the of a meeting, similar meetings have been held there in the past, most recently the Asia Europe Meeting in summer 2016. Note that tourism flows to Ulaanbaatar at the end of an extremely cold winter there in May are limited, so hotels and airplanes would likely be able to accommodate the visiting press corps as well.
Barring any intervention from Dennis Rodman, it would seem that any search for a meeting location beyond Panmunjom points to Ulaanbaatar.
Dr. Julian Dierkes is an associate professor at the Institute of Asian Research of the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada where he teaches in the Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs. He and Mendee blog at http://blogs.ubc.ca.mongolia. Follow him on Twitter @jdierkes. Mendee Jargalsaikhan is a PhD candidate in Political Science at the University of British Columbia. His dissertation examines the development of Mongolia’s democracy. Follow him @MendeeJ....
At the PDAC International Convention being held in Toronto, Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi (ETT) reported that as of March 2017, ETT's coal export made up 14 percent of China's total coal imports.
After exporting 8.5 tons of coal in 2017, ETT says it plans to export 10 tons in 2018, and has already exported two tons of coking coal as of February 2018. ETT is working to issue an IPO this year, and to carry out technical upgrades at Baganuur JSC in order to double the Baganuur mine's yield by 2020.
Baganuur supplies 50 percent of domestically consumed coal and 60 percent of the central region's demand. In 2017, Baganuur extracted over four million tons of coal and earned 126.6 billion MNT, and plans to extract 4.1 tons of coal in 2018.
ETT reported that Erdenes Mongol LLC plans to export energy as part of its Shivee Energy Complex project. ETT representatives at PDAC also spoke about the possibility of establishing a wealth fund, which would protect the company from economic and market fluctuations and contribute to economic stabilization Since 2010, the Government of Mongolia has been building the basis for strengthening a green economy, and according to state, private, and international stakeholders, the government has been actively engaged in supporting green development.
Currently, the Government of Mongolia is working on integrating green development concepts into legislation and regulations. State procurement is now focused on green development and amendments to the Law on Procurement are being developed. In addition, the government hopes to set green development criteria for the development and implementation of bigger state-funded projects. The green development initiatives and efforts of Mongolia's commercial banks are well acknowledged internationally, and several days ago an international sustainable funding association rated Mongolia and its commercial banks as progressive. The Green Climate Fund has confirmed that it will be allocating 145 million USD in financing to Mongolia's green development projects.
Representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have arrived in Mongolia to assess opportunities to implement the Food For Progress Program in Mongolia. Thomas M. Szymanski from the USDA stated that countries that are eligible for the Food for Progress Program are given access to modern resources to improve their agricultural production, increase trade in agricultural products, and receive financing of 15 to 20 million USD over a five-year period for agriculture projects.
During the visit, the USDA representatives will meet with officials from the private sector as well as governmental and non-governmental organizations to learn about the current conditions and trends in Mongolia's agriculture sector, and to look for opportunities for cooperation and potential investment.
D. Tsolmon, Director of the Livestock Genetic Resource Center, introduced the U.S. visitors to the activities of the center and spelled out three concrete proposals for providing support: assistance in purchasing genetic material for breeding high production livestock, as well as donor animals; equipping the center's molecular and genetics research laboratory with critical equipment; and involving Mongolian researchers in specialized training.
Kh.Battulga, President of Mongolia has sent an official letter to US President Donald Trump asking support in two things.
Exempting Mongolian sewn and knitted products from taxes and quotas.
To cooperate returning offshore money to Mongolia
Furthermore, Z.Enkhbold, Chief of Staff of Mongolian President has held a meeting with some Congressmen and has discussed exempting Mongolian products from taxes and quotas.
Eleven Asia-Pacific countries have just signed the trade pact formerly known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Although the US pulled out last year, the deal was salvaged by the remaining members, who signed it at a ceremony in the Chilean city of Santiago.
Chilean foreign minister Heraldo Munoz said the agreement was a strong signal "against protectionist pressures, in favour of a world open to trade".
The deal covers a market of nearly 500 million people, despite the US pullout.
In the absence of the US, it has been renamed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
Extraneous adjectives aside, its supporters say it's hugely significant, and could be a model for future trade deals.
What does it do?
Its main purpose is to slash trade tariffs between member countries.
But it also seeks to reduce so-called non-tariff measures, which create obstacles to trade through regulations.
There are chapters which aim to harmonise these regulations, or at least make them transparent and fair.
There are also commitments to enforce minimum labour and environmental standards.
It also includes a controversial Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism, which allows companies to sue governments when they believe a change in law has affected their profits.
Who's in it?
In alphabetical order: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
The US is conspicuously absent.
President Donald Trump fulfilled an election promise by pulling out in January last year, labelling the deal a disaster for American workers.
In short, the biggest winners are expected to be in Asia, while the wealthier countries, on balance, are not expected to receive as much of a boost.
The Peterson Institute for International Economics says Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Vietnam will each receive a bump of more than 2% to their economy by 2030.
New Zealand, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Chile and Australia will all grow by an additional 1% or less.
The same study says the US could be a big loser, foregoing a boost to its Gross Domestic Product of 0.5% (worth $131bn).
What's more, it could lose an additional $2bn because firms in member countries have an incentive to trade with each other instead of with American companies.
Donald Trump isn't the only one who has failed to be convinced of its value, though.
Unions (particularly in wealthier member countries such as Australia and Canada) say the deal could be a job killer or push down wages.
Some economists have also suggested that free trade agreements are rigged by special interests, which makes their economic value far more dubious.
Is there any point without the US?
Yes, but there's no question the deal is diminished without the involvement of the world's largest economy.
The remaining nations' economies account for more than 13% of the global economy - a total of $10 trillion dollars.
Australia's Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, says the deal has been set up to allow it to admit new members, possibly including the US.
However, the revised agreement dropped about 20 of the original provisions (mostly those insisted on by the US), suggesting a US re-entry would require some intense negotiation.
And although Donald Trump is on record saying he'd be open to a substantially better deal, his broader hostility toward trade pacts would suggest it's a remote possibility.
Could the UK join?
Sure, why not? There's nothing banning it, even if most of the members are on the other side of the world.
Australia, at least, has indicated that it's open to the idea, and the UK's International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, has signalled some interest in joining after the UK completes its departure from the EU.
But it's unlikely that membership would provide an immediate replacement for its EU trading partners after Brexit.
That's because the region isn't a major destination for UK exports.
TPP: Could UK really join Pacific trade group?
Brexit: UK could join Pacific free trade zone, says Liam Fox
And while growing new markets would arguably be the whole point, it's unlikely to happen overnight.
The signatories accounted for less than 8% of UK exports last year, according to research by the Observatory of Economic Complexity at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology....
ULAN BATOR, March 8 (Xinhua) -- The citizens of the capital of Mongolia are allowed to own land in rural areas for free, the Department of Land Privatization Management of the Ulaanbaatar Property Relations Agency said in a statement on Thursday.
The citizens of Ulan Bator will be able to privatize up to 5,000-square meter land in rural areas free of charge.
Since 2013, a total of 191,276 residents of the Mongolian capital privatized 100.872 square km of land for family needs. Therefore, it is now impossible to privatize land in Ulan Bator.
The total land area of Mongolia is 1,564,116 square km. But more than half of its three million population live in the capital.
According to law on land allocation, the size of land parcels allocated for ownership for family needs vary depending on location.
In Ulan Bator and along the national level main roads connecting provinces with Ulan Bator, individuals are entitled to up to 0.07 hectares or 700 square meters, while in the province centers up to 0.35 hectares or 3500 square meters, and in administrative subdivisions centers and villages up to 0.5 hectares or 5,000 square meters, respectively.
Foreign citizens and companies can only use land under definite conditions and terms. They are not permitted to own land.
Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a statement, appreciating the high-level dialogue between the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
“Mongolia appreciates the agreement to hold a high-level meeting between the ROK and the DPRK, reached during a meeting between Kim Jong-un, Chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea and the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK and members of the ROK delegation including a special envoy of President Moon Jae-in on March 5. Mongolia is confident that the high-level meeting will give stimulus to the strengthening of trust in the Korean Peninsula, and furthermore ensuring peace and security in the Northeast Asian region,” the statement says.
Several potential IPOs were disclosed during the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) 2018 convention. Mongolian Metals Corporation and Steppe Gold have expressed their interests in launching IPOs at the mining-focused Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX). Steppe Gold has started a talk for an IPO in the early 2017. The company intensified its exploration projects in Mongolia last year. For instance, they purchased gold exploration permit in Altan Tsagaan Ovoo with USD 9.8 million from Centerra Gold and conducted 4 thousand meter drilling in the area, as well as purchasing Uudam Khundii exploration project in Bayankhongor aimag.
The company announced that it finished the first stage exploration and discovered four new gold occurrences in Bayankhongor. Simultaneously with these projects, the company attracted CAD 45 million (USD 35 million) and commenced the IPO issuance at TSX.
As for Mongolian Metals Corporation, the company purchased a total of 13 exploration licenses in the last 12 years, of which two licenses remaining in effect. It has been actively exploring a 75 thousand hectare in Bayankhongor aimag for the last 8-9 years. Last year, the company announced that it discovered large gold, copper and silver deposit. Presently, the company is raising USD 1 million for its preparation works and exploration projects, and expects to raise USD 3-5 million from the IPO at TSX.
In addition, Xanadu Mines is seeking a dual-listing at TSX. The main deposit of Xanadu is the Kharmagtai project in Umnugobi aimag, which was launched in 2015. Xanadu have cash reserves of AUD 9.1 million (USD 7 million) necessary for the continuation of this project, of which AUD 3.4 million (USD 2.6 million) is allocated for the first quarter of this year.
Mongolian Stock Exchange (MSE) has recently finalized the regulation for dual-listing. In relations to the decision, some sources reported that TSX-listed Erdene Resource Development (ERD) may be seeking an IPO at MSE; however, no official announcement has been made yet.
ERD is actively conducting exploration in Bayan Khunduu, Altan Arrow and Altan Nar deposits and announced that the exploration had high results.
“We will put an end to the scenario where entities' bank accounts close due to unpaid taxes, which puts their businesses to a standstill and force them to go bankrupt, further increasing unemployment,” resolutely noted Khurelsukh Ukhnaa, Prime Minister of Mongolia, in a discussion on the tax revision held at Mongolian Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Monday, March 5.
For 30 days starting from February 23, Ministry of Finance is conducting a public discussion on revising 24 tax-related laws, including General Taxation Law of Mongolia, Laws on Corporate Tax, Personal Income Tax and Value Added Tax, in order to hear voices of taxpayers and collect best proposals from the relevant parties. No fundamental changes and revisions were made to tax laws in the last decade.
“Due to economic difficulties and unfavourable business environment in recent years, thousands of companies have closed their businesses. As of third quarter of 2017, about 50 percent of entities had inactive operations, while 20 percent of them reported a loss. This shows that our entrepreneurs and taxpayers are still facing financial difficulties.
Since 2006, Mongolia’s economy grew six-fold. In last December, Mongolia was included on the first ever tax haven blacklist of European Union and immediately got delisted after giving promises to enable its tax environment to meet the EU standards.
In addition, 57.5 percent of all companies that took part in Mongolian Business Environment Survey evaluated the tax environment as “unfavourable” and 28 percent of the surveyors answered that the tax pressure reduction and clear tax policies are the foremost priority.
The draft revision is also simplifying the submission of financial statements of private entities. For instance, entities with less than MNT 50 million annual sales income will be required to submit only annual financial reports, and pay one percent of total revenue to tax, reducing frequency of financial report submission by four times and cutting tax 10 times.
In addition, entities with over MNT 3 billion revenue shall quarterly submit financial statements a year and entities with up to MNT 3 billion income shall submit halfyear reports.
The current Law on Corporate Tax requires all entities to prepare quarterly statements regardless of its scale, deduct 10 percent tax from their sales, and entities with over MNT 2.5 billion revenue to pay 25 percent tax. Furthermore, the draft revisions also dictate to cut 20 percent dividend distribution tax of foreign investors to 5 percent.
According to the information given by Khurelbaatar Chimed, Minister of Finance, no-risk bearing companies will not be a subject to financial inspections. Risk assessment will be done based on financial statements of companies and the inspection will be conducted afterwards. As he highlighted, another major change proposed by the laws is the protection of taxpayers’ interest. “If a taxpayer suffers as a result of errors made by a tax inspector, the inspector will be responsible for his action by not serving for 10 years in the public service,” noted Mr Khurelbaatar.
The Ministry of Finance considers that the revisions to tax laws will bring more favourable and healthy tax environment in the country.
In the beginning of this year, the International Monetary Fund’s staff team worked together for two weeks on formulating the draft of the Revision to the General Taxation Law. The Ministry of Finance believes that the bills will be presented to the Parliament by April and take effect starting from January 2019.