Monday, August 25, 2014

China-Mongolia cooperation goes beyond resources exploration

BEIJING, Aug. 25 (Xinhua) -- The economic and trade cooperation between China and Mongolia has gone well beyond natural resources, and is extending to the fields of infrastructure and finance.

During Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to Mongolia on Thursday and Friday, the two countries signed a host of cooperation documents, covering mainly three fields -- mineral resources exploration, infrastructure construction and finance.

In infrastructure, China agreed to help Mongolia finance a number of projects in medical care, education, railroad and housing.

In finance, the two sides inked a memorandum of understanding on setting up an economic cooperation zone and a deal on currency swap.

China also promised to support Mongolia in the creation of a better environment for foreign investment and help it join the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation mechanism.

Those agreements came at a time when Mongolia is seeking to diversify its cooperation with other countries as its mining-driven economy is facing a slowdown.

A 2012 law aimed at restricting foreign ownership in "strategic" sectors, which was later reversed, has slowed foreign investment, which fell 70 percent in the first half of 2014.

In the first half of this year, Mongolia's economy grew 5.3 percent, compared with 11.7 percent in 2013, official data showed.

Faced with declining foreign investment and higher inflation, Mongolia is eager to change its natural resources-reliant economic mode and seek international cooperation in other fields.

Meanwhile, China, the world's second largest economy and Mongolia's biggest trading partner, could help to contribute to Mongolia's economic restructuring.

China and Mongolia have huge cooperation prospects, said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who accompanied Xi during the visit.

Wang said that Mongolia boasts natural resources while China have ample capital and advanced technology. The two neighboring countries are economically complementary, he said.

China has been Mongolia's largest trading partner and largest source of foreign investment over the past 10-plus years.

Between 1990 and 2012, about half of the 11,642 foreign enterprises registered in Mongolia were Chinese. Of the 9.83 billion dollars of foreign direct investment absorbed by Mongolia during the same period, 3.48 billion dollars came from Chinese companies.

Also, trade with China in 2013 accounted for more than half of Mongolia's total foreign trade. The two countries are hoping that bilateral trade could reach 10 billion dollars by 2020.

In its cooperation with Mongolia, China will always strive for win-win outcomes and will never attempt to seek gains for itself at the expense of the other side, Xi said in a signed article titled "Galloping Toward a Better Tomorrow for China-Mongolia Relations."

"Mutual benefit is precisely where the strength of their cooperation lies," Xi said.

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