Monday, July 28, 2014

Mongolia included in Canada’s Countries of Focus

On July 24, Minister of Economic Development N.Batbayar received Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs
John Baird, who is visiting Mongolia at the invitation of Mongolian Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Bold.

The first topic discussed in the meeting was about how Mongolia has been added to the list of countries selected for official development assistance from the Government of Canada. Every five years, the Canadian government selects 20 to 25 developing countries for the list of Development Countries of Focus, in order to provide international development assistance. One week ago, the Canadian government officially announced the 25 countries chosen for assistance and cooperation and Mongolia was chosen for the first time.

Every year, the Canadian government dedicates most of its international development assistance to the countries included in the list. Around 80 percent of Canada’s total available funds for international assistance, namely 5.2 billion USD, was given to 20 countries designated in Canada’s 2009 list. The 25 countries for this list are expected to receive around 90 percent of the total available international assistance over the next five years.

Asian countries included in the 2014 list of Development Countries of Focus:

1. Afghanistan
2. Bangladesh
3. Indonesia
4. Mongolia
5. Burma
6. Philippines
7. Vietnam

The most pressing topic of discussion with Minister Baird was related to mutually beneficial economic cooperation. Minister N.Batbayar listed the similarities that Mongolia and Canada share, including climate and soil structure, as well as the fact that both countries have vast lands with a sparse population. He said that these traits are the biggest incentives for working together for mutual economic benefit. The Mongolian side expressed that the best export that Mongolia can supply to Canada is household heating material made from Mongolian wool. In response, Baird noted that this proposal should be put into effect, and added that it’s also possible to trade cashmere products.

As for Mongolia, the technology of highways being constructed with funds from the Chinggis Bond has been approved to be carried out according to Canadian standards. The Minister of Economic Development reported that buildings using Canada’s housing frame technology are popular in Mongolia and proposed working together on building an apartment district using the technology. Furthermore, he expressed his desire to cooperate on localizing Canadian technology in ger district engineering infrastructure, underground facility development, roads, and construction standards. Baird was satisfied with the proposals and agreed that the respective ministries of both countries, the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its Ministry of Trade and Development, as well as the Mongolian Ministry of Economic Development, should begin cooperation to put the discussed ideas into action soon.

According to data from October 2013, a total of 136 companies with specialized or joint venture capital from Canada have been operational since 1990, and have made direct investments worth 3.53 percent of Mongolia’s total received investment, equivalent to over 498 million USD. Canada ranks sixth in foreign countries making investments in Mongolia. Specifically, 89.15 percent of Canada’s investments went to geology, mineral exploration and the mining sector; 1.76 percent to banking and financing; and 8.2 percent to trade and catering.

According to financial data from 2013, Mongolia exported products worth 135.5 million USD to Canada, and imported Canadian cars, equipment, and parts valued at 80.3 million USD.

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