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Major Mongolia deals poised to be signed

Updated: 2014-08-16 08:12
By Qiu Bo in Ulaanbaatar (China Daily)

Agreements on ports and energy to be reached during visit by Xi

China and Mongolia are expected to sign deals covering energy, infrastructure and port use during President Xi Jinping's visit to the neighboring state, according to Mongolian officials.

A deal allowing Mongolia to use several Chinese ports for imports and exports will be rolled out during the visit on August 21 and 22, said Tsagaan Puntsag, chief of staff at the Office of the President of Mongolia.

"The Mongolian government will launch in-depth discussions with the Chinese visitors on accessing four harbors in east China, one of which - Tianjin - has been confirmed," he said.

The agreement is expected to allow Mongolia to trade with other nations using Chinese ports, without the appointment of a Chinese transit trading agency.

Mongolia has for some time been allowed to use Tianjin's port to trade goods with other countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The Mongolian government has set up an office in Tianjin and sent officials to the city.

Some Mongolian companies have been authorized to use land in Tianjin to run their businesses, said Khaliunbat Myagmarjav, executive director of the Silk Road Foundation, a Mongolian civil economic organization."We think Dalian is another port that will probably become open to Mongolia," he said.

Gan-Ochir Zunduisuren, managing director of a large private investment firm in Mongolia, said, "Mongolian businessmen agree that transportation hurdles have been the biggest problem (to trading overseas)."

Rail links are another problem, he said, adding, "I believe we urgently need to narrow our railway gauge to get in line with that in China."

A week ago, an anonymous source close to the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that China has worked on coordinating departments to discuss this issue. The ministry is awaiting a response from Mongolia.

Landlocked Mongolia relies heavily on China and Russia for access to ports.

Luo Renjian, a researcher at the Institute of Transportation Research under the National Development and Reform Commission, said Mongolia has realized that better rail connections and enhanced port services could have meaningful economic and political implications for its economic growth.

"This strategy also meets China's demand for further trade development with Mongolia," Luo said.

Zhong Nan in Beijing contributed to this story.


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