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Mongolia eager to tap ties with SAR for growth

Staff reporter

Monday, March 04, 2013

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Mongolia will strengthen its cooperation with Hong Kong in the run-up to the listing more Mongolian firms in the SAR, consul general Yadmaa Ariunbold told Sing Tao, sister paper of The Standard, in a recent interview .

The grassy plain of the central Asian country has become popular with investors for its rich mineral resources. So far, there are more than 80 resources including coal, copper and oil that have demonstrated substantial reserves.

Economic growth in China and India in recent years has been translated into booming demand for natural resources. Mongolia recorded 17.6 percent growth in gross domestic product in 2011 from 2010 - the second fastest growth around the world after Qatar.

In 2012, Mongolia achieved 12.3 percent GDP growth amid a global economic turmoil.

Ariunbold said Mongolia hopes to attract high-quality international investors in Hong Kong.

"We also want to introduce professional management talent and technologies to Mongolia."

Five firms either from Mongolia or with assets in the country have listed their shares on the local main board. They are all associated to coal mining and related businesses.

To get closer to China and Hong Kong, Mongolia set up a council in the SAR in June, 2011. Last November, it held the first Mongolia-Hong Kong economic forum to discuss investment in the country.

"Hong Kong and Mongolia are both adjacent to the mainland China. We have abundant resources, while Hong Kong has well-founded capital market; the two places have opportunities to work together," Ariunbold said, adding that cooperation is likely to be realized in securities and trade.

China, the second largest economy in the world, is Mongolia's largest investor. More than 75 percent of its exports are currently transported to the mainland.

China and Mongolia inked a strategic partnership pact in 2011.

Last month, Wu Bangguo - chairman of Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, - went to Ulaanbaatar to discuss deeper economic and trade cooperation.

"Mongolia's economic growth is not a 100-meter dash, but a long marathon. Sustainability is our target and our government hopes to share achievements with all the citizens," said Ariunbold.

Mongolia's new government, which took office last August, is planning to launch more revolutionary policies to deal with social problems such as corruption, said the consul-general.

Yadmaa, who grew up in Mongolia but speaks fluent English, said outsiders held lots of wrong notions about his country.

"They think there are no cars, but only horses and camels on the streets," he said, looking amused. He said the local people have come to terms with the modernization of Mongol society and have been using credit cards, mobile phones and the internet for nearly twenty years now.

He added that Mongolia is open to foreign investments in many areas such as infrastructure and railway construction. Its official currency "togrog" is freely exchanged, and its tax rate is the lowest in the region.

To promote Mongolia's tourist industry and inform investors about opportunities in the country, Ariunbold said he plans to put up a magazine in Hong Kong.


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