Tag Archives: Economy

Bank of Korea Assisting with Modernization of Mongolia’s Foreign Exchange Policy

The Bank of Mongolia, signed a cooperation agreement on June 21, 2017 with the Bank of Korea. The agreement solidifies plans by both organizations to cooperation regarding development of a comprehensive strategy for development of the foreign exchange market in Mongolia.

The Bank of Korea has been conducting a study on Mongolia’s foreign exchange market. The results of the study are expected to have an important impact on development of foreign exchange regulations and growth of the foreign exchange market in Mongolia.

Major complaints about the current state of the foreign exchange market in Mongolia include the lack of transparency in the process and inefficient operations. The study will draw on the Bank of Korea’s past experience in managing foreign exchange issues in Korea to set out a road map for Mongolia.

The plan is expected to help stabilize the exchange rate of the Mongolian Tugrug, which will facilitate a better environment for foreign investment and domestic economic growth.

Renewable Energy Program Means New Opportunity for Mongolian Economy

According to The World Bank, a new renewable energy project is to be launched in Mongolia, utilizing over $50 million in loans and grants from international organizations. The project is a part of the World Bank’s efforts to assist Mongolia’s long term path of sustainable development.

Playing off the government of Mongolia’s plans to produce 30% of the country’s energy via renewable sources by the year 2030, the new project will focus on providing financing for renewable energy investments in Mongolia.

Mongolia is a vast, open country with abundant solar energy and wind energy potential, waiting to be taken advantage of. One key aspect of the program is the construction of the first large scale solar power plant in Mongolia, designed to supply electricity throughout Mongolia’s western regions.

Another important aspect of the program will be the revamping and renewal of Mongolia’s electricity distribution grid, which currently operates inefficiently resulting gin losses of up to 25% of energy transferred on the network.

Sustainable development and efficient electricity distribution are key to promoting long term economic growth in Mongolia. The new funding will go toward providing new opportunities for businesses and families in Ulaanbaatar, as well as throughout the rural areas of Mongolia. The project will also provide funded needed to attract foreign companies with renewable energy technologies to Mongolia.

Trading Bitcoin (and other Crypto-Currencies) in Mongolia

Following our recent post on foreign exchange trading in Mongolia, we had several inquiries regarding trade of crypto-currencies, such as Bitcoin. While there are no specific regulations in Mongolia addressing use or trade of crypto-currency, both Foreign Exchange and electronic payment and remittance services are allowed under the current regulatory framework, with only a permit required.

A Bitcoin trading (or mining) operation can be established in Mongolia relatively easily. One will only need to establish a Mongolian corporation. Then application must be made to the Financial Regulatory Commission of Mongolia for the appropriate permit.

MONSTAT Improves Mongolia’s Data and Statistics Capability

After the financial crisis in 2008 and a series of harsh winters, Mongolia took a few years to recover. As part of the recovery, the government set out a wide reaching development strategy, and setting 6 development goals. The government quickly realized that implementation of its strategy would relied heavily on up to date data and statistics. It recognized that Mongolia needed to improve and modernize its internal statistic generation and analytical capabilities in order to effectively implement its new strategic development plan. Mongolia’s old state statistics system was oriented to service the old state lead planned economy from years past. It required a major reorientation to address the needs of the emerging market economy.

The government of Mongolia approached the World Bank for assistance in implementing a new statistics system under a reorganized National Statistical Office (NSO). The World Bank worked with the government to develop the Strengthening of the National Statistics System of Mongolia (MONSTAT) project, designed to generate and distribute, meaningful, accurate and current statistics data, to promote evidence based law making in support of the government’s strategic development agenda.

The first step was to improve institutional, regulatory and policy framework for statistics collection, as well as to put in place higher standards for statistics collection and recording. Personnel knowledge and skill also required improvement, particularly as to survey techniques and data collection methodology. New technology was acquired and implemented to bring operations into the information age. The project introduced data management and quality standards of the EU.

As a result of the efforts of MONSTAT, use reliability and user satisfaction regarding statistics generated by NSO has increased. NSO has explored and implemented new ways to make statistics information available to the public and to researchers. NSO has implemented systems to improve inter-agency cooperation in data-collection and sharing.

The MONSTAT project and the improvements to the NSO are positive examples of Mongolia’s continuing development. The project has provided valuable information to a rage of government agencies, NGOs, and international organizations, working collectively to make lives better for Mongolians and to build a positive environment for foreign investment. With these improvements to the NSO, foreign investors are better able to develop business plans which rely on internal Mongolian statistics.

Mongolia and Vietnam Promote Trade in Goat Meat

Vice President of Vietnam, Mrs. Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh, visited Mongolia for an official visit from May 07 -10. While in Mongolia, she participated in the Mongolian Vietnamese business forum in Ulaanbaatar on May 09. Mrs. Dang Thị Ngọc Thinh gave a presentation at the opening ceremony of the business forum discussing trade, investment and economic cooperation between Mongolia and Vietnam.

Vietnam’s trade volume with Mongolia is estimated at USD 59 million in 2016 alone. The trade includes over USD 40 million in race, sugar, canned foods and telecommunications equipment imported to Mongolia. Mongolia and Vietnam seek to increase cooperation and trade in natural resources and agricultural goods, which Mongolia is well placed to export to Vietnam.

Three main issues were touched on during the official talks between Vietnam’s Vice President and the Prime Minister of Mongolia. These included promotion of defense ties and cooperation between law enforcement agencies.

Also discussed was increased export of Mongolian meat products to Vietnam, particularly goat meat. Mongolia is scheduled to export 20 tons of goat meat to Vietnam this year, and trade is expected to grow significantly.

The agreement on export of goat meat highlights one of Mongolia’s current strengths in agricultural production of meat and dairy. The sector is ripe for foreign investment, including funding, technologies and techniques.

Mongolian Free Trade Zones

In 2016, matters related to Free Trade Zones (FTZ) came under the power of the Deputy Minister. There are three FTZ in Mongolia: Zamiin-Uud, Altanbulag and Tsagaannuur. The Law on FTZ was revised in 2015 to enabled and promoted the cooperation between private entities and public authorities in developing FTZs.

Altanbulag Free Zone in Selenge province covers 500 hectares of land. Since the establishment of Mongolian FTZs, MNT 35 billion has been allocated by State Budget and 77 per cent of the budget was invested to the infrastructures of Altanbulag Free Zone. At the moment only Altanbulag has drawn investment from private entities, which totals MNT 6.2 billion.

Zamiin-Uud Free Zone in Dornogobi province covers 900 hectares of land. In 2010, Development of Zamiin Uud infrastructure project started with soft loan of the Government of China which totals USD 58.8 million. The project performance is 95 per cent. As of this day, 23.6 hectares of land are in possession of 13 private entities for the purposes of trade, service, hotel, manufacture, storage, logistics and gas station.

Tsagaannuur Free Zone in Bayan-Ulgii province covers 708.4 hectares. 115 hectares are in possession of 5 private entities.

The Deputy Minister Khurelsukh Ukhnaa has stated that the Free zones are in need of accelerated foreign and domestic investment and noted that the Parliament and the Government should start establishing joint FTZ areas with bordering countries. Deputy Minister Office and Ministry of Foreign Relations are working on research and assessment and negotiating with Chinese authorities about a potential new joint FTZ.

Mongolia Tax on Gasoline and Diesel Fuel

We continue to introduce various Mongolian taxes to be aware of. The Law on Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Tax was adopted on June 2, 1995, yet only came into force on  June 6, 1995.

According to this law, the tax is levied on all types of gasoline and diesel fuel whether produced within the territory of Mongolia, or imported into Mongolia. This tax is levied on every ton of fuel calculated as follows.

Gasoline up to 90 octane will be taxed at 20,350 MNT per ton, while gasoline with octane over 90 will be taxed at 25,700 per ton. Diesel fuel will be taxed at a substantially lower rate of 2,140 MNT per ton. This suggests the government recognizes the importance of diesel fuel in economic activities such as logistics and transportation of goods.

This tax is different and in addition to the tax levied on petroleum and diesel fuel in accordance with Law on Excise Tax. The purpose of the Excise Tax is to limit harm to the society or reduce the worst effect of the products as like as international standards. The excise tax on petroleum and diesel fuel is expected to be increased on July 1, 2017 and October 1, 2017 respectively.The tax on gasoline and diesel fuel produced on the territory of Mongolia is levied by the National tax offices and the tax on imported gasoline and diesel fuel is levied by the Customs offices in accordance with the amounts above.

Several changes to Mongolian taxes have been ratified recently by the Mongolian Parliament as a means to raise additional revenue in hopes of improving the state budget. The new implemented tax on gasoline and diesel fuel is primarily intended to raise revenue.

Introduction to the Mongolian Excise Tax

The Excise Tax Law was adopted by the Mongolia Parliament on June 29, 2006 and became effective from January 1, 2007. The law has been amended several times and has been the subject of a Supreme Court interpretation in 2007.

The law’s purpose is to establish parameters with respect to imposing excise tax on goods, whether imported or locally manufactured, as well as on special purpose apparatuses and equipment utilized for individuals and legal entities engaged in the paid quiz or gambling games.

According to the law, following goods shall be subject to excise tax:

  • all kinds of alcoholic drinks;
  • all kinds of tobacco;
  • gasoline and diesel fuels;
  • passenger vehicles.

The excise tax is also imposed on activities of individuals and legal entities engaged in paid quiz or gambling games and on equipment used for such games, such as gaming tables or electronic wheels, automatic games, cashier devices or devices which calculate and display gaming results or keeps track of bids. The excise tax to be imposed on goods, other than spirits distilled in Mongolia, are due before 25th of each month, in advance.

Excise taxpayers are the individuals and legal entities which import and sell the goods as described above, and those which engage in activities of paid quizzes or gambling games. In the event goods subject to the excise taxes are donated or transferred to another party free of charge, as well as when used internally by an individuals and or legal entity, an excise tax shall be imposed.

An excise tax equal to MNT 36,250,000 (approximately US$ 14,800) per month, is imposed on the activities of individuals and legal entities which operate paid quizzes or gambling games via cyber, internet or mobile networks.

The some goods are exempted from excise tax under the law, such as goods produced within the territory of Mongolia solely for export; Mongolian traditional home-made liquor distilled from milk for household use; snuff tobacco; legally obtained and imported duty free alcohol and tobacco; dual-fuel cars; cars running on liquefied gas; and electric cars.

The recent amendments to the state budget include provisions to increase excise taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel. The excise tax on passenger cars will be increased based on the vehicle’s engine capacity. The excise tax on alcohol, excise tax on cigarettes, and customs tax on cigarettes will also increase. If the amendment is approved by the Parliament, these proposed excise tax increases to take effect on April 1, 2017.

Mongolian Government Introduces Positive Amendments to 2017 Budget

Mongolia Minister of Finance B. Choijilsuren presented to the Speaker of Parliament M. Enkhbold a set of planned amendments to the 2017 state budget. These amendments have been designed to better ensure the government’s ability to meet its obligations under the International Monetary Fund’s extended fund facility program from which the government will receive substantial loans.

The amendments are intended to stabilize the national budget and the fiscal outlook financial environment, by reductions in budget deficits, and imposing discipline.

The primary changes in the new budget include:

  1. Increasing taxes on alcoholic beverages and imposing tariffs on imported cigarettes;
  2. Increasing taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel;
  3. Increasing taxes on imported vehicles, in accordance with engine capacity;
  4. Dividing personal income taxes into three brackets and increasing personal income tax for people with higher incomes;
  5. Charging a ten percent tax on interest earned from savings accounts;
  6. Raising social insurance fees;

Of these, the biggest and the one that caught the attention of our China lawyers is the changes proposed for the personal income tax. The exact income levels which will be cut off points between the three tax tiers is not yet known, however it is likely that many expatriate employees in Mongolia may be affected by higher taxes on their income.

In addition to the above, the amended budget will impose several new measures intended to reduce the government’s overall operational sending levels and bring expenditures in line with government revenues.

  1. Increase the efficiency of tenders being carried out in the medical sector;
  2. Raise the retirement age every two years;
  3. Promote the Meat and Milk Campaign to develop Mongolian meat and dairy industry;
  4. Provide the state’s monthly welfare allowance of 20,000 MNT for children and other state assistance only to targeted groups;
  5. Repeal existing laws that put pressure on the state budget.

The government will aim to limit deficit spending to 10.6% of overall GDP, with revenue expected to be 23.1 percent of GDP, and overall spending to be 33.7% of GDP.

Of the above measures, LehmanLaw Mongolia is pleased to see efforts to promote the Mongolia meat and dairy industry included. Mongolia’s large expanse of green pasture land, clean water and fresh air should provide excellent opportunities for entrepreneurs and foreign investors seeking to establish meat and dairy production operations in the country. Exports of such products to China should find a willing market, as Chinese meat and dairy consumption is expected to continue rising trends.

The other good news is the general commitment to eliminate old laws that cause unnecessary financial strain on the government. This review process is necessary and is expected to help the government identify new areas where spending can be reduced by smart changes to the law. This is the kind of reform needed to stabilize the Mongolian economy and prepare for long term growth.

United Nations Development Program in Mongolia

Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and Pacific at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Haoliang Xu, is meeting with Mongolian officials to review and discuss the United Nations Development Assistance Framework, a plan for the continued development of Mongolia in years 2017 through 2021.

Mongolia’s cooperation with the UN Agency is intended to assist in the development of new renewalble energy sources in Mongolia and improving Mongolia’s capacity to implement legal and regulatory reform in areas important to preventing and responding to environmental risks. Also priorities are general economic development, and implementation of international principles of rule of law.

The UN Agency is also expected to work with Mongolia in cultivating new ideas and programs for the reduction of air pollution in Ulaabaatar, which has become a problem in recent years, particularly winter. Initiatives to promote the private sector in Mongolia will also be discussed.

Continued cooperation between Mongolia and international organizations such as Mongolia are expected to bring long term benefits as Mongolia navigates trends of increasing urbanization and seeks modernization and development in both its economy and its legal system. Continued cooperation with UN agencies helps to promote stability and prosperity in the country.