2016 Top 10 Events in MongoliaThe Mongol Messenger
1. Mongolian People’s Party wins General Election by a landslide
The day of the General election, June 29 saw a 72.1 percent voter turnout and a landslide victory of Mongolian People’s Party (MPP).
In this election, total of 498 candidates comprising of 429 candidates of 12 parties and 3 coalitions and 69 independent candidates competed for 76 parliamentary seats. In a surprising turn, MPP won 65 seats, Democratic Party 9 seats, Mongolian People’ Revolutionary Party 1 seat and independent candidate, singer Javkhlan Samand took 1 seat.
The new ruling party elected its Chairman Enkhbold Miyegombo as Speaker of Parliament, and formed the new Cabinet with appointment of Erdenebat Jargaltulga as Mongolia’s 29th Prime Minister.
Parliamentary Election wasn’t the only election that took place on June 29; elections of Citizen’s Representative Khurals of the capital city (city council) and provinces were also held simultaneously. Moreover, on October 19, local elections to choose the members of Citizen’s Representative Khurals of Soums and Districts took place. MPP reconfirmed its success by winning majority seats in these elections.
2. Mongolia hosts the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting
The 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) was held in Ulaanbaatar on July 15-16 2016 under the theme ‘20 Years of ASEM: Partnership for the Future through Connectivity’.
Chaired by Elbegdorj Tsahia, President of Mongolia, the high level meeting was attended by 11 heads of state and 23 heads of government, and the remaining countries’ delegates were mainly Foreign Ministers with 3 special envoys. On behalf of two international organizations with ASEM membership, Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, and Le Luong Minh, Secretary General of ASEAN participated in the Summit.
While celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Asia-Europe Meetings, leaders reviewed the progress made and achievements gained since the inception of ASEM in 1996, and set the course for further enhancement and evolution of the inter-regional process in the next decade. As a result of the meeting, two main documents – Chair’s Statement and Ulaanbaatar Declaration were released on July 16. The 12th ASEM Summit will be held in Brussels, Belgium in 2018, under the chairship of European Union.
3. Mongolia acquires 100 percent ownership of Erdenet Mining Corporation
With ‘Mongolian Copper’ company purchasing 49 percent ownership of Mongolian-Russian Joint Venture Erdenet Mining Corporation (EMC) from Russian Rostech Corporation in June, the corporation came into 100 percent ownership of Mongolia.
When Mongolia transited from centrally planned economy to market economy in 1990, the EMC became 51 percent owned by Government of Mongolia and 49 percent by Government of the Russian Federation. The Mongolian-Russian Joint Venture ‘Erdenet’ ore-dressing plant was inaugurated on December 14, 1978. After being returned to Mongolian side, the issue of the 49 percent ownership didn’t go unaddressed during the 2016 Parliamentary election.
4. Mongolia-Japan trade sector advances to a new level
Mongolia-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement takes effect on June 7.
With the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) or Free Trade Agreement coming into effect, bilateral trade and investment flow and people to people communication and exchange are expected to intensify with opportunities for Mongolia to be part of regional economic integration opening. In accordance with the Agreement, a total of 5700 types of goods exported from Japan and 9300 types of good exported from Mongolia will be exempted from customs duty in four stages. Mongolian-Japanese companies have started supplying products with certificate of origin on preferential terms.
5. New VAT Law takes effect to combat shadow economy
The revised Value-added Tax Law adopted by Mongolian Parliament in July 2015 came into effect on January 1, 2016.
The Cabinet considered that implementation of the new VAT Law will result in a greater VAT-sourced revenue and tackle undeclared economy with broader citizen participation. Two main policy changes directed at increasing citizen participation were 20 percent VAT refund and introduction of VAT lottery.
In other words, citizens are applying for the 20 percent VAT refund of their total taxes on their total purchases by registering their cash receipts at ebarimt.mn website. Moreover, citizens are participating in the VAT lottery every month with their cash receipts to win Tgs 20,000, Tgs 100,000, Tgs 4 million and Tgs 20 million cash prize. Super winner of the VAT lottery receives Tgs 50 million, and in case there’s no super winner in a given month, the amount is added to the cash prize of the next month’s super winner. Since the new VAT Law came into effect, 18 lotteries have taken place with 78, 570 lucky customers winning the total cash prize of Tgs 3 billion 93 million 280 thousand.
6. Mongolia fully supplies its domestic wheat demand
On the national level, 475.8 thousand tons of crops including 460.7 thousand tons of wheat, 153.7 thousand tons of potatoes, 93.5 thousand tons of vegetables were harvested.
The above numbers indicate that Mongolia fully supplies its domestic demand of wheat and potatoes. In specific, 54 percent of domestic vegetable demand can be fulfilled this year; in previous years, some 40-50 percent of the domestic vegetable demand used to be harvested. Moreover, not only did Mongolia’s agriculture industry produce enough wheat to fulfill the domestic demand, the total harvested wheat exceeded the total annual demand by 30-40 thousand tons of wheat.
7. Mongolia bags four medals at Rio Olympics
From August 5 to 21, the 31st Summer Olympic Games were held in Brazil's capital city, Rio de Janeiro bringing joy and excitement around the globe. Mongolian Olympians grabbed 1 silver and 3 bronze medals.
Mongolia sent its biggest Olympic team yet of 43 athletes to the 2016 Rio Olympics.
On August 8, the first medal for Mongolia at the Rio Games was claimed by judoka D.Sumiya in the women’s judo -57 kg event. On the night of August 15, boxer D.Otgondalai won a bronze medal in the men’s light 60kg category. From September 7 to 18, the 15th Summer Paralympics took place. Mongolian judoka B.Uugankhuu and power lifting athlete E.Sodnompiljee grabbed bronze medals. Pursuant to a government decision, the Olympic silver medalist was presented with a reward certificate of Tgs 60 million and bronze medalists with Tgs 30 million, and their coaches a monetary reward equaling to the 50 percent of what is given to the athletes.
8. Infrastructure development – Construction of New Ulaanbaatar International Airport and Oyu Tolgoi Underground mine
In 2016, two major infrastructure development has progressed in Mongolia.
The New Ulaanbaatar International Airport is being constructed in Khushig Valley, Tuv Aimag. The Mitsubishi-Chiyoda Joint Venture of Japan has been working as the main Contractor with Samsung C&T of the Republic of Korea as the Prime Sub-contractor. The nearly complete construction progress of the airport is to wrap up on 10 January 2017.
After being suspended for about two years, the Oyu Tolgoi underground mine development restarted on May 7. The development of the Oyu Tolgoi underground mine became possible with the signing of a US$4.4 billion project financing agreement with international financial institutions and export credit agencies representing the governments of the United States, Canada and Australia, along with 15 commercial banks.
9. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama pays a religious visit
On November 18-23, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso graced Mongolian Buddhists on his 9th religious visit to Mongolia, following an invitation by D.Choijamts, Khamba Lama of Gandantegchenling Monastery.
Ts.Munkh-Orgil, Minister of Foreign Affairs clarified that the Government didn’t invite the Dalai Lama and that the visit was much requested and awaited by Mongolian Buddhists. During a press conference which wrapped up his visit to Mongolia, the Dalai Lama informed of his belief that the 10th Bogd Lama or Jebtsundamba Khutuktu had been reborn in Mongolia, and said it was too early to announce the identity of the child.
10. Order of Chinggis Khaan bestowed to famous opera singer
State Honored Artist, opera singer G.Ariunbaatar was presented with the Order of Chinggis Khaan on the Day of Mongolian Pride, thus becoming the 10th and the youngest winner of the most reputed award in Mongolia.
The Grand Prix and Gold Medal Winner of the 15th International Tschaikovsky Competition is currently employed as a soloist of the Mariinsky Theatre and the Buryat State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater in Ulan-Ude, Russia as well as of the ‘Suld’ ensemble of the Mongolian Police Academy. In 2011, he became the prize-winner at the XXIV International Glinka Vocalists’ Competition in Moscow, and also took the 'Best Baritone of the Competition' award as well as the Special Pavel Lisitsian Prize the same year. In 2014, he took first place in the III International Muslim Magomayev Vocalists’ Competition in Moscow.