August 24th, 2012 | China Daily China to help Mongolia develop mineral industry
China will support Mongolia in upgrading its massive mineral industry, State Councilor Dai Bingguo said on Thursday. He was preparing to make an official visit to the neighboring country, three days after Ulan Bator finished setting up a new government advocating a friendlier investment environment.
Dai made the remarks in a written interview with Mongolian media on the eve of his three-day visit to Mongolia.
Mongolia finished establishing a new government led by Prime Minister Norov Altanhuyag from the Democratic Party on Monday.
The transfer of power raised hopes of a friendlier investment climate, after former Mongolian president Nambar Enkhbayar, from the Mongolia People’s Revolutionary Party, called for some major mining contracts to be reviewed to limit foreign ownership.
Enkhbayar was sentenced to four years in prison for corruption earlier this month.
“We will actively support and take part in Mongolia’s strategy to rejuvenate the nation by developing the mineral industry. We support Mongolia to develop further processing of mineral products and extend the industry chain. We would like to deepen cooperation with Mongolia in that regard to help Mongolia accelerate its industry upgrading,” said Dai, the state councilor in charge of foreign policies.
Mongolia is gripped by a mining boom that is set to transform its economy, but political uncertainties have shadowed efforts to attract foreign investment needed to develop mines and build essential infrastructure.
The new government has vowed to boost the country’s economy, setting the goal of achieving annual economic growth of 14 to 15 percent over the next eight years.
Dai said China is interested in cooperating with Mongolia on processing mineral and energy products, infrastructure construction, clean energy and efforts against desertification.
China’s Economic Observer newspaper earlier this month quoted a deputy minister of Mongolia’s Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy as saying that 60 percent of investment on Mongolia’s mineral resources came from China.
Today, a significant amount of Mongolia’s mineral products are sold through China, he said, adding that the trend will continue for a long time.
Ulan Bator is in strong need of Chinese investment for further processing of its mineral and energy resources, he said.
“We still hope more Chinese companies come, not only to draw away the coal but to build more factories.”
Dai said he also hopes to establish contacts with the new Mongolian government and discuss key international and regional issues.
Chinese Ambassador to Mongolia Wang Xiaolong said on the eve of Dai’s visit that this year is a “special and important” one for China and Mongolia, as both are set to see a new leadership.
At such a critical moment, the two neighbors “need to beef up high-level communication”, “properly handle problems in bilateral ties” and make plans to ensure stable growth of their ties, Wang said.
By Li Xiaokun