Thursday, January 22, 2015

US stands back as Mongolia falters

The United States’ muted profile in mineral-rich, landlocked Mongolia receded even more in 2014. Indeed, the US has largely stood by while Mongolia has deliberately integrated its faltering economy closer with its two neighbors, China and Russia.

Last year, top-level Mongolian officials met with Chinese President Xi Jinping (August 20–21) as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin (September 3) in Ulaanbaatar. Moreover, Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj met with Xi and Putin in a trilateral format during the September 12 Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit, in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

In boosting these economic links, Mongolia was reacting to the precipitous fall in foreign direct investment (FDI) from US$4.4 billion in 2012, to $1.8 billion in 2013, to only $0.8 billion in 2014 (M. A. D. Mongolian Newswire, January 13, 2015).

This trend, coupled with the 40% fall in the Mongolian tugrik versus the US dollar over the last two years (, January 15), has greatly weakened the once white-hot Mongolian economy and swelled its foreign debt. More …

Dr Alicia Campi has a PhD in Mongolian Studies, was involved in the preliminary negotiations to establish bilateral relations in the 1980s, and served as a diplomat in Ulaanbaatar. She has a Mongolian consultancy company (US-Mongolia Advisory Group), and writes and speaks extensively on Mongolian issues.

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