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Research group on expediency of concluding free trade agreement with Mongolia to hold its first meeting by year-end

Research group on expediency of concluding free trade agreement with Mongolia to hold its first meeting by year-end

9/22/2020

On September 22, Andrey Slepnev, Member of the Board – Minister in charge of Trade of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC), met with Niamcerengijn Enhtajvan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, who is in Moscow on an official visit.  Andrey Slepnev offered his compliments to his guest on account of his recent appointment to this post, and expressed the hope that their constructive interaction would continue.

In the course of their conference, the parties praised the favorable trends in mutual trade, and planned further steps to promote cooperation.  Following a slight decline in 2015 and 2016, the past three years have seen the beginnings of a favorable trend in bilateral trade.  The annualized mutual trade turnover in 2017 came close to the 2014 figure with US $1.6 billion, followed by a further increase to US $1.75 billion and 1.87 billion,  respectively, in the next years.  However, much remains to be done as far as further diversification of mutual trade is concerned.

In that regard, Andrey Slepnev informed his counterpart that, on September 11 this year, the EEC Council ordered the formation of a joint research group to study the expediency of concluding a free trade agreement between the EAEU and Mongolia.  This group plans to hold its first meeting by the end of this year. "We believe that, given the mutual commitment demonstrated by the EAEU and Mongolia, we may see the outputs of this work as early as next year," the minister expressed his hope.

He further noted the importance of avoiding excessive formalism in both the assessment work and the preparation of a prospective future agreement. "We need to approach this creatively; instead of simply discussing some basic reduction of duties, we ought to have a vision of concrete projects and work towards making them happen.  We have no dearth of such projects in energy, transport, mining, and infrastructure," concluded Andrey Slepnev.​