Investment climate candidly assessed by Canadian and US Ambassadors
at 14th Annual NAMBC Investors Conference in Ulaanbaatar

Both the Canadian and American Ambassadors to Mongolia delivered candid and wide-ranging speeches at our 14th Annual Investors Conference in Ulaanbaatar, saluting Mongolia’s remarkable achievements  in simultaneously building a democracy and a free market economy but cautioning about the need for increased stability, transparency and investor protection. The full texts of both speeches can be downloaded below.

Both diplomats emphasized the close cooperation between the American and Canadian embassies in Ulaanbaatar and both underscored the urgent need for progress in concluding bilateral agreements that have been under negotiation for considerable periods of time. In his Keynote Address on October 5, Canadian Ambassador Greg Goldhawk stated that Canada looks forward to an early signing of the Canada-Mongolia FIPA (“Foreign Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement”) which has been in negotiation between Ottawa and Ulaanbaatar for over four years. Conclusion of the FIPA was a key element in the joint statement by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Prime Minister Batbold during Batbold’s historic visit to Ottawa in September 2010, the first-ever visit to Canada by a  Mongolian Prime Minister. The US Government is similarly looking forward to the signing of a bilateral “Transparency Agreement,” which Prime Minister S. Batbold told US Vice President Joe Biden during Biden’s  visit to UB this summer could possibly be concluded this fall.

Ambassador Goldhawk emphasized the growing “richness” in the multiplying “threads of connection” between Mongolia and Canada. He discussed in detail five themes in these expanding interconnections – commerce, governance, development assistance, security and people-to-people contacts. But he stressed the importance of good governance as the key to continuing Mongolia’s economic expansion. Goldhawk said, “Mongolia won’t attract new, high-quality investor companies if the ones it has don’t feel that they have a stable environment in which to conduct their operations – if they feel that they have to conduct a rearguard defence every day to understand and react to the latest regulatory gyration or Parliamentary pronouncement.”

In his remarks on October 6, praising the progress Mongolia has made, US Ambassador Jonathan Addleton also noted that “the reality is that as an Embassy we are hearing many individual stories that  cast some doubt on Mongolia’s stated commitment to openness, transparency and a ‘level playing field’ when it comes to foreign investment.  Some of the stories that we hear touch on issues that might be considered ‘normal’ during a time of economic expansion, when the demands on Mongolia’s administrative apparatus are becoming acute and some level of frustration is understandable and even to be expected.  While certainly representing a challenge, these obstacles can over time be overcome. More worrisome, though, is that some of these stories relate to perceptions about the sanctity of contracts, the efficacy of the legal dispute system and the level of corruption faced by business, developments that could easily have a ‘chilling effect’ in the months and years ahead as far as the reality of doing business in Mongolia is concerned.”

Click here for full text of Ambassador Greg Goldhawk’s Keynote Address

Click here for full text of Ambassador Jonathan Addleton’s remarks


Amb. Greg Goldhawk
gave keynote address

US Ambassador
Jonathan Addleton

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