ULAN BATOR — More and more Mongolians think the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative provides a good chance to boost the landlocked country’s economy.
In a recent interview with China Radio International, Mongolian Ambassador to China Tsedenjav Sukhbaatar said China is Mongolia’s largest foreign investor and trading partner, adding that the plan to build a China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor is a milestone in history and that Mongolia is planning to develop special foreign investment zones to attract investment.
“Mongolia will contribute to the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative” and “will also greatly benefit from the increased trade turnover and good shipment,” he said.
Mongolian Minister of Road and Transportation Zorigt Munkhchuluun highlighted in local media the country’s geographic location, saying that most of the planned infrastructure projects in Mongolia under the economic corridor plan and Mongolia’s Steppe Road infrastructure construction program are related to the transportation sector.
The Steppe Road program is designed to boost the Mongolian economy through trans-border transportation.
Mongolian economists and public figures believe the Belt and Road Initiative will offer more export opportunities for Mongolia to boost its logistics and transportation between China and other countries through its territory.
They say Mongolia has abundant raw materials and mineral resources such as coal, copper and iron ores needed by China, which serves as the basis of the mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries.
Mongolia’s agriculture is also expected to benefit from the Belt and Road Initiative.
Mongolia boasts 73 million heads of livestock farmed by about 200,000 herder households in the vast countryside. Currently, the country’s agricultural products lack market access and the government wants to sell them to big consumer markets including China, according to Mongolian media.
However, the country’s poor infrastructure and ineffective veterinarian and vaccination services have proved to be a big hindrance.
“I heard that mutton is expensive in China. I want to sell meat to Chinese consumers. The meat I have is organic without any chemical substance,” said Batbold Erdene, a herder with 1,000 heads of goats and sheep.
With the Belt and Road Initiative, these herders face a better prospect of shipping their meat and dairy products to China in a better and fresh condition, media reports said.