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Regional connectivity key to mutual benefits, trade official says

Zhong Nan, Yang Ziman and Yuan Hui
Updated: Jul 14,2016 7:42 AM     China Daily

China-Mongolia business ties will look to enhanced regional connectivity to stimulate trade and attract investment as they pursue measures to improve economic integration, Chinese officials said.

Zhi Luxun, deputy director of the Department of Foreign Trade at the Ministry of Commerce, said regional connectivity is a top priority for the Mongolian government when it comes to promoting development in investment, trade, infrastructure and tourism.

Mongolia is a landlocked country with a sparse population, vast territory and abundant resources. It relies heavily on China and Russia for access to ports. The country exports mainly minerals and agricultural products to China and global trade partners.

To help the country boost exports, Mongolia has been allowed to use part of Tianjin Port in China, and it has setup an office in Tianjin.

“We think Dalian is another port that will probably become open to Mongolia,” said Khaliunbat Myagmarjav, executive director of the Silk Road Foundation, a Mongolian civil economic organization.

China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region has also made a proposal to the central government to make itself a free-trade zone based on cross-border trade.

“The two countries are highly complementary in economic structure and enjoy a huge potential for economic and trade cooperation,” said Luo Renjian, a researcher at the Institute of Transportation Research under the National Development and Reform Commission.

Luo said Mongolia has realized that better rail connections and enhanced port services could have meaningful economic and political implications for its economic growth.

Wang Lihua, director of the publicity department of Erenhot, Inner Mongolia autonomous region, said Mongolia needs a large number of goods and products from China.

Erenhot is now China’s only trading hub with Mongolia.

“About 2 million Mongolians enter China through the land port of Erenhot each year,” Wang said. “The economic connection between the two countries is going to be even stronger with the Belt and Road Initiative in place.”