AMBASSADOR GALT: Good morning, everyone. Thank you, Magnai for that very kind introduction.
Newly elected Chairman Jay Liotta, former Chairman Jackson Cox, and members of AmCham, and friends in the media it is an honor to address you this morning.
I have served in several U.S. embassies and consulates around the world and had the pleasure of working with locals chapters of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in each and every one of them.
I can safely say I have never come across a more talented, more energetic, more dedicated AmCham leader than Jackson Cox.
It may be stretching my status as an “honorary” AmCham member to presume to speak for the organization.
But I do want to acknowledge, as an AmCham member and as U.S. Ambassador to Mongolia, the wonderful job that Jackson has done. Please join me in another round of applause, thank you Jackson.
You leave with AmCham Mongolia having become, through the efforts you have orchestrated, a very serious participant in every aspect of Mongolian business.
AmCham Mongolia makes contributions to the host country business community that AmChams elsewhere many times its size have difficulty pulling off.
And welcome new chairman Jay Liotta. If your opening remarks are any indication, you will be also a second extraordinary leader for the AmCham. I look forward to working with you.
Let me give just a few examples of how AmCham Mongolia punches above its weight as we say:
AmCham Mongolia works with its parent organization — the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — to bring Mongolian business and political leaders into regular contact with U.S. companies and investors, providing just the right opportunity for business incubation to flourish.
AmCham Mongolia offers salient and detailed commentary on business legislation pending before the Mongolian Parliament — most times having translated in-house the Mongolian-language draft legislation for the benefit of its members.
AmCham Mongolia works with partners, I am proud to say — including the U.S. Government– to expose the Mongolian business community to the best practices prevailing in international markets, by bringing world-class experts in arbitration and other business disciplines to Ulaanbaatar and staging simulations and seminars.
Finally, AmCham Mongolia quietly offers support to U.S. companies and their American, Mongolian, and third-country national executives and employees who at times have been bewildered by Mongolian administrative agencies and even criminal justice procedures.
Perhaps the most telling evidence of the unusual effectiveness of AmCham Mongolia is the fact that AmCham Mongolia is thriving in this down economy.
Many business organizations struggle to maintain membership during these times.
Not so AmCham Mongolia.
I am excited to learn how AmCham Mongolia is growing, and what it has accomplished, and what it hopes to achieve in the coming year, embracing its evolving role as Mongolia’s leading advocate for free enterprise.
If AmCham can do this well in a down market, there is no limit to what it might do when the market cycles back upwards.
New AmCham Chair Jay Liotta is well-known to us all and — if I may once again stretch my limits as a non-voting member now that the result is in — you have made a great choice in electing Jay to succeed Jackson.
Thank you again, Jay, for agreeing to serve.
Last month I had the opportunity to talk in detail about my top three business-related priorities as U.S. Ambassador:
Bringing the U.S.-Mongolia Transparency Agreement into force — AT LONG LAST. Thank you Jay again, for making that one of your priorities as well.
We believe this agreement will contribute significantly — in terms both of real transactions and symbolically — toward improving the business and investment climate;
Second, supporting Oyu Tolgoi’s momentum to restart Phase 2; and
Third, diversifying the Mongolian economy by increasing U.S.-Mongolian business partnerships.
We at the U.S. Embassy are counting on AmCham to join us in advocating for these and other priorities.
We are almost there on the Transparency Agreement – but as I have said before, we have been “almost there” for the more-than-a-year that has come and gone since the Mongolian Parliament ratified the agreement.
We look to AmCham to work with us to get this agreement over the last obstacles and enter into force in both our countries.
Likewise, AmCham will play an important role in helping Mongolia further develop and diversify its economy.
With AmCham leading a frank and open public discussion of how effective regulatory and legal environments could incentivize needed private investment, we are much more likely to achieve the aim of well-diversified economy.
During the coming year, my U.S. Embassy team and I look forward to working closely with AmCham on these and other priorities.
This coming April, I plan to participate in the Asian Pacific American Chambers of Commerce meeting in Beijing. If Chairman Cox will have me.
I am working with the U.S. departments of commerce and agriculture on prospects for bringing a U.S> trade delegation, primarily from the agri-business and renewable energy sectors, to Mongolia, and I anticipate another successful AmCham collaboration in creating another “American Expo” next September.
For our part, my embassy will provide its annual report detailing our view of Mongolia’s investment climate in the coming year.
We will offer promotional opportunities and advocate for particular U.S. businesses looking to enter the Mongolian market or encountering legal or bureaucratic obstacles once in the market.
I look forward to further strengthening our partnership in the New Year.
Finally, I most say, in keeping with my priority of supporting OT’s Phase 2, I must apologize for leaving you rather abruptly this morning.
But I know you will excuse me so that I may dash over to the Shangri-La, provided the roads are open, to witness the signing of the Phase 2 Project Finance Package that is happening in just a few moments.
Thank you again, thank you AmCham, I look forward to working together in 2016.