AMBASSADOR GALT: Good morning.
Chairman Liotta, Minister Munkhbat, and members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Mongolia, I am pleased to be here today.
I welcome the opportunity of today’s meeting to support the American Chamber’s ongoing efforts to improve the investment environment in Mongolia.
The partnership between the U.S. Embassy and the American Chamber in this endeavor has been productive and has shown real results – from the finalization of the U.S.-Mongolia Transparency Agreement this past March to advocacy with the Government of Mongolia on the importance of adhering to the conditions and required reforms of the IMF extended fund facility as the best recipe for long-term, sustained economic growth.
I would like to thank the Chamber for convening today’s meeting as a platform where businesses can learn more about the Mongolian government initiative to create an Investment Protection Council and where the Council can receive feedback from the business community.
In late June when I introduced our 2017 Mongolia Investment Climate Statement, I noted that we identified aspects of Mongolia’s legal and regulatory framework that make doing business challenging to the point of ultimately discouraging foreign investment in Mongolia.
This runs counter to the goals we share with the Government of Mongolia to improve the investment environment and to encourage U.S. and other foreign companies to explore opportunities here.
Among the weaknesses we identified in Mongolia’s legal and regulatory framework is the current approach to dispute resolution between public and private entities.
As we reported in our Investment Climate Statement, Mongolia’s civil law and law on arbitration allow investors some recourse in disputes.
However, the existing options through the courts or arbitration are often expensive, time consuming, or not sufficiently transparent.
Moreover, disputes between public and private entities sometimes result from easily resolvable misunderstandings between the foreign commercial entity and the Mongolian government or commercial partner.
For these reasons, I am pleased that the International Finance Corporation and the government of Mongolia are working together to create an Investment Protection Council, which promises to offer an improved dispute resolution mechanism.
The Investment Protection Council is a new organization that is still finding its feet.
It is an organization we want to understand better and with which we want to work closely.
In his capacity as Head of the Cabinet Secretariat, Minister Munkhbat chairs the newly formed Investment Protection Council.
In an important act of transparency, Minister Munkhbat is with us today as part of an outreach effort to the American Chamber and other business groups to explain the Council’s goals and processes.
Today is an opportunity for all of us to transparently review an important innovation to improve the investment climate.
I want to thank Minister Munkhbat for making himself available to meet with us today.
With that, I am honored to turn the floor over to Minister Munkhbat.