AMBASSADOR GALT: Speaker Enkhbold, Chairman Liotta, members of the American Chamber of Commerce, I am honored to address you today.
If you’ll indulge me, I thought I’d start my remarks this morning with a topic that is no doubt on everyone’s mind – the new Trump administration in Washington, DC. The building of a new government is a natural part of any democratic political transition, whether in the United States or Mongolia. Until President Trump’s Cabinet picks are confirmed and in place, the specifics of new policy directions will not be clear, but what I can tell you is that U.S. fundamental interests in the dynamic Asia-Pacific region do not change from one Administration to the next.
U.S. engagement in the Asia-Pacific region enjoys bipartisan support. With many of our major trading partners and a rapidly growing middle class, closer relations with Asia means more jobs and opportunity in America. With almost half the world’s population, more than one-third of global GDP, and five treaty allies, peace and prosperity in this region will remain vital to the United States. And with some of the world’s most capable militaries, Asia will increasingly shape the course of global security.
Mongolia is and will remain an important partner. Mr. Speaker, what you and your fellow members of the State Great Hural think and do about the remarkable range of issues confronting Mongolia, especially during these challenging times, compels the most serious attention.
Recognizing the importance of the State Great Hural and considering how the U.S. government can make positive contributions to its work, we have worked tirelessly to increase parliamentary exchanges, successfully doubling the number of Mongolian participants this year in programs organized by the
Open World Leadership Center. In addition, a group of parliamentarians is in Colorado, my home state, and Pennsylvania this week to learn about innovative mining practices. We look forward to continuing these exchanges.
We acknowledge that Mongolia faces serious fiscal challenges. But Mr. Speaker, Mongolia does not face these challenges alone. The U.S. government is engaging robustly with the International Monetary Fund and other parties here and around the world to work toward a sustainable solution. Indeed, this is our highest priority right now.
In conjunction with the identification of ways to resolve its fiscal challenges, Mongolia will need to continue to work on improving its investment climate. My government and AmCham have been encouraged by recent positive steps.
I would especially like to underscore the work of Parliament and the Mongolian government to amend the law that had imposed a certificate of origin requirement on Mongolian and foreign importers, ratify the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, and re-examine exit bans.
I would also like to highlight another incredibly positive step: nearly nine years after discussions on the U.S.-Mongolia Transparency Agreement began, on January 19, 2017, Mongolia and the United States exchanged letters certifying that both countries have completed the legal procedures necessary for the agreement to enter into force.
Its entry into force on March 20 will herald a new, deeper phase in the U.S.-Mongolia trade relationship and will, we hope, help restore confidence in Mongolia as a destination for U.S. and other investment.
We look forward to working with the Mongolian government and businesses to implement the agreement.
I am confident our Transparency Agreement will bolster our ongoing efforts to encourage more U.S. private sector engagement in Mongolia, particularly in the agriculture, renewable energy, logistics, aviation services, and franchising sectors. We look forward to bringing a U.S. trade delegation to Mongolia this September, following on the successful June 2016 delegation out of which we saw several significant new investments.
The United States Embassy and AmCham are partnering with the Mongolian government in other areas to successfully transform the Mongolian business environment into one that enables long-term, sustainable economic growth. To that end, I look forward to joining the annual AmCham Mongolia and Asia-Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce Delegation to Washington, D.C. this June. We will tell Mongolia’s story to potential U.S. investors, as well as to the new U.S. administration.
And of course, there is the annual American Days Expo in September, which celebrates the growing breadth and depth of the U.S.-Mongolia commercial and economic relationship. Mr. Speaker, I invite you to attend and open the 2017 American Days Expo. I am certain that you will be proud of what U.S.-Mongolia commercial partnerships have accomplished.
As I am sure everyone knows, the United States and Mongolia will celebrate on January 27 the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. I look forward to co-hosting a series of events with Foreign Minister Munkh-Orgil to mark the occasion. I also look forward to joining with the Mongolian government and AmCham to commemorate this anniversary throughout the year, including through the Philadelphia Orchestra’s historic June visit to Mongolia.
Over the last 30 years, Mr. Speaker, we have created a deep partnership founded on shared democratic principles and free-market values. The people in this room today testify to the strength and importance of our bilateral relationship.
As we look to the next 30 years, I am confident we will work together to deepen our already strong economic and commercial partnership.
Thank you. We look forward to your remarks, Speaker Enkhbold.