Mongolia intensifies bid to become 22nd APEC member

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-10-6 16:17:23

Mongolia is intensifying its bid to become the 22nd member of APEC, officials said in Bali on Sunday.

Making a detailed presentation to international media, Mongolian Foreign Minister Bold Luvsanvandan outlined the reasons why his country should become the next member of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

"Mongolia made its first official application to join APEC in 1993 and this has remained an enduring aspiration. We now meet the requirements that were set out by APEC in its 1997 Ministerial Statement on Membership," he said.

Mongolia, along with India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Macau, Laos, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Ecuador, are among a dozen countries seeking APEC membership.

If Mongolia's bid to join APEC is successful, it will become the first land-locked country to join the bloc of 21 Pacific-rim economies.

Mineral-rich Mongolia has a relatively small economy. With about 22.4 percent of its population living on less than 1.25 US dollars a day, and its per capita income in 2011 at 3,100 US dollars, Mongolia is ranked as a lower to middle income economy by the World Bank.

But the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts that it would be one of the world's fastest-growing country in 2013 with 14 percent growth on top of 17.5 percent in 2011, thanks to a booming mining sector, particularly copper and coal, which accounts for about 21.8 percent of its GDP.

Mongolia has impressive reserves of minerals including 18.4 billion tons of coal, 2.4 tons of gold, 1 million tons of iron ore and 2.4 billion barrels of untapped oil. In fact Mongolia's coking coal exports will hit 50 million tons by 2017 and is among the largest in the world.

"APEC economies also count for 89.5 percent Mongolia's trade and 50.6 percent of foreign direct inflows. China, Canada and Russia alone make up 96.4 percent of Mongolia's exports," Bold added.

Adding more sugar to the deal is a government decision announced on Friday adopting new investor friendly laws that aims to push foreign inflows. Mongolia also has trade agreements with 44 countries and aims to increase ties with other APEC countries.

"At a time when Asia-Pacific countries become more and more intertwined Mongolia cannot afford to stay outside. I can assure you that with its growing economy and friendly political relations with every single APEC country Mongolia would bring added value to APEC."

APEC host Indonesia clearly agrees with this view point. Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, after meeting with his Mongolian counterpart on the sidelines of the ongoing meeting told media on Friday that Mongolia met the criteria to become an APEC member.

"Mongolia is an economy that can make a big contribution to APEC. The thing is, there is no consensus yet," Marty was quoted as saying by local media.

Posted in: Asia-Pacific

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