Reposted from The Washington Post
By Michael Kohn and William Mellor
Outside, it’s minus 22 degrees as a February wind blasts across the Central Asian steppe and through the Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar. Inside Government House, President Tsakhia Elbegdorj delivers a televised speech that simultaneously warms his people and chills foreign investors.
The country’s 76 legislators have convened to debate the future of one of the planet’s richest copper and gold mines, Oyu Tolgoi, which is 66 percent owned by the London-based Rio Tinto Group and 34 percent owned by the state. Elbegdorj tells them Rio Tinto has let the project’s total cost balloon by $10 billion. The higher expenses, which Rio Tinto disputes, would diminish and delay profits the government shares in. More…
Reposted from Myanmar Times
By Aye Thidar Kyaw
Domestic banks are preparing for joint ventures with foreign lenders, several banks reported last week, even though they will not be allowed until the Central Bank of Myanmar is made independent.
A spokesperson at the deputy director general level of the Central Bank in Nay Pyi Taw said joint ventures would be allowed once the Central Bank Law was enacted by parliament and the bank is made autonomous. However, parliament will not sit again until late June. The spokesperson added that bank officials are already writing the rules and regulations for when the law, which was returned to parliament by the President’s Office for review, is passed by parliament.
“Our rules and regulations need to protect domestic banks but at the same time we need to open up to international banking because our banking sector has been left behind for 50 years,” he said. The Central Bank will approve foreign banks in four stages, he said: representative offices, joint ventures, subsidiaries and wholly owned branches. More…
Reposted from Foreign Policy
By Peter Murrel
Mongolia’s blue skies may soon be darkening. A key challenge: Putting the mining companies in their place.
As I suspect others with a professional interest in Mongolia’s transition to democracy and capitalism have found, the country seems to attract attention in a predictable cycle. On the up side, some peripatetic journalist based in Beijing with time to kill discovers the miraculous changes wrought in only two decades after effectively being a Russian colony (complete with mandatory mention of its fabulous blue skies). More…
Reposted from BusinessnewEurope
Terrence Edwards in Ulaanbaatar
The government of minerals-rich Mongolia is beginning to exhibit a return of warm feelings towards foreign investors with winter’s thaw.
After nearly 10 months of increasingly frosty relations with foreign investors that began with the passing of the Strategic Entities Foreign Investment Law (SEFIL), the government is making noises about drawing up an amendment to the law that relaxes restrictions on private investors. More…
Reposted from The Nation
By Onravee Tangmeesang
Myanmar’s banking services may have to expand to electronic transactions
Crowded Yangon International Airport is proof of Myanmar’s success in attracting large numbers of visitors now that the country has emerged from decades of isolation. More…
Reposted from The UB Post
By B. Byambadorj
At a press conference on Monday ‘The Report: Mongolia 2013’ was unveiled at the Kempinski Hotel Khan Palace.
The Report: Mongolia 2013 sheds light on Mongoia’s foreign investment laws that are causing current concerns. The Report also provides key information on the state of Mongolian infrastructure, capital and expertise to investors.
Regional Editor Paulius Kuncinas said that Mongoia’s exports of coal, copper and iron should rise on the back of a favorable global outlook for commodities. More…
Reposted from The South China Morning Post
Myanmar’s government is unveiling a slew of new reforms to donor countries and international organisations this weekend, aiming to consolidate achievements since the end of military rule in 2011, but also improve the lives of its citizens.
In opening remarks to donors yesterday, President Thein Sein said the government wanted “a modern, industrialised country”, but also stressed the need to develop the agricultural sector and narrow development gaps between the regions. More…
Reposted from Quartz
MANDALAY— This weekend, Myanmar is hosting a BarCamp, a technology “unconference” where entrepreneurs, technologists and political activists gather to swap ideas. Remarkably for a country where military rule ended only in 2011 and economic reforms are only just getting going, this is its fourth BarCamp, and last year’s broke the record for the world’s biggest BarCamp ever, with 5,000 attendees.
But this year’s takes place among some big changes in the environment for technology entrepreneurs. In November the country passed a new foreign investment law, though corruption and cronyism remain rife. A bill is in the works to bring Myanmar’s ancient telecommunications legislation up to date, though critics want provisions that would severely cramp civil liberties to be removed. This week, the government announced that it would grant two telecoms licenses to local or foreign companies, and set a Jan. 25 deadline for expressions of interest. More…
Reposted from The SF Gate
The Myanmar Private Sector Investment Summit (MPSIS) scheduled to take place on 28 – 30 January 2013 in Yangon attracts participation from 15 different countries as well as local Myanmar companies. Besides the neighbouring Asian countries like, Japan, India, Thailand and Singapore that have been actively investing in Myanmar, companies from Mauritius, Saudi Arabia, UK, Switzerland and Brazil are also eyeing business opportunities in Myanmar and use MPSIS as a gateway to insights and contacts. Besides foreign delegates, MPSIS will also be attended by a large delegation of local Myanmar companies, related law makers and government executive bodies, creating a balanced foreigners to locals ratio of 60-40. More…
Reposted from Bloomberg
A worker stands by the arm of a digger in a coal mine in Mongolia. Mineral product exports account for more than 90 percent of the country’s exports.
By Michael Kohn & Yuriy Humber
Proposed changes to Mongolia’s mining laws threaten the viability of the nation’s biggest coal project at Tavan Tolgoi and will further deter foreign investment, the Business Council of Mongolia said.
The legislation, which will give the state the right to a free stake in many mineral projects, will take the country away from the free-market principles practiced there since the early 1990s, Mongolia’s largest business group said More…