Doing business with China
Mongolia seems to be growing closer and closer to China, and a desire for increasing closeness was expressed by China’s Vice President Xi Jinping, who is visiting Mongolia this week. China has been Mongolia’s top trading partner and top investor for nearly a decade, and this year has seen a 68% increase in bilateral trade over last year. About 90% of Mongolia’s rice, clothing and vegetable imports come from China, and more than 6% of the Mongolian labor force are employees of the 700 Chinese businesses operating in the country. China’s geographic proximity makes it easier for them to make the infrastructure investments that put them first in line to tap Mongolia’s mineral wealth.
Some Mongolians have expressed displeasure over the rising food costs in their country. In an attempt to alleviate the problem, the government borrowed money to import flour, which they distributed to bread makers at discount prices. However, the bread makers refuse to pay cash for the flour, refuse to store the flour and refuse to accept the set price for bread established by the government. It seems like the government did not do their homework on this one. It’s tough switching to a free market economy!