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Doing Business in Mongolia: What They May Not Tell You

Some Realities of Doing Business in Mongolia

When attempting to talk up a place for investment, tourism or attracting people for some other reason the difficulties of a country is often downplayed or completely ignored, and Mongolia is no exception. At many of the numerous investor’s conferences that pop up here in Ulaanbaatar or in Hong Kong, London, or New York I think many panelists simply pay lip service to the fact that some aspects of doing business here are just plain difficult while ignoring the reality of the situation.

While I believe Mongolia has much to offer an investor or business person, in the interest of full disclosure I would like to present some of the difficulties of doing business in Mongolia. I was originally going to make this two parts, with part one will focusing on the way things actually operate in Mongolia and why this might make things difficult and part two focusing on why running a business may seem difficult to expats because things don’t work like they think they should. But it kept growing so now this is going to be part one of an unknown number in a series . Read the rest of this entry »

Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement To Be Signed Within Weeks

ULAANBAATAR, MONGOLIA – Along with the sounds of groaning children, school bells and homework assignments being handed out on this traditional first day of school in Mongolia, there can also be heard a quiet sigh of relief due to reports of the imminent signing of the Oyu Tolgoi (OT) Investment Agreement.

An unnamed government minister has said in The UB Post newspaper that he expects the Oyu Tolgoi agreement to be signed within two week’s time by both sides.  While we have all heard this time and again during the past five years of negotiations, it looks like these words may actually come to fruition this time.   In the past the Investment Agreement has sought to alter current laws in order to make the agreement more favorable to one side or the other.  The current incarnation of the agreement complies with all current Mongolian Laws, thus making it much more likely to be accepted by the Government. Read the rest of this entry »

Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement

The basic framework for the Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement is now much closer to being finalized after the Government of Mongolia agreed to pass amendments to four laws, including the repeal of the controversial Windfall Profits tax, the Corporate Income Tax Law, the Water Use Law and the Road Law.

Following is the transcript of the Power Point presentation that we have posted on SlideShare.  Please note, this is for informational purposes only and may not be the final version signed.

Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement presentation slideshow:

Read the rest of this entry »

Mongolia Inches Closer to Oyu Tolgoi Deal

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

According the today’s edition of The Mongol Messenger, an English-language newspaper in Mongolia, and several other sources amendments to four laws were approved yesterday by the Mongolian Ikh Khural, or Parliamnet, in a bid to increase the likelihood of the Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement’s passing.  An extraordinary session of Parliament was convened last Wednesday, August 19, in order to discuss these possible changes to Mongolian law.

Read the rest of this entry »

Chinggis Khan, Mongolian Leader, Died Today in 1227

August 18, 2009

Chinggis Khan died this day in history, in the year 1227.   The cause of his death remains a mystery, with some claiming he succumbed to injuries sustained after falling from his horse due to fatigue and injury from battle, while others claim he was killed in battle by the Tanguts and still others say he was killed by a Tangut princess taken during a battle.  Chinggis’ place of burial remains a mystery as it is said anybody who crossed the path of the burial procession was killed.  It is alleged to be near his birthplace in Khentii Aimag, in the east of Mongolia.  His successor to lead the Mongolian empire was Ugudei. Read the rest of this entry »

Translation in Mongolia 101 – Mongolian Translation Challenges Addressed

August 14, 2009

When it comes to Mongolian translation, people typically have five main questions.

The  questions are: how do I find a reliable translator; how much should I pay; how do I know my translation is accurate; how can I get an official translation; and do I have to execute my business documents in Mongolian language?

Mongolian translation overview

Translation is much more of an art that an exact science.  Put ten translators in a room and each one will have a different take on how something should be worded.  All translations are definitely not created equal; they drastically differ in quality depending on the translator’s skills, experience and knowledge of the particular topic of translation.   What should you or your business be on the lookout for when looking for a translator?  Listed below are the top five things people typically want to know about Mongolian translation.

1.  How do I find a reliable Mongolian translator?

This is perhaps the biggest issue many people face when needing to have something translated, especially if it is an important document like a contract or agreement.  There is, unfortunately, no sure-fire way of knowing if a translator is going to suit your needs.  It takes time to find a good, reliable translator who you can count on to do a good job every time.  Word-of-mouth referrals and suggestions from others are obviously good start in finding a translator.  Once several prospective translators have been found it would be a wise to ask for a list of past clients and samples of translations.  It probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a couple of translators translate the same document and compare the translations.  This is a search into which it is worth putting some time and effort.

Of course translators can be found through your favorite search engine, but for local Mongolian translators this probably will not lead to very many solid results.  Translation companies can also be found scattered throughout the city, with several located on Peace Avenue, near the State Department Store. Read the rest of this entry »

Light At the End of the Tunnel for Oyu Tolgoi?

August 13, 2009

There has been an update in the Mongolian media on the latest in the on-going saga that is the Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement.

According to news outlets in Mongolia the Cabinet and National Security Council have approved the latest changes that have been forged during the last round of negotiations.  These include:

  • Project investment reduced to US4 billion from a previous US5 billion;
  • Mongolia’s investment for its 34% shares will be US816 million, half the amount of previous discussions;
  • There will be a prepayment loan to the Government of Mongolia in the amount of US250 million, with 5% annual interest rate, which is a lower interest rate than in previous negotiations; and
  • No exemption from Customs Tax or refund of VAT already paid by the companies. Read the rest of this entry »

Perseid Meteor Shower to Light Up East Asian Skies

August 12, 2009

The annual Perseid meteor shower will be at its peak tonight, during the wee hours of August 13.  According to the Sky and Telescope publication the showers will be at their peak at 1800 GMT (2 am Mongolian time), with dozens of meteors falling through the atmosphere.

The meteor shower is a result of the Earth making its annual passage through space debris left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle from our close encounter with it in 1992.  The most intense meteor showers occurred  during the early 1990s just after the passing of the comet, with hundreds of meteors  an hour visible.

The meteor shower gets its name from the constellation Perseus.  As the debris rains down it looks as if it’s originating from the constellation.

Source:  World News Australia,