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Mongolia and Trade Facilitation across Eurasia

Mongolia and Trade Facilitation across Eurasia
Jorge Cachinero el



A recent visit from the President of Mongolia, Khaltmaa Battulga, who met with IRU to support Mongolia reaching its full potential in transit and transport, highlighted Mongolia’s vital contribution to the engine of global trade – particularly with respect to connectivity between East and West.

A trade revolution along the Asian Highway network – connecting China and Russia via Mongolia’s key transport corridors – is underway. And Mongolia is eager to spur trade.

Since 2017, Mongolia has been actively taking steps to eliminate transit barriers, reduce delivery times for overland transport, and expedite the region’s potential for more trade in the future.

As proof, last year an Intergovernmental Agreement on International Road Transport was signed by China, Mongolia and Russia and was followed and reinforced by China’s implementation of the global customs transit system – the TIR Convention.

In the case of Mongolia, the objective of these initiatives is to facilitate customs control and improve competitiveness among national transport operators, while emphasizing the significance of the role of international road transport for trade facilitation across the region.

In fact, in order to implement such a trilateral Intergovernmental Agreement, the use of the adopted, internationally recognized TIR system is the most efficient means and the best way forward. There is no other mechanism that can better facilitate regional transport.

The China-Mongolia-Russia corridors referenced in the above-mentioned Agreement connect the three countries via central and western Mongolia, and provide Mongolia with sea access via one of the routes.

The network is among the strategic trade corridors highlighted in China’s Belt and Road framework as well as Mongolia’s Steppe Initiative, connecting the East Asia economic circle with Europe.

With growth rates having increased from 1.2 percent in 2016 to 5.1 percent in 2016 and 6.1 percent during the first quarter of 2018, the World Bank predicts that short and medium term economic prospects in Mongolia will remain positive.

This data further underscores the importance of the Government’s proactive measures to promote trade and transit and the country’s further integration in regional and global trade.

By reinforcing the Asian Highway network, Mongolia’s trade potential is already becoming ever more strategic for the sustainable development of the region.

With China implementing the TIR system as well, regional connectivity is being enhanced, hence it is benefiting international trade and generating economic growth.

Mongolia, Russia and China can expect to enjoy significant benefits from TIR in facilitating transit in the region. It saves significantly on transport costs, leading to increased competitiveness and growth. It also reduces the risk of presenting inaccurate information and only approved transporters and vehicles can operate. TIR is already operational in all three countries – although in extremely limited quantities.

When IRU Secretary General, Umberto de Pretto met with Mongolian President Khaltmaa Battulga, he complimented the President on his efforts to turn Mongolia from a landlocked country into a land-linked country through the application of tried and tested UN conventions, including TIR.

Moreover, he encouraged Mongolia to continue to accede to other key UN conventions and underlined the importance of transport agreements concluded with Russia and China.

IRU affirmed its readiness to provide respective services and capacity building initiatives to support Mongolia’s competent national authorities and to the Mongolian road transport industry, in partnership with IRU’s national association NARTAM, to drive trade, prosperity and ultimately peace in the region.


Photo by Eloy Comabella – President of Mongolia Khaltmaa Battulga (r) and IRU Secretary General, Umberto de Pretto (l).

With the contribution of Marie-Helene Vanderpool, Gayle Markovitz, Karen Mazzoli and John Kidd.


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