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Mongolia’s economy, traditionally based on herding and agriculture, has transformed into an economy focused more on extractive industries, spurred on by significant investment in Mongolia by foreign enterprises. Mongolia has extensive deposits of copper, gold, coal, molybdenum, fluorspar, uranium, tin and tungsten.
The main industries in Mongolia are mining; construction and construction materials; oil; food and beverages; processing of animal products; and cashmere and other natural fiber manufacturing.
The main agricultural products in Mongolia are wheat, barley, vegetables, forage crops; sheep, goats, cattle, camels and horses.
Exports now account for more than half of Mongolia’s GDP. The main export commodities are copper, apparel, livestock, animal products, cashmere, wool, hides, fluorspar, other nonferrous metals, coal and crude oil. Mongolia’s major export markets in 2015 were China (84%) and Switzerland (9%).
The U.S.-Mongolia trade relationship saw impressive growth up until 2012, when U.S. exports of goods to Mongolia reached more than $665 million, driven in large part by U.S. efforts to help develop Mongolia’s expanding mining sector. U.S. imports of goods from Mongolia also reached a peak in 2012 at $42 million. Since then, imports and exports have both declined, largely because of a downturn in Mongolia’s economy.
The Agreement on Transparency in Matters Related to International Trade and Investment between the United States of America and Mongolia entered into force in March 2017. This agreement applies to matters relating to international trade and investment and includes joint commitments to provide opportunities for public comment on proposed laws and regulations and to publish final laws and regulations. It also includes joint commitments to ensure that administrative agencies apply fair, impartial and reasonable procedures and that persons affected by the decisions of administrative agencies have a right to appeal those decisions. Additional joint commitments address the application of disciplines on bribery and corruption. The agreement represents the first time that the United States has concluded a stand-alone agreement addressing transparency in matters related to international trade and investment with one of its trading partners.
US-Mongolia Trade Facts
Mongolia is currently our 175th largest goods trading partner with $67 million in total (two way) goods trade during 2016. Goods exports totaled $56 million; goods imports totaled $11 million. The U.S. goods trade surplus with Mongolia was $44 million in 2016.
According to the Department of Commerce, U.S. exports of goods to Mongolia supported an estimated 4 hundred jobs in 2015 (latest data available).
- Mongolia was the United States' 161st largest goods export market in 2016.
- U.S. goods exports to Mongolia in 2016 were $56 million, down 19.6% ($14 million) from 2015 but up 141.2% from 2006.
- The top export categories (2-digit HS) in 2016 were: machinery ($15 million), vehicles ($12 million), electrical machinery ($5 million), optical and medical instruments ($4 million), and aircraft ($3 million).
- U.S. exports of agricultural products to Mongolia totaled $3 million in 2016.
- Mongolia was the United States' 170th largest supplier of goods imports in 2016.
- U.S. goods imports from Mongolia totaled $11 million in 2016, down 35.0% ($6 million) from 2015, and down 90.2% from 2006.
- The top import categories (2-digit HS) in 2016 were: ores, slag, and ash (tungsten, ore, concentrates) ($5 million), special other (returns) ($2 million), knit apparel ($1 million), electrical machinery ($724 thousand), and art and antiques ($713 thousand).
- U.S. imports of agricultural products from Mongolia totaled $33 thousand in 2016.
- The U.S. goods trade surplus with Mongolia was $44 million in 2016, a 14.5% decrease ($8 million) over 2015.
- Data on U.S. FDI in Mongolia are unavailable. There is no information on the distribution of U.S. FDI in Mongolia.
- Mongolia's FDI in the United States (stock) was $1 million in 2015 (latest data available).
NOTE: No services trade data with Mongolia are available.