WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Mongolia's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Sukhbaatar Batbold, announced the launch of negotiations for a United States-Mongolia Transparency Agreement following a meeting yesterday in Washington held by General Counsel Timothy Reif and Assistant United States Trade Representative Timothy Stratford with Minister Batbold. In their discussions, the officials noted the importance of transparency with regard to trade and investment policies and practices. They also reiterated the importance of U.S.-Mongolia trade and economic relations and their mutual desire to promote trade cooperation through the U.S.-Mongolia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement.
Ambassador Kirk and Minister Batbold issued a joint statement saying: "Transparency is critical to the proper and efficient functioning of the international trading system. Businesses need the predictability that comes with a clear understanding of the policies and practices that are going to be applied. We believe that an agreement setting forth mutual commitments on transparency will help to develop the U.S.-Mongolia trade relationship, to the benefit of both of our economies."
The United States and Mongolia signed their Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) on July 15, 2004. The TIFA created a United States-Mongolia Council on Trade and Investment that considers a wide range of issues that include, but are not limited to, intellectual property rights, labor, environmental matters, non-tariff barriers, and transparency. Through the Council, the two countries have established an ongoing dialogue to help remove impediments to trade between the United States and Mongolia.
The United States has entered into TIFAs with a number of countries in order to enhance trade ties and coordinate regionally and multilaterally through regular senior-level discussions on trade and economic issues. Regular, ongoing dialogues established through TIFAs with other countries and regions have led to concrete, positive results, resolved trade differences, and led to a deepening of trade and economic relationships.
The launch of the negotiations with Mongolia represents the first time that the United States has sought to conclude a stand-alone agreement on transparency. Previously, the United States has only negotiated transparency commitments as part of broader agreements, such as Free Trade Agreements.
Mongolia has a population of about 3 million. It has been a member of the World Trade Organization since January 29, 1997.