The Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI), founded in 1960, has been a main driver of Mongolia’s private-sector development since the country adopted a free-market system in 1990. The MNCCI now has 19 branches around the country and actively cooperates with more than 40 international Chambers of Commerce and trade-promotion organisations worldwide.
The MNCCI houses the Mongolian National Arbitration Centre and regulates and issues Certificates of Origin, which are essential for Mongolia’s exporters to benefit from the country’s preferential treatment concerning trade and customs tariffs in 35 developed countries. The MNCCI also hosts and organises international trade missions to Mongolia.
Forging global business ties
Sambu Demberel, Chairman and CEO, explains that the MNCCI’s mission is to develop and promote a competitive private sector in Mongolia; to cement its position as a capable and influential advocacy organisation for the Mongolian business community and private sector through dialogue with government leaders; to assist companies and investors in Mongolia through providing business research, promotion and other services; and to continue to serve as a productive member of the international business community. The MNCCI is an active member of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CACCI), the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBSCSD), the International Trade Centre (ITC), and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
“Like all Chambers of Commerce around the world, the MNCCI focuses on what I call the ‘two Ps’, protection and promotion, including through policy advocacy,” Sambu Demberel says. He adds, “We protect the interests of the Mongolian business sector in relation to government bureaucracy, regulations and intervention. Concerning promotion, we serve as a support for businesses of all kinds, from microenterprises and SMEs to multinationals, both foreign and domestic. The MNCCI also functions as a kind of think tank to bring the latest global business trends to Mongolia’s private sector, such as corporate social responsibility, e-business, clean development and more. There are real changes occurring in business worldwide and we are making sure that Mongolia keeps pace with these changes.”
Ensuring sustainable development
One of the Chamber’s goals is to ensure that Mongolia’s economic development is sustainable. The MNCCI’s Sustainable Production and Consumption Department is working to promote the development of environmentally friendly and economically efficient industries and services by implementing “Cleaner Production” principles. The MNCCI is partnering with the Mongolian government and international organisations to create a National Cleaner Production Programme, which includes conducting energy audits to identify potential energy savings, offering specialised training on energy efficiency and energy-service-company services, introducing energy-management systems to companies, developing and implementing projects focused on increasing energy efficiencies, and raising awareness of energy-service-company services.
Another priority for the MNCCI is to improve Mongolia’s ranking by Transparency International. Sambu Demberel explains, “We are trying to push the government, advise the government, and work together with the government to promote transparency. Many reforms have already been launched, including on environmental protection, reducing red tape for business, simplifying licensing and other processes, and reducing excessive regulations. Although the results are not yet fully satisfactory, we are working with the government to make more progress.”
Promoting private-sector diversification
The MNCCI is also promoting the diversification of Mongolia’s private sector, including fostering the development of non-minerals exports through a new strategy document on “Non-Minerals Export Promotion”. “Mongolia’s business sector is mainly SMEs but there is little diversity. In addition, the economy is mainly ‘brown’ and we want to make it mainly ‘green’ as soon as possible,” Sambu Demberel says.
Cutting the cost of loans for private enterprises is another key goal for the Chamber, which is dedicated to bringing interest rates down. Sambu Demberel points out, “The new government understands that there should be affordable tools for businesses to develop. The government has established an SME fund and is issuing bonds for certain products, including cashmere, wool, meat and construction materials.”
While many challenges for the private sector remain, Sambu Demberel is encouraged by the progress being made under the new government, including the implementation of new regulations concerning foreign investment and the stock exchange. The government is also considering environmental targets, including a 10% rise in Mongolia’s energy efficiency by 2020 along with a rise to 20% of the percentage of energy produced from renewable resources and a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions. Sambu Demberel says, “The new government is strongly promoting an open, free-market, ‘green’ economy in Mongolia and we need to get this message to investors all over the world. We are trying to diversify our economy and increase our exports, including to the EU. We want to export all kinds of products to our neighbours and beyond. The MNCCI will continue to serve as an advocate and support system for domestic and foreign companies in Mongolia.”