Three years of negotiation between the presidents of Mongolia, China and Russia has finally shown its first tangible result as the three heads adopt a program on the development of atrilateral economic corridor during their latest trilateral meeting.
President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj, President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of China Xi Jinping sealed the agreement on June 23 and 24, 2016 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on the sidelines of the 16th summit of the Council of Heads of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Member States. The trilateral economic corridor is a major cooperation initiative aimed to boost infrastructural and trade integration of the three nations through the aligning of China’s Silk Road Economic Belt initiative, Russia’s Trans-Eurasian Belt Development initiative, and Mongolia’s Steppe Road Program. Joint working groups of the projects have met 17 times in the last three years.
Within the scope of the program, the Mongolian side will carry out 32 projects, out of nearly 300 recommended projects. Over 190 projects were proposed from the Chinese side alone and the Mongolian side selected 32 projects, considered beneficial to the nation, reported the Mongolian Minister of Foreign Affairs in Tashkent.
Among these 32 projects, 13 are focused on transportation infrastructure. According to the minister, an Investment and Planning Center will be established in Ulaanbaatar before 2017 and financial issues will be negotiated. Though China has enough funds to cover the majority of the projects’ costs, the Mongolian side wish to seek investment from other countries as well. The three presidents plan to equally divide costs required for building the Investment and Planning Center, where all financial matters related to programs and projects of the economic corridor will be managed.
As stated in the program on the development of a trilateral economic corridor, Mongolia, Russia and China will strengthen cooperation in areas of transportation infrastructure connectivity, ports and border checkpoint construction, customs control, industrial capacity, investment, trade and economy, cultural and people-to-people exchanges, and environmental protection. Mongolia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China’s National Development and Reform Commission, and Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development will be in charge of the program’s implementation.
Below is a list of projects to be implemented for the trilateral economic corridor program.
1. Conduct a feasibility study for comprehensively redeveloping the main railway links of the economic corridor (UlaanUde-Naushki-Sukhbaatar-Ulaanbaatar-Zamiin Uud-Erenhot-Ulaan Tsav-Zhangjiakou-Beijing-Tianjin), constructing a double-track railway, and distributing electricity to it.
2. Conduct studies on northern railway links of the economic corridor (Kurangino-Kyzyl-Tsagaan Tolgoi-Arts Suuri-Ovoot-Erdenet-Salkhit- Zamiin Uud-Erenhot-Ulaan Tsav-Zhangjiakou-Beijing- Tianjin). In the case of a positive feasibility study result, the construction work will start immediately.
3. Conduct studies on western railway links of the economic corridor (Kurangino-Kyzyl-Tsagaan Tolgoi-Arts Suuri-Khovd-Takashiken-Haxi Prefecture-Urumqi). In the case of a positive feasibility study result, the construction work will start immediately.
4. Conduct studies on eastern railway links of the economic corridor (Borzya-Solovevsk-Ereen Tsav-Choibalsan-Khuut-Bichigt-Zuun Khatavch-Ulaan Khad-Chifeng-Jinzhou). In the case of a positive feasibility study result, the construction work will start immediately.
5. Conduct studies on Tumen River Transportation Corridor project, also referred as “Coast-2” corridor, (Choibalsan-Sumber-Rashaan-Ulanhot-Changchun-Yanji-Zarubino). In the case of a positive feasibility study result, the construction work will start immediately.
6. Conductstudies on “Coast-1” railway corridor (Choibalsan-Sumber-Rashaan-Manchuria-Qiqihar-Harbin-Mudanjiang-Suifenhe-Vladivostok-Nakhodka). In the case of a positive feasibility study result, the construction work will start immediately.
7. Study opportunities to connect Mongolia with the superhighway between Moscow and Beijing.
8. Organize a joint discussion session on establish a trilateral logistics company.
9. Actively use Asian Highway Networks AH-3 (Ulaan Ude-Kyakhta, Altanbulag-Darkhan-Ulaanbaatar-Sainshand-Zamiin Uud, and Erenhot-Beijing-Tianjin) for transportation, and conduct feasibility study for building a highway joining Mongolia to AH-3.
10. Construct AH-3 routes Novosibirsk-Barnaul-Gorno-Altaysk –Tashanta, UlaanBaishint-Khovd-Yarantai, and route Takashiken-Urumqi-Kashi-Honqiraf.
11. Conduct a study on East Highway Corridor (Borzya Borzya-Solovevsk-Ereen Tsav-Choibalsan-Baruun Urt-Bichigt-Zuun Khatavch-Xi Ujimqin-Ulaan had; routes between Zuun Khatavch and Chaoyang, between Chengde and Jinzhou) and begin construction if feasibility study shows positive result.
12. Establish anIntergovernmental Agreement on the Asian Highway Network between governments of Mongolia, Russia and China.
13. Rampup construction of communications infrastructure, manage technological operations and ensure safety of transportation corridors running from Ulaan Ude to Kyakhta, as well as on routes Altanbulag-Darkhan-Ulaan-baatar-Sainshand-Zamiin Uud and Erenhot-Ulaan Tsav-Beijing-Tianjin.
14. Boost construction of the main part of the Mongolia-Russia-China economic corridor and study opportunities for establishing an industrial cooperation agreement between the three nations.
15. Conduct a feasibility study on building an economic cooperation zone between Heilongjiang Province in China, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China, Mongolia and Russia.
Border checkpoint reform:
16. Repair Russian border checkpoints in Zabaikalsk, Pogranichny, Kraskino and Mondi, Chinese border checkpoints in Manchuria, Suifenhe, Hunchun and Erenhot, as well as Mongolian border checkpoints.
17. Research cooperation opportunities with Chinese companies on renewing Mongolian and Russian electricity distribution network.
Trade, customs, specialized inspection, and quarantine:
18. Carry out the Framework Agreement on Cooperation in Development of Ports of Entry and Framework Agreement on Cooperation in Creating Favorable Conditions to Facilitate Trade Development among China, Russia and Mongolia, established on July 9, 2015.
19. Approve and support the implementation of agreements between Russia’s Federal Customs Service, China’s General Administration of Customs, and Mongolia’s General Taxation and Customs Administration, which calls for mutual recognition of the result of custom control inspections of certain goods.
20. Implement the joint declaration of Mongolia, Russia and China on food security cooperation, made on October 3, 2015, and strengthen cross-border trade control on food products, and improve trade conditions.
21. Provide support for the agreement signed between customs authorities of Mongolia, Russia and China on June 23, 2016 through cooperation on bolstering customs control inspections of products of animal and plant origin, preventing spread of animal and plant diseases and harmful biological outbreaks, as well as ensure trade security controls on products of animal and plant origin.
Environmental protection and ecology:
22. Boost practical cooperation on special protection areas that are beneficial to all sides, and strengthen relevant communication. Mongolia, Russia and China will organize consultative meetings and improve mutually beneficial cooperation within the scope of Mongolia’s Daguur Strictly Protected Area measures.
23. Strengthen tripartite cooperation on protection of wild animals, plants and immigration birds, and on scientific exploration and inspection related to wild plants, animals and bodies of water.
24. Study opportunities for creating an information exchange system between authorities, and collaboration on environmental protection and ecology sectors.
Scientific and technological cooperation:
25. Science and technological parks and innovative companies of Mongolia, Russia and China will boost cooperation in transportation, environmental protection, rational use of natural resources, science and technology for sustainable livelihood, information and communication technology, nano technology, energy, energy conservation and waste reduction, agricultural science, new industrial technologies, and natural and technological disasters.
26. All sides will expand scientific and technological development of information exchange and promote exchange and training of academics.
27. Expand the scope of international student exchange and advance educational exchanges for young people based on resources of educational organizations.
28. Develop cross-border tourism destinations, including Mongolia’s Khuvsgul Lake, Russia’s Baikal Lake, and China’s Hulunbuir Grassland. The three sides will co-establish a tourism circle across Mongolia, Russia and China.
29. Produce “Great Tea Road” brand for Mongolia-Russia-China tourism.
30. Enhance film trade and exchanges among the three nations and develop a joint film industry.
31. Carry out the protocol signed on September 12, 2015 between Mongolia’s Department of Veterinary and Animal Breeding, Russia’s Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Supervision, and China’s Veterinary Bureau of the Ministry of Agriculture.
32. The three sides will co-organize international seminars on medical science and health, and cooperate in the public health sector.