Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to Brazil Ch.Sosormaa was interviewed about the host city of the 2016 Summer Olympics, Rio de Janeiro, as well as her accomplishments as the Ambassador to Brazil.
The Mongolian Embassy first opened in Brazil in 2014 and you were appointed as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to Brazil. You’ve been in this position for two years now. What have you accomplished during this time?
As it is the first-ever Mongolian Embassy in Brazil, my target was to build a firm foundation for the two countries’ cooperation in every field, especially in mining, agriculture, education and sports.
South American countries developed rapidly in the past 20 years. Not only can Mongolia initiate various trade with these countries with economies more focused on mining and agricultural products, but it’s also possible to introduce their technology and successful practices.
A Brazilian-Mongolian Chamber of Commerce was established just recently here in Brazil. Next month, the first Mongolian and Brazilian Entrepreneurs’ Meeting is going to be held in Mongolia. We’re seeking to open opportunities for boosting trade between the two counties and introduce all types of technology to Mongolia.
For instance, Brazilian beef is globally well- known for their taste and quality, and several Mongolian businessmen have expressed their interest in investing in this field. Mongolia’s neighboring countries, China and Russia, imports beef, chicken and pork in large quantity from Brazil. Brazil would get closer to its target market and Mongolia’s processing of meat and poultry products would improve if a joint meat factory is built in Mongolia. Not to mention, Mongolia will be able to bring and cultivate Brazilian meat industry standards and practices.
Furthermore, businesses are interested in introducing technologies for producing bio-fertilizers, using waste to create cleaner burning biofuels, and producing ethanol from potato peel waste for fuel production.
What was you first impression of Brazil? How has it changed now?
To me, Brazil is like a country with no limits. This country has an incredible amount of natural minerals and inexhaustible resources. The Amazon River is the largest river by discharge of water in the world and the Amazon rainforest produces about 20 percent of all the oxygen in the world. The Amazon is truly a sacred place.
How many sovereign states in South America does your embassy cover? What kind of relations do you wish to form with them?
As the sole diplomatic mission of Mongolia operating in Brazil, as well as in South America, our operation extends to 12 sovereign states in South America. Some people refer to our office as an embassy of Mongolia in charge of continental affairs in South America.
Mongolian and Brazilian people became able to travel between the two countries without a visa for 90 days last year. We’re currently negotiating visa-free entry to Argentina, Chile and Uruguay for Mongolian nationals. We’re putting effort in enhancing free travels and tourism opportunities for Mongolian and Brazilian people because the people-to-people relationship of our nations is the reflection of the Mongolian-Brazilian relations.
…businesses are interested in introducing technologies for producing bio-fertilizers, using waste to create cleaner burning biofuels, and producing ethanol from potato peel waste for fuel production…
What kind of cooperation and joint projects does the Mongolian Embassy in Brazil wish to start with the 12 sovereign states in South America?
I realized that there are many things we can learn from the development of South American countries. These countries managed to find solutions for some challenges Mongolia is facing now about 10 years ago. These practices are still new. For example, Chile’s overall trade profile has traditionally been dependent on copper exports. Thanks to diversifying their economy, Chile was able to reduce its 80 to 90 percent of export dependency on copper to 50 percent. Twenty years ago, Uruguay used to import energy from Argentina. Basically it was dependent on Argentina. Now, 90 percent of their energy and electricity is renewable energy. The government of Uruguay made this accomplishment by agreeing on a long-term plan that drew cross-party support. They promised foreign investors that it would purchase energy for twenty years and ensure stable operations.
Organizations that execute agricultural research in Uruguay are financed by the state and professional unions and are led by independent executive boards. The nation improves the quality and yield of products through successful research works. Moreover, this attracts more investment for businesses. In other words, developing research organizations through a public-private partnership is a method to consider for better results. Brazil is paying a great deal of attention to the organization of the Summer Olympics.
According to some news, Brazil is facing internal struggles due to economic difficulty. How is the actual situation there?
Everyone is aware that the economy of Brazil has been stagnant for the last two to three years and that their economic growth hit the minus zone. It’s most likely connected to the slow global economic growth and price drop of natural resources, particularly the price of iron ore. Monetary exchange rates fell, giving rise to difficulties in the lives of ordinary people. Even so, the Brazilian people are united together and are working extremely hard to marvelously meet global expectations and fulfill their responsibility as the host of this year’s Olympics.
…Mongolian and Brazilian people became able to travel between the two countries without a visa for 90 days last year. We’re currently negotiating visa-free entry to Argentina, Chile and Uruguay for Mongolian nationals…
The Olympics opened last Friday. As someone living in Brazil, would you say that Rio de Janeiro was ready for the Olympics?
In May 2016, President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff, who was reelected in 2011, was suspended for allegedly tampering with the financial figures of the government by means of loans. Deputy President Michel Temer became the acting president and announced to put all his effort into recovering the economy. We highly value the fact that the Brazilian government is working so hard to successfully host the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics and spending so much money on it.
What is the advantage of having an embassy in Brazil for Mongolians living there and for Mongolian athletes participating in the Olympic Games?
This year, 43 Mongolian athletes earned quotas to participate in the Olympic Games. This is something to be very proud of. Such an improvement in the skills of our athletes is a clear indication and result of the sports sector, its management and coaches. It’s a notable achievement that the Mongolian national team is joining the Olympic Games with a professional service team, which includes their private doctor, masseuse, chef, and research staff.
Minister of Education, Culture, Science and Sports J.Batsuuri came to Rio de Janeiro and reviewed the training and preparation of Mongolian athletes.
I hope that Mongolian athletes are able to gain international recognition and resound the stadium with the national anthem of Mongolia under the clear sky of Brazil.
Can you tell us about the accommodation, training base, services and equipment supply for Mongolian athletes in Rio de Janeiro?
The embassy begun preparing for the Olympics a year ago. We kept in close contact with associated ministries and agencies, and supported the national team by searching for training bases, intermediating the Mongolian Judo Federation with organizers of international judo competitions, and finding a suitable hotel for athletes to stay at. There’s a 12- hour difference between Mongolia and Brazil and the climate and geographical location of Brazil is different from Mongolia’s. The environment needs to be good, all equipment need to be provided, and the location needs to be a little isolated so that our athletes can quickly adapt to the new environment and climate. We’re very pleased that our athletes are satisfied with the training base.
The staff at the training base complimented the Mongolian national team. When I visited the base, Mongolian and Brazilian athletes were talking about how similar they are.
Brazil could be considered as the epicenter of Zika virus feared by the whole world. What measures are being taken to prevent athletes from getting infected with the virus?
The Brazilian government made an official announcement on July 14 that Zika virus outbreak has been put under control. The embassy is constantly publishing and handing out leaflets with everything to know about Zika virus, including its symptoms, ways to prevent infection and how to treat it if infected, to Mongolians living and temporarily staying in Brazil. This type of information is available at our website and Facebook page.
We recommend everyone here to wear long sleeves and long trousers and use mosquito repellents despite the fact that the number of mosquitos have declined considerably as the cool season approaches. At the moment, we haven’t received any report on a Mongolian getting infected by the virus. Still, we can’t let our guard down. It’s important to stay alert.