The 95th anniversary of the commerce sector in Mongolia was celebrated at the State Palace on December 16, with several politicians, high-ranking officials, traders, entrepreneurs, and representatives from the commerce sector in attendance.

The anniversary ceremony was organized by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, other governmental agencies, and the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce.The event was attended by 800 representatives from across the country.

The modern commerce sector in Mongolia is thought to have started in December of 1921, with a decree from Bogd Khan to establish the first cooperative in the country. The progress of the commerce sector intensified with the development of trade within the Soviet bloc in 1950, and the expansion of domestic factories in the 1960s and 1970s. At the height of their operations, domestic factories supplied 51.3 percent of the country’s demands for a number of commodities. In its brief history, the commerce sector has expanded relatively quickly, seeing significant growth following the democratic revolution of 1990.

Today, the commerce sector accounts for 17 percent of GDP, 43 percent of all enterprises, and employs around 200,000 people. Due to recent economic hardships, the commerce sector has hit a bump in the road, with a reported 80 percent of traders claiming that their businesses are no longer profitable.

In response, the government has said that they will work to develop policy to support commerce, both domestically and abroad, and have reported on the progress of a bill on commerce.

A symposium for traders was organized on December 15 for the 95th anniversary of the commerce sector. The symposium was held to discuss issues facing traders and ways to improve cooperation between the government and small businesses, while also increasing the civic participation of all enterprises. Deputy Minister of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry J.Saule opened up the symposium with opening remarks, noting, “Even though there are many accomplishments in the commerce and service sector, there are also many pressing issues. We are organizing this conference in order to discuss our cooperation in developing the sector and to find a solution to the problems the sector is facing.”

The Deputy Minister went on to mention how the commerce sector is unique in that it directly affects food safety and the health of citizens. When speaking of areas that the sector as a whole and the government must focus on developing, J.Saule mentioned the need to create a better legal environment, develop necessary infrastructure, improve logistics, prepare a skilled workforce, and encourage innovation.

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