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Trump to meet Mongolian Prez as US looks for ways to diversify bilateral trade

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Press Trust of India Washington
The US and Mongolia are beginning discussions on the possibility of economic diversification of the land locked east Asian country, given that 90 per cent of their trade has to go through China, the White House said Tuesday ahead of President Donald Trump's meeting with his Mongolian counterpart Battulga Khaltmaa.
Battulga will meet Trump at the White House on Wednesday during which the two leaders are expected to discuss a wide range of bilateral and regional issues. Trade is expected to be one of the important topics of discussion.
"The current situation for them economically is that about 90 percent of their trade has to go through China. We want to start talking about and exploring ways that we can help diversify their trade flows," a senior administration official told reporters during a conference call.
Battulga is the first Mongolian head of state to visit the US in eight years. The then Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj visited the US in June 2011. The diplomatic relationship between the two countries is fairly new as it was only in 1987 that Mongolia and the US established bilateral ties.
"This is a meeting we've been looking forward to for a very long time. You know, Mongolia is a country that borders two authoritarian states, and, despite that, has managed to establish a free and open democratic society after it renounced communism back in 1990," said the official.
Mongolia, which shares borders with China in the south and Russia in the north, is one of the few countries with which the US has a trade surplus. US sells them automobiles and heavy machinery and imports include minerals like tungsten, as well as cashmere.
They have got incredible cashmere that they produce there, the official said.
Currently there is a bill pending in the US House of Representatives that would enable duty-free treatment for Mongolian cashmere products, like sweaters and shawls, to be imported.
"It (the visit) builds on some of the other engagements that this administration has had, including the visit by the Mongolian Prime Minister last year who came to the White House to visit Vice President Pence. He also had a handshake and a brief encounter with President Trump up at the UN General Assembly last September," the official said.
US National Security Advisor John Bolton visited Mongolia a few weeks ago.

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First Published: Jul 31 2019 | 5:51 AM IST

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