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    Helping Mongolia Adopt Market Economics


    International Trade Forum - Issue 2/2007, © International Trade Centre 

    © Photo Bianco 

    Interview - Sambuu Demberel 

    Meet a long-standing partner at the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

    In the last issue, we began a new series featuring individual Trade Forum readers. The aim is to share ideas on how readers are using the magazine to get to grips with trade development trends and issues.

    This time, Sambuu Demberel, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI), shares his views. Since the 1990s Mongolia has become a market economy and joined the WTO. ITC's publications and programmes have helped Mr Demberel learn about trade and develop educational programmes for Mongolian business, government and academia.

    Q: How long have you been reading our magazine? 

    A: Since 1990, when Mongolia started its system transformation, moving from a socialist economy to a market-oriented one. At that time, we did not know anything about market economy principles, international trade, trade development issues, etc. We just knew a little about market economies, but only textbook knowledge. Then I found a copy of the Trade Forum magazine in a friend's office. The content was quite new for me and very useful.

    Q: How did you decide to use it? 

    A: I decided to do three things: first, to write to ITC asking them to send the Market Research Institute, where I had just been appointed director, all ITC publications. Second, to translate most magazine articles and use them in our promotional materials. Third, to use translated ITC material to create our training and research package. Seventeen years later our cooperation with ITC is very good. Over half of our business education series of 70 publications are based on ITC materials. We keep updating and enriching them, and have succeeded in developing the best foreign trade training curricula in the country. I read each new issue, and instruct my staff to use them in newspapers or training. Articles on business advocacy about trade policy have been especially useful. I don't often read the online version, though.

    Recently, we hosted a conference sponsored by ITC on national export strategy and we showed ITC's Deputy Executive Director and his team what we have done with ITC materials and publications. At MNCCI, we are very proactive readers of Trade Forum: we pass on what we learn to our readers via our different promotional tools.

    Q: What would readers in Mongolia like to see in Trade Forum? 

    A: We would like to see more on export financing tools, new information technologies suitable for SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises], export success stories, business and investment opportunities. Information about trade and project financing opportunities for small firms in developing countries, coming from public, private, bilateral and multilateral sources, would also be interesting. As it is very important to have a broader access to financing sources, it would be useful to have relevant web sites on this subject in every issue of the magazine. Finally, I would see the Trade Forum magazine running a "Best Exporters Ranking", just like the American Fortune 500 magazine!

    Q: You are a champion for business advocacy. Can you share your views with us? 

    A: It is an important and timely issue. The mindset of governance is changing nationally and internationally. International institutions and national governments are starting to listen, talk and even cooperate with the private sector, which is the engine for economic growth. In fact, whether the Doha round succeeds or fails will depend mostly on how committed business and government stakeholders are in public-private sector dialogue and partnership mechanisms in every WTO country. That is even more important than economic diplomacy and the negotiations themselves. ITC has been very active in encouraging this effort, which we appreciate. But much remains to be done.

    We call what we do the "sugar and salt" approach. Examples include: our Red Tape Perception Index, Excellence in Good Governance Award (for government), Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility Award (for business), and Green Excellence Award (for media, research and other civil society institutions).

    We've also just signed an agreement with the Green group, established by Parliament this July, to encourage business practices in the 3 C approach: clean environment, clean food, clean production.