ULAANBAATAR, MONGOLIA – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $27 million loan to support more efficient and less costly trade flows across  three major border crossing points in Mongolia, paving the way for increased trade with neighboring People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Russian Federation.

“International trade is essential for Mongolia’s economy and much progress has been achieved to conclude free trade agreements with trading partners. However, market access alone is not a sufficient condition for harnessing trade for development,” said Cristina Lozano, an ADB Regional Cooperation Specialist. “This assistance will enable shorter processing time at border crossings points and will enhance efficiency and transparency of trade processes and procedures to facilitate cross-border trade.”

The project will finance infrastructure and equipment at the border points of Altanbulag, Bichigt, and Zamiin-Uud, expanding handling capacity and allowing customs officials to work more efficiently. Assistance will also be given to upgrade the existing Customs Automated Information System, which was put in place with ADB assistance in 2010, and conduct preparatory work for the establishment of a single-window system for trade-related regulatory requirements. The project will help reduce the cost and time of compliance with trade procedures, resulting in faster and greater trade volumes and increased competitiveness for Mongolian exports. 

The selected border crossings are situated along economic corridor routes being developed by country members of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program, including Mongolia. ADB supports CAREC’s development of the corridors through a range of activities such as infrastructure investments and trade facilitation initiatives.

The Altanbulag border crossing provides the key link for trade from Mongolia to the Russian Federation, while the road/rail corridor from Ulaanbaatar to Zamiin-Uud carries most of the goods traded with the PRC. Bichigt links Mongolia to the northeast of the PRC, and once planned road upgrades are completed, is expected to see a substantial rise in trade volume.

The project will allow Mongolia to strengthen and modernize customs administration. ADB has been supporting regional customs reforms efforts through separate regional technical assistance projects by simultaneously promoting coordinated and compatible measures to reduce trade impediments.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB in December 2016 will mark 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2015, ADB assistance totaled $27.2 billion, including cofinancing of $10.7 billion.

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