Mongolia is attempting to attract fresh foreign investors to balance China and Russia, its dominant traditional partners and neighbors, as it embarks on a series of privatizations and initial public offerings of its extensive mineral assets, according to a report in The Financial Times. By a program of privatizations during 2010, Mongolia“s government intends to balance applications of Chinese and Russian companies against those from the US, India, South Korea and elsewhere. That is the commercial corollary of its “third neighbor” foreign policy – which aims to recognize the importance of its neighbors while inviting third-party interests to prevent Chinese or Russian dominance.
“We welcome investment both from our neighbors and our third neighbors,” said D. Zorigt, Mongolia“s Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy. “There is the issue of commercial interests, and ensuring that any deals we make are in line with our foreign policy. We will not base our decisions purely on political considerations – but they will also not be based purely on business considerations. We will be balanced.” Mr Zorigt declined to say whether the government”s 34 per cent stake in the Oyu Tolgoi project would guide other agreement.
On November 23, Prime Minister S. Batbold said the Government would prepare state enterprises with strategic assets for international IPOs. “Next year we hope to see the first IPOs,” Mr Zorigt said. That would be the focus of his ministry during the next year.