US, Mongolia Launch Trade Transparency Agreement
The United States and Mongolia on Thursday put into effect a first-of-its-kind trade transparency agreement, the last official act of the Obama administration’s Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
In a ceremony in Washington, D.C., U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and Mongolia’s ambassador, Bulgaa Altangerel, signed letters putting into effect the Agreement on Transparency in Matters Related to International Trade and Investment, a unique stand-alone joint agreement to provide opportunities for public comment on proposed laws and regulations and to publish final laws and regulations.
“The U.S.-Mongolia transparency agreement will help to improve and deepen the U.S.-Mongolia trade relationship to the benefit of both of our economies and our workers and businesses,” Froman said in a statement. “Transparency is critical to the proper and efficient functioning of international trade and investment, and the implementation of this agreement will help provide producers, suppliers, exporters and investors with the needed predictability that comes with a clear understanding of the policies and practices that are going to be applied.”
The agreement, which the parties first signed in September 2013, requires both nations to publish advance notice of any laws or regulations effecting international trade and investments.
“This publication commitment includes the obligation to publish final laws and regulations in English, which should make it easier for U.S. and other foreign enterprises to do business in, and invest in, Mongolia,” the USTR said in the statement. The agreement also requires both parties to accept comments on the proposed rules in English.
The agreement also commits both parties to maintaining judicial and administrative tribunals that are “impartial and independent” and requires that parties brought before the tribunals be notified and offered the opportunity to present a defense. The deal also commits both nations to take action against bribery and other corruption.
The agreement will go into effect in 60 days.
The countries had previously signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement in July 2004, establishing a United States-Mongolia Council on Trade and Investment tasked with reducing trade barriers between the pair.
The USTR said the new agreement is the first time that the U.S. has concluded a stand-alone trade and investment transparency agreement, saying that previously the U.S. had only negotiated transparency commitments as part of broader agreements.
“Negotiating a stand-alone agreement with Mongolia offered an opportunity to build concretely on cooperation between the United States and Mongolia under their TIFA,” the USTR said.
By Rick Archer
Editing by Emily Kokoll.