In August 2023, Mongolia's Prime Minister embarked on a highly successful visit to the United States, brimming with the promise of reaping substantial, diverse economic rewards across multiple state sectors.
The recent visit of Mongolian Prime Minister L. Oyun-Erdene to the United States from August 2-6th, 2023, bolstered bilateral relations and opened new economic, tourism, and technology opportunities with specific US states. Five new US-Mongolia agreements were enacted, including a technology partnership with Google, a transparency agreement for commercial relations, an open skies agreement for tourism, an economic cooperation roadmap, and a bilateral assistance agreement for clean energy and economic diversity.
Technology Businesses in California
Prime Minister Oyun-Erdene's partnership with Google stipulates that Mongolia will provide 20,000 Chromebooks and 10,000 Level 1 and Level 2 educator certifications for Mongolian students to foster future digital leaders. These leaders will be crucial for California in the next few years, considering Silicon Valley and San Francisco’s mismatch in tech-intensive jobs.
According to McKinsey & Company, more than 44% of tech companies expect to experience skill gaps within a few years, while demands for tech-savvy jobs rose around 139.5%. If Google and Mongolia cooperate in fostering future digital human capital, they can fill the mismatch and stimulate IT innovation in California.
This initiative will lessen the skill gap in California and open doors for reciprocal knowledge exchange between both regions. An additional Transparency Agreement – designed to foster healthier bilateral commercial relations – was also ratified in support of inter-state business, opening opportunities for tech businesses to cooperate between the United States and Mongolia.
Tourism in Florida and Hawaiʻi
The signing of the Open Skies Agreement between Mongolia and the United States heralds a new era for tourism. States like Florida and Hawaiʻi, renowned for their popular tourism industries, can expect a surge in international visitors in the “post-pandemic era.” During the COVID-19 pandemic, states experienced a significant decline in tourists, especially in Hawaiʻi and Florida, where the number of tourists in October 2020 declined more than 90% from the year prior.
Fortunately, new direct flights from Mongolia will streamline travel, restoring state revenue and creating hospitality jobs because of this enhanced accessibility.
EV Battery Ecosystem in Michigan
The Economic Cooperation Roadmap and the newfound Bilateral Assistance Agreement further substantial cooperation within the critical mineral sectors (copper), clean energy, and economic diversity. A recent trilateral dialogue and enacted US-Mongolia MoU each discuss a strengthened cooperation to secure critical minerals supply chains, via both government and private sector efforts. This alliance is poised to have a transformative impact on Michigan’s electric vehicle (EV) battery ecosystem and Mongolia’s mining industry’s export of copper and cobalt in return since it accounts for 21.6% of the country’s GDP and 26% of the national revenue.
The roadmap can grow supply chain resiliency for critical minerals like copper, nickel, and cobalt, which are crucial to EV battery production by fostering partnerships and resource sharing. This not only enhances Michigan’s position as a critical player in the EV industry but also reinforces its commitment to sustainability, aligning with the Biden Administration’s clean energy goals.
At the same time, Mongolia’s participation in President Biden’s Global Methane Pledge, in conjunction with the European Union, stands to reduce global methane emissions through improved clean energy sources – including EV battery production. As a result, Michigan and Mongolia stand to solidify their status as vanguards of an EV battery ecosystem, contributing to their economic growth and advancement of sustainability.
Mongolia has pursued a “third neighbor foreign policy” with the United States – growing Mongolia’s foreign relations outside the influence of its two important neighbors: China and Russia. Mongolia’s commitment to building international partnerships continues to uphold Ulaanbaatar’s values looking forward and build networks of resilience outside Mongolia’s immediate neighbors. Further economic and trade developments at the state and local levels resulting from the agreements also hope to achieve lasting benefits for both countries.
We would like to extend our gratitude to AmCham Mongolia for their generous provision of data and insights that have enriched our research and analysis. The information graciously provided by AmCham Mongolia has been instrumental in shaping the essence of this article.
SeungHwan (Shane) Kim is a participant in the Young Professionals Program at the East-West Center in Washington, DC. He is a graduate student at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University, where he is focusing on security and statecraft in the Indo-Pacific region.
Declan Mazur is a participant in the Young Professionals Program at the East-West Center in Washington, DC. He holds a bachelors in Global China Studies from New York University Shanghai with a concentration in Political Science.