Trade for Human Development in Mongolia

International trade has enormous importance for the small, open economy of Mongolia. Trade turnover accounts for 124 percent of GDP, with exports accounting for 57 percent and imports 67 percent. Despite the accession of the country to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1996 and buoyant economic growth in the years to 2008,income poverty remains widespread, with one in three of Mongolians living in poverty. The absence of access to the sea makes it very difficult for Mongolia to participate gainfully in international trade. This is the case for many Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs), more than half of whom are also Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

In 2006, the Ministry of Industry and Trade and UNDP started a project to make trade work better for poverty reduction.The project involved strengthening trade policy making to make it consistent with human development objectives, developing the analytical and negotiating capacity of the government and advocating for the needs of Landlocked Developing Countries.

Through outreach and training, the project raised awareness among government officials in the Ministries of Industry and Trade, Finance, Foreign Affairs and the Customs Office on various aspects of multilateral trade agreements, standards and principles. This equipped them with greater awareness and ability to analyze trade issues from the development perspective.

Through this project, the Government of Mongolia and UNDP, in collaboration with United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and United Nationsl High Representative for the LDCs, LDDCs and SIDS (UNOHRLLS), organized a global meeting and online discussion of LLDCs on trade and transit transportation, during which the Ulaanbaatar Declaration was adopted. This took stock of progress since the 2003 Almaty Programme of Action on trade and LLDCs and called on future actions to reduce the barriers of landlockedness - such as promoting inter-railway cooperation, facilitating road transit and making full use of available technology to enhance trade and transport.