Japan to extend $850m loan to Mongolia

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe answers questions during a budget committee session of the House of Councilors at the Parliament in Tokyo, in this March 24, 2017 photo. (AFP)
Updated 29 March 2017

Japan to extend $850m loan to Mongolia

ULAANBAATAR: Japan has committed $850 million in loans to Mongolia to help rescue the country’s struggling economy, Mongolia’s Finance Ministry said on Wednesday.
Mongolia, landlocked between China and Russia, agreed to a $5.5 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as well as other institutions and countries in February.
The cash-strapped Asian country saw its economy grow just 1 percent last year, its lowest in seven years, and it has struggled to maintain the value of its currency and manage its debts following a collapse in foreign investment and a decline in commodity prices.
The $850-million loan from Japan was agreed during a visit to Tokyo this week by the chairman of Mongolia’s Parliament, Miyeegombo Enkhbold, said an official at the Finance Ministry. Negotiations have not yet been completed, the official added.
“This amount is almost equal to all soft loans provided by Japan to Mongolia since its transition to a democracy and market economy,” said Dale Choi, an analyst at Mongolian Metals & Mining.
The loan comes in addition to the three-year International Monetary Fund (IMF) Extended Credit Facility worth $440 million, as well as an extension to a 15 billion yuan ($2.18 billion) swap line Mongolia’s central bank has agreed with the People’s Bank of China (PBoC).
Japan and South Korea, will provide up to $3 billion in aid, the IMF said in its February announcement.
Lawmakers, however, must still act to ensure the bailout goes through when Mongolia’s Parliament reconvenes on April 5 after a recess.
As part of the IMF deal, Parliament is expected to vote on legislation that will generate revenue and reduce spending, with hikes in taxes and cuts in social welfare expected.
Mongolia’s pivot to Japan and South Korea for expanded trade and development is the result of its “Third Neighbor” policy strategy aimed at easing its dependence on Russia and China. Mongolia has been one of the countries most affected by China’s economic slowdown.
Last year, Japan and Mongolia enacted a free-trade agreement that grants zero tax on certain imports and exports, including Mongolian coal and cashmere.


White House says Trump regrets not raising tariffs higher

US President Donald Trump arrives at the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, on Sunday. Trump had been trying to use the conference to rally global leaders to do more to stimulate their economies, as fears rise of a potential slowdown in the US ahead of his reelection. (AP)
Updated 26 August 2019

White House says Trump regrets not raising tariffs higher

  • President’s comments appear at first to mark a rare moment of self-reflection by the US leader

TOKYO: President Donald Trump said Sunday that he had second thoughts about escalating the trade war with China, but the White House later reversed that message saying the president was misinterpreted and that his only regret in hiking tariffs is that he didn’t raise them higher. Trump faced a tense reception from world leaders meeting amid mounting anxiety of a global economic slowdown at the Group of Seven summit in France. During a breakfast meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Trump suggested he had qualms about the spiraling conflict. “Yeah. For sure,” Trump told reporters when asked if he has second thoughts about escalating the dispute, adding he has “second thoughts about everything.”
But hours later, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham issued a statement saying Trump’s comments about US tariffs on China were “greatly misinterpreted.”
She said Trump only responded “in the affirmative — because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher.” The comments appeared at first to mark a rare moment of self-reflection by the famously hard-nosed leader. But the later reversal fit a pattern for Trump in recoiling from statements he believes suggest weakness.

HIGHLIGHTS

• President Donald Trump faced a tense reception from world leaders meeting amid mounting anxiety of a global economic slowdown at the Group of Seven summit in France.

• White House said comments about US tariffs on China were ‘greatly misinterpreted.’

Trump had been trying to use the conference to rally global leaders to do more to stimulate their economies, as fears rise of a potential slowdown in the US ahead of his reelection. Trump’s counterparts, including Johnson, are trying to convince him to back off his trade wars with China and other countries, which they see as contributing to the economic weakening.

US-Japan agreement
Trump and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced on Sunday a deal in principle on a major bilateral trade deal.
“It’s a very big transaction,” Trump said after talks with Abe on the sidelines of the G7 summit.
“Billions and billions of dollars,” he said. “It involves agriculture, it involves e-commerce. It involves many things. We’ve agreed in principle.”

Amazon fires
Also on Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron said that world leaders at the G7 summit have agreed to help the countries affected by the huge wildfires ravaging the Amazon rainforest as soon as possible.
“We are all agreed on helping those countries which have been hit by the fires as fast as possible,” he told journalists.