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Reaffirming Strategic Partnership Between United States and Mongolia

Floor Speech

By: Ted Yoho
By: Ted Yoho
Date: Dec. 7, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. Speaker, the United States and Mongolia have a robust relationship, distinguished by our shared democratic ideals and strengthened by close economic and diplomatic cooperation.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of democracy in Mongolia. Mongolia was the first nation in Asia to transition from communism to democracy, marking an important juncture in the continent's history.

Years later, Mongolia remains an important democratic partner in the Indo-Pacific but finds itself in a challenging location, sandwiched entirely between Russia and China. What happens in Mongolia has direct implications for the United States. If malign actors compromise Mongolia's territorial integrity or ability to pursue independent foreign policy, the security of the United States is also at risk.

I have consistently warned about the Chinese Communist Party's malign activity around the world as the former chairman and current ranking member of the House Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation Subcommittee. I was also encouraged to see the recommendations released this year by the China Task Force.

After months of classified and unclassified briefings, the China Task Force released a report with 82 key findings and more than 400 forward- looking recommendations. Many of these focus on the CCP's predatory Belt and Road Initiative, which is infamous for its debt trap diplomacy.

Mongolia is a formal participant in this initiative, and China currently supplies the largest portion of their foreign investment. This is why it is essential that the U.S. continue to develop our strategic partnership with Mongolia. We must be their most meaningful third neighbor, and that term describes the Mongolian relationship with countries other than China and Russia.

One of the ways we can do this is by strengthening Mongolia from within by supporting small and medium enterprises and industries like the cashmere production.

This past year, I reintroduced the Mongolia Third Neighbor Trade Act, which would allow duty-free entry of Mongolian cashmere into the United States. This one bill would create over 50,000 jobs, it is estimated, in Mongolia, primarily women jobs, at a cost less than $1 million over a 10-year period to the American taxpayers.

The cashmere wool industry is particularly important to Mongolia's economy; but while Mongolia produces over one-third of the world's cashmere, almost all finished products are processed and exported from China. Duty-free entry for the United States' imports of Mongolian cashmere would benefit the United States by facilitating increased trade with Mongolia and reducing U.S. imports of Chinese cashmere products. The measure would likewise benefit Mongolia by reducing Mongolia's economic dependence on China and promoting the development of Mongolia's garment industry, an industry in which 90 percent of workers are women.

We must also offer a better alternative through initiatives like the Third Neighbor Trade Act and this resolution. That is exactly what this bill does by reaffirming our relationship with our like-minded partner, Mongolia. We will never allow adversaries to undermine peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

Mr. Speaker, in closing, for over three decades, the relationship between the United States and Mongolia has continued to grow and strengthen. Mongolia is a strong democratic partner in the Indo- Pacific, and the United States has become an important third neighbor.

I would like to congratulate the Mongolian people on their 30th anniversary of democracy and look forward to continuing to build our partnership.

Mongolia's success as a democracy and continued sovereignty is extremely relevant to the security of the United States, the Indo- Pacific region, and the world. For this reason, Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support this resolution, and I yield back the balance of my time.