WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Representatives Dina Titus (D-Nev.) and Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), introduced legislation today to increase direct trade between the United States and Mongolia by providing Mongolian cashmere products with duty-free access to the American market.
The Mongolia Third Neighbor Trade Act would grant Mongolia this preferential trading relationship in order to strengthen the economy of a critical U.S. partner in central Asia and strengthen the young democracy against the threats and economic coercion of its only two geographic neighbors, the People’s Republic of China and Russia. The legislation contains the same safeguards as other U.S. preferential trade arrangements to ensure, among other things, that its benefits are not diverted to the People’s Republic of China.
“For over three decades, the U.S. and Mongolia have shared a strong commitment to democratic governance, free trade, and stability across the Indo-Pacific region as Third Neighbor partners,” said Sen. Cardin. “Mongolia remains a beacon of democracy in an otherwise authoritarian corner of the world. Our bipartisan bill will facilitate job and economic growth for both countries while also bringing stability and economic empowerment to the women of Mongolia, the backbone of Mongolia’s cashmere industry.”
“Mongolia is an island of democracy in a sea of despotism,” said Sen. Sullivan. “As Mongolia’s ‘third neighbor,’ America has an opportunity to bolster a vital element of our partner’s economy, deepen the ties between our two nations, and shield Mongolia against the designs of America’s number one geopolitical adversary, the Chinese Communist Party regime. I hope my colleagues, many of whom speak strongly about the China threat, will support our legislation and back up those strong words with action that demonstrates America’s unflinching commitment to our allies and our resolve to confront this new era of authoritarian aggression.”
“Throughout Mongolia’s historic democratic transition, the United States has proudly stood by our ally,” said Rep. Titus, Co-Chair of the Congressional Mongolia Caucus. “Establishing duty free trade from Mongolia to the United States will create a stronger Mongolian economy and benefit American consumers by specifically targeting the Mongolian cashmere industry which produces around 40% of the world’s supply. This bill is yet another way to compete economically with China and boost the strategic Third Neighbor partnership between Mongolia and the United States.”
“A stronger bilateral trade relationship between Mongolia and the United States will help bolster a democratic-ally in the Indo-Pacific region,” said Congressman Buchanan. “Bordered by China and Russia, Mongolia stands alone as a stable democracy surrounded by authoritarian regimes. Sharing similar democratic values and national security priorities, it is critical to further strengthen our economic and trade ties with countries like Mongolia. Enacting the Mongolia Third Neighbor Trade Act would solidify our national security goals in the region as well as support the economic and job growth for both countries.”
Mongolia’s agricultural sector employs roughly one-quarter of Mongolian citizens and accounts for roughly 40 percent of the world’s raw cashmere. The legislation intends to support the growth of Mongolia’s domestic textile industry so that the Mongolian people can benefit from the value-added processing of cashmere, which has historically been done in the People’s Republic of China.
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