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Dr Nigel Finch joins effort to strengthen Australia - Mongolia ties

20 Mar 2014

The University of Sydney Business School's Dr Nigel Finch has been made a Director of the newly formed Australia Mongolia Business Council.

Dr Finch, who is the Associate Dean (Undergraduate) and Director of Admissions at the Business School, has worked as a consultant to the Mongolian Government and the nation's mining sector.

He has also been engaged by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) as a technical advisor on Australian funded development projects in Mongolia, a country currently in the throes of massive economic change.

Resource-rich and strategically located between China and Russia, Mongolia is the world's most sparsely populated country, with 2.8 million people spread over an area almost as big as Queensland.

For most of the 20th Century, Mongolia was a satellite state of the former Soviet Union with a largely agrarian and centrally-planned economy. However, with the collapse of Communism and a series of structural reforms in the 1990s, the country is now an emerging democracy with one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

"Mongolia is at a crossroads in its economic development, with major projects in the mining and agricultural sectors now underway, and the Mongolians are keen to acquire Australian technology and knowhow in these crucial areas," said Dr Finch.

He went on to say that Mongolia is also keen to further strengthen its educational links with Australia. The Federal Government currently funds 40 places for Mongolian students at Australian universities.

"There is already a strong relationship between the two countries, and the Australia Mongolia Business Council will strengthen that relationship further," Dr Finch added.

The new business council will promote business opportunities in Mongolia; encourage mutually beneficial cooperation between Australian and Mongolian companies; and work to reduce barriers to trade and investment.

It will also represent the interests of the more than 200 Australian companies already operating in Mongolia.

The Council will be chaired by Mark Green, Mintor Ellison Lawyer's International Managing Partner.

"Australia has had a positive trade relationship with Mongolia for over 40 years, and in recent times, the level of trade and investment into Mongolia from Australia has risen significantly," said Mr Green.

Mongolia's Ambassador of Mongolia, Ravdan Bold, has welcomed the establishment of the Council saying that his embassy was "very supportive of the initiative and looks forward to working with the Council in its future endeavours."