Mongolia - Polish relations reach new heights
Polish president Andrzej Duda's state visit to Mongolia takes the two countries relations to a new height
If we look at the history of Mongolian-Polish relations, it dates back to ancient times. Historical records show that the Huns, ancestors of the Mongols were campaigning in Poland in the 4th and 5th centuries. In 1235, Ögodei Khan convened a general meeting in the capital Kharkhorum and decided to send a large military campaign to the west under the leadership of Bat Khan. The Mongolian army started a large-scale campaign in Russia and then in Europe. On April 9, 1241, the branches of the Bat Khan's army defeated the combined forces of Polish and European knights on the field of Legnica in Poland resulting in the death of the Polish Duke Henry II the Pious. Later, a Christian church was built in Legnica in honor of his memory. However, since 1961, this church has been turned into the Battle of Legnica Museum, which is now a tourist attraction.
Furthermore, there is evidence that about 50 years before Marco Polo, a Polish priest Benedikt Polak and the Pope's envoy Giovanni da Pian del Carpini went to Kharkhorum in 1246 to pay a visit to the Great King Gueg. Also, from the end of the 14th century to the beginning of the 16th century, "Tatars" or people of Mongolian origin from the Golden Horde State and the Crimean Khanate came and settled in Lithuania and Poland. Now there are about 3,000 people of Tatar origin in Poland, most of whom live in the eastern part of the country. In addition, famous Polish scientists and writers such as Y. Kowalewski, W. Kotwicz, A. F. Ossendowski, created many works of literature and research about Mongolia, which have been preserved in the archives and libraries of the University of Warsaw and Krakow. At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, a large number of Ayush deities were cast in Poland by order of the Mongolian Buddhist temples and are now kept in the Mongolian Museum and Gandantekchenlin Monastery.
The history of modern Mongolian-Polish relations begins with the establishment of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and Poland on April 14, 1950. Our country opened its embassy in Warsaw in 1959, and the Polish side in 1960 in Ulaanbaatar. Since then, our two countries have been cooperating in the fields of politics, society, economics, trade, education, culture, science, and defense. During the period of socialism, the relations between the two countries developed intensively, and in 1966-1985, with the help of Poland, a total of 9 factories were established in Ulaanbaatar, Darkhan, Choibalsan, and Kharkhorin. At that time, a large independent expedition of Polish geologists worked in the western provinces of Mongolia, and a joint Polish-Mongolian paleontological team found almost 100 fossils in Mongolia, which was a major discovery. Also, between the 1970s and the 1990s, bilateral defense relations developed intensively within the framework of relations between the Warsaw Pact countries and Mongolia.
There are many similar events in the history of Mongolia and Poland. For example, both Poland and Mongolia were once major powers and then split into small countries. Mongolia was under Manchurian oppression, while Poland had a similar history - it was divided under the German, Russian, and Austro-Hungarian empires. In the 20th century, our two countries walked on the same path called "socialism". About 30 years ago, Poland was the first to make social changes in Europe, and Mongolia was the first to successfully start the democratic movement in Asia. Poland supported the democratic reform in Mongolia from the beginning and provided nonmaterial and material support. We know that the Mongolian democratic movement received support and example from Polish solidarity. The posters, which are a clear example of this, are stored today in the "Center of European Solidarity" in Gdansk, Poland.
Since 1990, when the two countries transitioned to a democratic system, Mongolia and Poland have continued to work towards restoring relations and cooperation in all fields in line with new principles. Former President N. Bagabandi visited Poland in 1999, which was the first state visit from our side, while President L. Kaczynski visited our country in 2008. Later, President Ts. Elbegdorj visited Poland in 2013 and mutually President B. Komorowski also visited Mongolia in 2013, and former Polish President L. Walesa visited Mongolia in 2013 as well.
President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Sebastian Duda and his spouse Agata Kornhauser-Duda paid a State visit to Mongolia at the invitation of President of Mongolia Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh and his spouse Luvsandorjiin Bolortsetseg on the 24-26th of April 2023. It was special in that it was taking place 10 years after the state visit of Polish President Bronisław Komorowski in 2013.
President of Mongolia Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh and his spouse L.Bolortsetseg welcomed President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda and his spouse Agata Kornhauser-Duda at the Sukhbaatar Square in Ulaanbaatar. Following the welcoming ceremony the Presidents and the First Ladies paid their respect to the Statue of Chinggis Khaan. Then President Andrzej Duda signed the Book of Honored Guests at the State House, which was followed by a tête-à-tête meeting of the two Presidents. At the meeting, the two sides exchanged views on bringing the relations and cooperation between Mongolia and Poland to a new level, significantly increasing the economy and investment, joint implementation of major development projects and programs, and some common issues of international relations.
Chairman of the State Great Khural of Mongolia G. Zandanshatar paid a courtesy call to the President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda yesterday and expressed gratitude for paying a State visit at a time of facing major social and economic challenges derived from the complicated geopolitical situation, attaching high significance to the relations and cooperation between the two countries. He emphasizes that the Republic of Poland is one of the third neighbors and close partners of Mongolia.
Speaker of the Parliament G. Zandanshatar notes that the relations and cooperation between the legislative bodies of the two countries are continuously and actively developing, and the State Great Khural of Mongolia will work together with the Upper and Lower Houses of the Parliament of the Republic of Poland in bringing cooperation in many sectors as education, science and technology up to a new level. President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda stresses that Polish-Mongolian relations are developing based on common values of democracy, human rights, and freedom, and are expanding and strengthening in the fields of politics, economy, trade, infrastructure, culture, and education. He expresses his hope that this State visit will contribute to invigorating Polish-Mongolian relations.
Prime Minister of Mongolia L.Oyun-Erdene paid a courtesy call to the President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda and hosted lunch. During the meeting, the parties exchanged views on relations and cooperation between the two countries and agreed to intensify economic cooperation. The parties emphasized that the total trade turnover of the two countries reached a historic high of USD 100 million in 2022, thus doubling in the last three years, and discussed enriching the relations and cooperation between the two countries with economic content, and joint implementation of large-scale construction projects aimed at securing long and medium-term development goals and export boosting projects. The two countries also agreed to expand cooperation in geology, science, culture, and art, and to make real progress in health and food safety.
In the framework of the President of the Republic of Poland visiting Mongolia, the two parties concluded a number of cooperation documents on Tuesday. The Agreement on International Road Transport between the Government of Mongolia and the Government of the Republic of Poland was signed. Other important documents to further increase the trade and investment of the two countries, expand and develop cooperation in the areas of road, transport, education, geology, mining, culture, and environment, and in implementing major construction projects for sustainable development were also signed during the meeting between the presidents of Mongolia and the president of the Republic of Poland. During the State visit, the two parties concluded a number of cooperation documents. The Agreement on International Road Transport between the Government of Mongolia and the Government of the Republic of Poland was signed.
Other cooperation documents are as follows:
- Agreement on the Execution of the Project “Research on molybdenum and wolfram at Beliin Bulag and Zadgai Bulag” between the National Geological Service of Mongolia and the Polish Geological Institute-National Research Institute;
- Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Veterinary Sector between the General Authority of Veterinary Services of Mongolia and the General Veterinary Inspectorate of the Republic of Poland;
- Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation between the General Authority for Archives of Mongolia and the State Archives Head Office of the Republic of Poland;
- Cooperation Agreement between the Mongolian Academy of Sciences and the University of Warsaw of the Republic of Poland.
The Prime Minister of Mongolia L.Oyun-Erdene appreciated the signing of the Agreement on International Road Transport between the Government of Mongolia and the Government of the Republic of Poland and noted that the implementation of this Agreement would facilitate transportation between Asia and Europe and increase trade turnover during his meeting with President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda.
Within the framework of the state visit, the Mongolian-Polish Business Forum was co-organized by the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Investment and Trade Agency of Poland, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, and the Embassy of Poland in Mongolia. 23 Polish companies engaged in milk and dairy products, meat and meat products, health, medical equipment, information technology, electricity, energy, construction, and tourism are taking part in this Forum, whilst about 350 companies and entrepreneurs from Mongolia participate in the event. During the forum, tête-à-tête meetings were held and partnership relations were established.
In his speech, President Andrzej Duda noted that with the development of relations and the increase in trade turnover, the country's enterprises are increasingly interested in Mongolia, and emphasized the possibility of mutually beneficial cooperation by investing in the fields of mining, minerals, geology, and the environment. He said that he believes that the Consular Department, which will start operating in Ulaanbaatar in 2024, will make an important contribution to the development of trade and economic relations. On the other hand, the President of Mongolia, U.Khurelsukh, noted that new opportunities are opening up to expand and develop cooperation in the fields of mining, geology, culture, education, environment, banking, finance, and e-commerce, and jointly implement major mutually beneficial projects and programs.
Poland is the second largest exporter to Mongolia among the EU countries and in 2021 was the seventh largest globally. The trade turnover of the two countries has reached USD 100 million doubling in the last three years. Representatives of Polish companies and enterprises engaged in food, including milk, meat, and meat products, health, medical equipment, information technology, electricity, construction, and labor brokerage took part in the event.
The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Mongolia, the Mongolian Business Council, and the Investment and Trade Agency of Poland is significant for deepening the relationship between entrepreneurs.
Director of the Export Center of the Polish Investment and Trade Agency Łukasz Grabowski noted Mongolia is an interesting and unique market for Polish entrepreneurs. It is located in Central Asia and is relatively distant geographically. In recent years, the amount of goods exported from Poland to Mongolia has been growing steadily. In 2021, the amount of export from Poland to Mongolia has exceeded EUR 70 million and export growth has moved into double digits. Food products, ready-made clothes, and construction materials dominate the export from Poland to Mongolia. Polish companies also cooperate with their Mongolian counterparts in the mining sector, supplying mining machinery and safety equipment. Polish businessmen are willing to invest in the fields of infrastructure, construction, and warehouse.
The Investment and Trade Agency of Poland works to support the economy and cooperation, attract investments, and increase the country's exports. The Business Forum was co-organized by the Investment and Trade Agency of Poland, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Representatives of Polish companies and enterprises engaged in food, including milk, meat, and meat products, health, medical equipment, information technology, electricity, construction, and labor brokerage took part in the event.
The resident representative of the Polish Investment and Trade Agency in Mongolia B. Bat-Erdene spoke about the importance of the agricultural sector as a priority for cooperation with the Polish side. He said, "Poland has a great reputation for its agriculture. It ranks in the top five in Europe for most products, including raw and processed fruits, vegetables, and meat products. It is an agricultural country that is ranked 5th in the world and the first in Europe in terms of some products. So, I think agricultural cooperation is very important for Mongolia. Because agriculture is one of the most important sectors for Mongolians to develop their non-mining industries. "Also, at this time when we are trying to develop important topics such as "Food supply and security'' initiated by the President of Mongolia, we see agriculture as the main area of cooperation between the two countries."
Executive Director of "Efes International" LLC O. Dulguun underlines that the cooperation documents related to transportation are about to come into force. The company has been importing goods from Poland since 2018. As regards the company’s choice of this country to do business with, O. Dulguun explains that Polish goods are of high quality and the transportation cost is cheaper compared to other European countries. At the same time, imported foodstuff, in particular newly grown and semi-processed fruits are products of high demand in Mongolia with four seasons in a year. The reason for the recent increase in prices of imported goods is the cost of transportation. Therefore, decisions aimed at improving transportation conditions will become tangible support. That is why we have been working together for 5 years.
CEO of the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry T.Duuren said that all Mongolian export goods pass through Poland when they go to Europe," Poland's economic and trade space in Europe is expanding year by year, so the issue of logistics to Poland is very important.
As of last year, Mongolia exported to Poland packaged medicine, sewn and knitted clothes, and goods worth USD 599,000, while Poland exported to Mongolia apples, pears, canned vegetables, fruits, nuts, chocolate, and cocoa containing food, pork, pork and poultry fat, beverages, pharmaceuticals, sanitary, face and nail care preparations worth USD 97,7 million.
The President of Mongolia, U.Khurelsukh, said that Mongolia has made its investment policy more clear, and following the principle of "Being a trustworthy, reliable and long-term partner", Mongolia is carrying out comprehensive reforms to protect the interests of investors and improving the business and investment environment. He called on Polish entrepreneurs to do business in Mongolia, invest, and cooperate for mutual benefit.
During the business forum, organizations such as the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Polish Investment and Trade Agency, and the Polish Chamber of Commerce signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation.
President of Mongolia U.Khurelsukh and President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda took part in the ceremony of signing cooperation documents in the Great Hall of State Ceremonies and Honors. Afterward, the President of Mongolia U. Khurelsukh, and the President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda briefed the media representatives. President of Mongolia U. Khurelsukh spoke,"… I consider the official talks with the President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda to be of high significance and important outcomes. During the talks, we discussed the consequences, conditions, and solutions of major social and economic challenges caused by the Covid-19 Pandemic, and the complicated international relations and geopolitical situation faced by the countries in the world in the last three years, and agreed to overcome the difficulties with joint efforts and determination. The Republic of Poland is one of the third neighbors and close partners of our country, and relations and cooperation between the two countries have continuously and actively developed even in hard times. I am happy that upon its decision to open Polish Embassy in our country, officially opening it as part of this State visit. We agreed to further increase the trade and investment of the two countries to expand and develop cooperation in the areas of road, transport, education, geology, mining, culture, and environment, and in implementing major construction projects for sustainable development”.
The President of the Republic of Poland underlined that Poland will cooperate with Mongolia within the framework of the "Food Supply and Security" and "Billion Trees" national movements initiated by the President of Mongolia, trained Mongolian students in this field in Poland, encouraged the cooperation of enterprises, and implemented mutually beneficial projects and programs in agriculture, to be implemented in the field of environment. He also expressed his gratitude to Mongolia for recognizing Poland as a "Third Neighbor" that values democratic values. President Andrzej Duda emphasized that he understands Mongolia's geopolitical policy well, and expressed his appreciation for Mongolia's support in providing humanitarian aid to Ukraine and accepting refugees. The two countries confirmed that they will deepen cooperation within the framework of the United Nations and other international organizations.
President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Sebastian Duda granted state orders of Poland to Mongolian citizens who have made valuable contributions to the relations and cooperation between the two countries. With Gold Order of the Cross of Merit: Major Ganbold Azzaya, an expert of the General Staff of the Armed Forces. On February 18, 2004, while on patrol duty at Base Charlie in Al Hillah, Iraq, he intercepted a terrorist attack on the headquarters of the Multinational Division's Central-South Command, thus saving the lives of the Allies, including many Polish soldiers of the Second shift. With Silver Order of the Cross of Merit: Rentsendagva Dagva, Deputy Head of the Capital City Governor's Office for Digital Development, Legal Affairs, and Public Services. Actively works in expanding, developing, and strengthening cooperation between Ulaanbaatar and Warsaw. With Bronze Order of the Cross of Merit: Olonbayar Erdenetsogt, painter of the Mongolian Craftsmen's Union. Graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. Inspired by Poland's democratic transition, he reflects in his works the theme of humanity's search for freedom. In 1996 he presented his work "Aspirations and Obstacles," and in 2006 his solo exhibition at the Embassy of the Republic of Poland made a valuable contribution to the promotion of Polish art.
Furthermore, during the visit to Ulaanbaatar, President Duda officially opened the Polish Embassy and, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the National University of Mongolia.
Also, the First Lady of Mongolia L.Bolortsetseg together with the First Lady of Poland Agata Kornhauser-Duda visited the headquarters of the Mongolian Association of Children with Down Syndrome in Ulaanbaatar, whose functioning is co-financed by Poland and talked with children and parents as well as presented gifts to the children who won places in the drawing competition. Also, President Andrzej Duda visited the Genghis Khan Museum with his spouse.
The State visit of President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Sebastian Duda and his spouse Agata Kornhauser-Duda to Mongolia was concluded on the evening of the 26th of April, 2023.