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Russian Railways to modernize Mongolian rail system, tap transit potential — Putin

Putin said that bilateral trade has been actively developing

MOSCOW, September 2. /TASS/. Russia’s rail monopoly RZD will modernize Mongolia’s rail network to develop the country’s transit potential, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said In an interview to Mongolia’s Udriin Sonin newspaper ahead of his visit to the country.

"In our bilateral dialogue, we are focusing on the transport and infrastructure sector and on tapping Mongolia’s transit potential," the Russian leader said in the interview, published by the Kremlin website on Monday. "To this end, Russian Railways is planning the modernization of the Ulan-Bator Railway, which is the country’s key transport artery."

Putin said that bilateral trade has been actively developing. According to him, trade turnover increased by 21% to $1.65 billion, and grew by another 11.8% in January-June, to $800 million.

Speaking about energy cooperation, Putin said Russian companies supply electricity to Mongolia and participate in the technical retrofitting of its generating capacities. Besides, the two states carry out or plan "interesting projects" in industry and agriculture.

"Cooperation is underway in the sanitary and veterinary spheres. The second stage of the humanitarian programme for vaccinating livestock in Mongolia was successfully completed last year, which will facilitate the access of Mongolian livestock produce to the Russian market," Putin said.

According to the Russian leader, Moscow and Ulaanbaatar are focused on environmental issues as well.

"Talks are underway to create a number of joint nature reserves along the border areas. This will help preserve the unique biodiversity of our common region," he said.

Moscow also keeps assisting Mongolia in training national professionals.

"Today, about 3,000 Mongolia citizens study at Russia’s universities. Every year, we set aside 500 state scholarships for Mongolian students," Putin said.

When asked about the possibility of cutting customs duties for Mongolian goods, the Russian leader said that a joint working group was created between the Eurasian Economic Commission and Mongolia in 2015. Among its tasks is increasing the efficiency of mutual trade, including by removing barriers, improving customs administration and harmonizing sanitary standards.

"Often, simplifying technical requirements gives a much greater boost to business than reducing duties," Putin added.