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Expanding Economic and Trade Relationships with Japan

Posted: 8 January 2020

Ms. E. Sarantogos is currently working as a Deputy Director of Asia and Pacific department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Prior to this appointment, she served as Minister-Counsellor and Deputy Chief of Mission and as a diplomat at the Embassy of Mongolia in Japan.

Sarantogos’ new knowledge and concepts about international trade and economics from her Master in Applied Economics, have helped her successfully perform the varied roles expected of her at the Embassy. Of particular value has been her increased capacity to understand drafting and negotiation agreements involving trade and economic relationships, especially in developing Mongolia’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Japan.

As the FTA with Japan was Mongolia’s first such agreement, it was (and continues to be) strategically very important. When developing the FTA, Sarantogos negotiated official visits to Japan for Mongolia’s President, Prime Minister and Parliamentary Speaker for trade negotiations and managed arrangements for a reciprocal delegation led by the Japanese Prime Minister to Mongolia.

Both economically and strategically, the FTA represents a significant contribution to the continuing development of a robust partnership between the two countries.

An added bonus for Sarantogos while in Australia was the opportunity to increase her understanding of Abenomics, a financial theory named after Japanese Prime Minister Shinz? Abe based on the “three arrows” of fiscal stimulus, monetary easing and structural reforms.

Moreover, apart from her increased knowledge and skills in Applied Economics, her Australia Award experience also strengthened her capacity to think, analyse, manage and present; a skill-set highly valued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in their expectations of her. Sarantogos believes that without her economic qualification from Australia, she would not be in a position to advise the Ambassador on economic and trade issues.

In 2015, Sarantogos worked on activities towards the bilateral Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), one of the main outcomes of the 2014 FTA. She believes the economic knowledge and skills obtained from the University of Adelaide contributed significantly to developing the EPA content and ensuring clear and transparent discussions with Mongolia’s Japanese partners. The EPA includes topics as diverse as trade tariffs, local content and intellectual property, exports/imports and custom and tax policies. By ensuring, through the EPA, clarity about each partner’s intentions and requirements and an equitable balance of trade, the Mongolian Government believes that its strong economic development will continue.

Sarantogos believes there is great potential for professional communication between Australia Award alumni from different countries working in embassies globally. She is keen to play a role in establishing these networks.