UPDATE 2-Mongolia eyes economic boost from China president's visit

Thu Aug 21, 2014 9:22am EDT
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* China, Mongolia sign deals on mining, finance cooperation

* Xi tells Mongolians more cooperation will benefit both sides

* Struggling economy forces Mongolia to tilt towards China (Recasts, adds China, Mongolia proposing summit with Russia)

By Terrence Edwards and David Stanway

ULAN BATOR/BEIJING, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed on Thursday the expansion of bilateral trade with Mongolia to $10 billion a year by 2020 as he arrived for a two-day visit aimed at deepening economic ties between the neighbours.

Xi's arrival marks the first Chinese presidential visit in 11 years to Mongolia which has been hit by plunging commodity prices and a rapid decline in foreign investment. It is keen to agree to new deals on transport, energy and mining investment with its dominant trading partner.

The two countries signed a joint declaration upgrading their relationship to a "comprehensive strategic partnership". They also signed agreements to cooperate further in areas such as economics, energy, mining and finance.

"Xi proposes to expand China-Mongolia trade to $10 billion by 2020," China's Xinhua state news agency said.

Two-way trade was worth $324 million in 2002 but rose to $6 billion in 2013, accounting for more than half of Mongolia's total foreign trade, Xinhua said.   Continued...