Sinohydro, ICE power up for $1.2b project

Updated: 2011-08-10 09:34

By Bao Chang (China Daily)

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Sinohydro, ICE power up for $1.2b project

The Sinohydro Corp office in Beijing. The company has been shortlisted to build a hydropower plant in Costa Rica. [Photo / China Daily] 

BEIJING - Sinohydro Corp, China's largest hydropower construction enterprise, is expected to win a $1.2 billion contract to jointly build a 300-megawatt hydroelectric power station in Costa Rica with the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity (ICE).

"The plant, which will be operational in 2016, will be a joint venture between Sinohydro and ICE," Marco Vinicio Ruiz Gutierrez, the Costa Rican ambassador to China, said on Tuesday.

The Chinese State-owned dam builder has met the Costa Rican government's technical requirements and is negotiating financing, according to Gutierrez.

Brazil's State-owned Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA has also been short-listed for the project.

"Chinese firms are interested in investing in companies with high levels of technology and Costa Rica is an operations center for metal mechanics and electronics in Central America," Gutierrez said.

China's Shenzhen-based Huawei Technologies Co won a $235 million contract with ICE to build a 3G network in Costa Rica two years ago. The project aims to provide telecommunications services for 935,000 customers.

"We are now working with different provincial and city governments to attract more Chinese investments", as a free-trade agreement (FTA) has taken effect, Gutierrez added.

The pact between China and Costa Rica was signed in April last year and took effect on Aug 1 this year, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Under the FTA, duty-free status will be phased in for at least 90 percent of the goods from both countries.

On the Chinese side, the goods that will benefit include textile raw materials and products, light industrial products, machines and electrical equipment. For Costa Rica, the list includes coffee, beef, orange juice and seafood.

Sinohydro, ICE power up for $1.2b project

Marco Vinicio Ruiz Gutierrez, Costa Rica's ambassador to China

"Given our definition of development in sustainable terms, our strategy has been to deepen our relation with emerging markets such as China," Gutierrez said.

"In the future, we want to promote Costa Rica as a country through which Chinese companies have access to Central America."

China is Costa Rica's second-largest trade partner. Xinhua News Agency reported that bilateral trade increased 19.2 percent last year to $3.8 billion.

"The FTA with China will expand the foreign trade platform of Costa Rica, offering investors opportunities to invest and produce in our country," Gutierrez said.