High-speed rail deals on move

By Xin Dingding (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-12-04 08:39
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China to set up joint ventures with countries from around the world

XUZHOU, Jiangsu - China is expected to sign a batch of cooperation documents with other countries that are interested in China's railway progress during the upcoming Seventh World Congress on High Speed Rail in Beijing next week, a senior railway official said.

Chen Juemin, director-general of the international cooperation department at the Ministry of Railways, said in a written reply to China Daily that CSR Corporation Limited, one of China's largest rail vehicle producers, and General Electric Co had initiated a framework agreement to establish a joint venture in the United States to manufacture high-speed trains using China's high-speed train technology.

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Sources close to the deal said it is likely to be inked during the conference that runs between Dec 7 and 9.

Bloomberg reported on Friday that CSR and GE may bid to build high-speed train lines in California and Florida after US President Barack Obama spurred investment in railways.

And Beijing-based CSR's chairman, Zhao Xiaogang, told reporters in Hong Kong on Friday that the two companies may also bid for a project on the US' east coast.

The companies have not yet decided what form their cooperation will take and which lines they will bid on during the coming three years, he said.

Other agreements or memorandums are also expected during the Seventh World Congress on High Speed Rail. Deals are likely to be inked between China and railway authorities and enterprises in Turkey, Sweden, Germany, Bulgaria, Canada, Slovenia and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea during the conference, Chen said.

It is not known how many of those deals will be related to high-speed railway technology.

The upcoming conference will be an opportunity for China to showcase its latest progress in the high-speed railway sector, Chen added.

China now leads the world with 7,531 km of high-speed rail line in operation. It plans to more than double its high-speed passenger network to about 16,000 kilometers by 2020.

The service speed of China's high-speed network is up to 350 km/h.

"China's progress, development mode, technical innovations and cooperation opportunities in the high-speed railway sector will interest the delegates to the conference," he said.

"While displaying our progress, we are also willing to share with our counterparts our technical progress and practical experiences."

The Seventh World Congress on High Speed Rail in Beijing will be the first time that a country from outside Europe has hosted the event.

Initiated and organized by the International Union of Railways since 1992, the conference is said to be the leading global event for showcasing and exchanging views on the developments and achievements of the world's high-speed rail ventures.

The conference will feature high-level officials from international railway organizations and railway authorities from many countries as well as senior managers from global railway companies and high-speed railway experts.

The theme this year is "High Speed Rail Spearheading Greener Transport".