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China rail reps visit California

By Bian Jibu in New York and Lian Zi in San Francisco | China Daily USA | Updated: 2014-10-31 14:03

Delegation of Chinese execs may bid on US' 1st high-speed project

A delegation of Chinese government officials and representatives of Chinese high-speed railroad companies met with their California counterparts and the California High-Speed Rail Authority during a reception hosted at the Bay Area Council in San Francisco on Thursday.

Led by Zhang Yujing, president of the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products (CCCME), the delegation discussed the implementation of the "China Provinces and US California Joint Working Group on Trade and Investment Cooperation", an MOU signed last year in Beijing, and explored the possibility of China's participation in California's high-speed rail project.

"We want to learn about the high-speed rail policies and the investment environment in California, and introduce Chinese high-speed rail products and technology to our Californian friends," said Zhang. "By doing so, we want to further discussions to create better business opportunities."

Jeff Morales, CEO of the California Rail Authority, said high-speed rail is not only about the train, it is about connecting the two economies and creating jobs and about California's competitive status in the world.

"We are very impressed by China's great progress and leadership in high-speed rail," said Morales. "China has built 7,000 miles of high-speed rail, the US has built zero, but we will change that. California will be the first high-speed rail system in the US."

It was the first face-to-face meeting among the Chinese Secretariat of the MOU; CCCME; the Bay Area Council; and the Northern California Secretariat of the MOU, according to Xia Xiang, economic and commercial counselor of China in San Francisco.

Two China-based companies made formal expressions of interest this week to provide trains for California's $68 billion high-speed rail project, the first high-speed rail system in the US. One is from state-owned CNR Corp Ltd, considered the world's largest rail car maker, its unit Tangshan Railway Vehicle Co and US-based SunGroup USA.

Another is from CSR Corp, also a China-based firm. CNR Corp and CSR Corp, China's two biggest train-makers, are expected to merge soon to become a multi-billion-dollar giant.

The rail system - expected to be completed by 2030 - will run from San Francisco to Los Angeles, making the trip between the cities about a two-and-a-half-hour ride, said Xia, adding that more than 4 million Californians could enjoy the convenience.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority, the agency responsible for designing, building and operating high-speed rail system, also received expressions of interest from Alstom SA of France, AnsaldoBreda of Italy, Bombardier of Canada, Hyundai Rotem of South Korea and Siemens of Germany.

Ding Sansan, deputy chief engineer of China South Locomotive, said the success of the project depends on the efforts of the Chinese railroad corps.

"I hope that Chinese railway corps can play a role in California's high-speed railway project, just like the Chinese railroad workers who worked on the Pacific Railway in California 150 years ago," Ding said.

Ding added that through years of development, China's high-speed rail technology has achieved a very advanced level, as China now has the longest high-speed rail line in the world.

"We will also provide a reliable system and technology with a very competitive price and a strong team," said Ding.

For the California railway project, it is important to strengthen communication between China and California and gain support from the US, Ding added.

Delegates attending the event included representatives of the China Railway Corporation, CSR Corporation Limited, the China Railway Construction Corporation, the Center for High-speed Railway Technology at Tsinghua University and the Export-Import Bank of China.

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