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Premier discusses rail project with Mexican president

Updated: Nov 11,2014 7:30 PM     Xinhua

Premier Li Keqiang talked with Mexican President Enrique Pena over high-speed rail collaboration on Nov 11. [Photo by Zhang Duo/Xinhua]

Premier Li Keqiang expressed his regret over the Mexican government’s scraping of a high-speed rail deal with a China-Mexico joint consortium when meeting with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto in Beijing on Nov 11.

He asked the Mexican government to “fairly” treat Chinese enterprises investing in the country and achieve early, substantive results from relevant cooperation.

The consortium had strictly followed the public bidding procedures required by the Mexican side and won the bidding due to its competitiveness, Li said, adding that the bidding result is completely just and legitimate.

The Chinese-led consortium, including the China Railway Construction Corporation and several Mexican construction firms, won the bid a week ago to build a 210-km high-speed railway connecting Mexico City with the industrial hub of Queretaro to the north.

However, Mexico’s Ministry of Communications and Transport on Nov. 6 announced it will annul the 4.4-billion-U.S.-dollar deal due to public concerns about the bidding process.

Premier Li Keqiang (3rd R) meets with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto (3rd L) in Beijing, China, Nov. 11, 2014. Pena Nieto is in China for a state visit and to attend the 22nd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting.[Photo by Zhang Duo/Xinhua]

Li told Pena Nieto that China’s high-speed railway technology is advanced, reliable and cost efficient and with abundant operation experiences, adding that bilateral cooperation in the railway sector should be mutually beneficial.

He said in response to “positive attitude” shown by the Mexican side afterwards, the Chinese government decides to continue to encourage Chinese enterprises to participate in infrastructure projects in Mexico, including high-speed railway projects.

Infrastructure building is the priority of China-Mexico cooperation, he said.

Pena Nieto said Mexico will work hard to deal with existing problems to protect legitimate rights of Chinese enterprises. He acknowledged that the cooperation with the Chinese side on the rail project was “completely transparent.”

He said Mexico still welcomes Chinese firms to participate in high-speed rail projects.

Pena Nieto is in Beijing for a state visit and the 22nd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders’ Meeting, which ended on Nov 11.

Premier Li said China and Mexico, both as emerging economies, share broad common interests. With great potential in bilateral cooperation, the two countries should expand mutual investment and promote bilateral cooperation in energy, financing and high-tech areas.

Pena Nieto said Mexico attaches great importance to its relationship with China and is willing to improve bilateral cooperation mechanisms and carry out long-term cooperation with China on the basis of mutual trust.