mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
China's High-Speed Rail Fail
Corruption Derails China’s Plans in Mexico

Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto has cancelled a lucrative, $3.6 billion contract his country signed with a group of Chinese firms to build a high speed rail system between Mexico City and the industrial hub of Querétaro. The move came as a concession to public perceptions of corruption related to the deal, which was signed so soon after being proposed that alternative firms didn’t have the time to enter bids for the project. The FT reports:

Gerardo Ruíz Esparza, Mexico’s transport secretary, said the contract had been cancelled to ensure “absolute clarity, legitimacy and transparency”. […]

[I]t would have been China’s first overseas high-speed rail project and could have potentially set a precedent for further deals, including a California tender to link San Francisco with Los Angeles.

This is a big loss for China. One of the reasons that it invested so much in its own high speed rail system was so that it could market its technology, as well as other infrastructure development projects, abroad. But as this story shows us, Chinese companies may have to change their ways of doing business to land big contracts in the OECD world. In today’s world, corruption isn’t just a domestic issue.

Features Icon
show comments
  • Corlyss


  • John Tyler

    Mexico has been around as long as Canada and the USA, and it is still a basket case and frankly it ALWAYS will be. Corruption, cronyism and elitism are inseparable from their values and culture.
    Also note that the ruling classes and the elites there are mostly direct descendents of their original Spanish rulers and they look upon the majority of Mexicans – mostly mixed race Indians or Indians- with contempt. They consider them as inferiors, as peasants.
    This is one reason that the Mexican government ( the Spanish elites) makes ZERO efforts to stem the flow of illegals into the USA; the ruling class wants them out of Mexico.

  • LoboSolo

    Maybe the Chinese should try talking to the folks of the California High Speed Rail boondoggle …

  • No prejudice

    What is the exact corruption part? Can the repoerter be more specific and write the truth instead of misleading by simple judgement or copy other’s judgement?
    I think US is more corrupted with all the judgement and stereotype thinking. You can barely see objective opinions here while not so much in other countries.
    It is a loss for China because they spent so much time and money on preparing for it, but at the same time, it’s also a loss for Mexico because they just lost the best bid and have to compensate now!

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service