Private U.S. railway firm XpressWest abruptly announced several days ago that it would unilaterally end a joint venture with China Railway International to build a high-speed rail line in California, citing a U.S. government regulation that high-speed trains be manufactured domestically. This is an exceedingly irresponsible decision on the part of XpressWest as it comes under pressure from political elements, and will only be a detriment to itself and others. Not only will Americans be denied an alternative option for convenient, expeditious transportation, but the overall landscape of trade cooperation between the United States and China will suffer immensely as well. Accordingly, the United States should take a sober assessment of the grave consequences brought by this development, and take substantive action to protect and nurture its mutually beneficial cooperative trade relations with China.
The U.S.-Chinese joint venture to construct a high-speed rail line connecting Las Vegas and Los Angeles was an official agreement signed by XpressWest and China Railway International prior to Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to the United States in September of last year. The project was to span 230 miles in length with total investment valued at $12.7 billion, and was hailed as a major breakthrough in trade relations between the United States and China, imbuing it with considerable symbolic value. And truth be told, the reason why Chinese high-speed rail was regarded so highly by the U.S. backers of the project was its strong competitive advantage. According to the findings of World Bank research, the infrastructural costs of Chinese high-speed rail companies average from $8.7 million to $12.9 million per mile, while other countries' average costs are placed at over $30 million per mile. Moreover, Chinese high-speed rail companies have refined the core technologies required for such projects and possess a high level of construction and operational experience, having succeeded over the past 12 years in building the world's largest high-speed rail network, a network that now extends over 12,000 miles. In contrast, U.S. high-speed rail builders can claim few accolades of their own, and have fallen far behind China, Japan and Europe, making practical cooperation between the United States and China in the field of high-speed rail easily the most optimal and mutually beneficial course.
Consequently, it is regrettable that not even a year after the project was agreed on, it has been derailed by the many obstacles put in its path by the U.S. government. The statement issued by XpressWest indicated that the most significant impediment to the project's progress would have come from a U.S. government regulation requiring that high-speed trains be produced within the United States. As there are currently no U.S. domestic producers of high-speed trains, adhering to that regulation would be an impossibility. From this, we can see that such a rigid demand is, in truth, an artificially-constructed hurdle placed by the U.S. government due to political considerations. Clearly, certain factions within the United States are quite unwilling, for a number of factors, to see trade cooperation between the United States and China deepen and expand. With one excuse or another, they have continually sought to hinder and obstruct mutually-beneficial joint ventures, and for many years, Chinese efforts to invest in the United States have consistently run aground on artificially-created political barriers, barriers that have more often than not proved insurmountable. China has made its position clear at each successive U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in the hope that Washington will address the issue. This most recent U.S.-Chinese joint venture on high-speed rail running off track is only the newest of many prototypical examples to occur.
The United States and China share a broad swathe of collective interests and have set a foundation for cooperation, and trade relations between the two countries have always served as both ballast and propellant for their strategic relationship. Extending cooperation on trade and exploring large-scale joint ventures that will be to each party's benefit is the pillar which supports practical economic collaboration, and is of vital significance to not only U.S. and Chinese development, but global prosperity. The people would urge the U.S. government and any relevant private firms to not lose sight of the big picture in U.S.-Chinese trade cooperation, work on both sides to eliminate political obstacles to transnational partnerships, respect the spirit of contractual agreements, and mend irresponsible behavior so that projects already agreed upon can continue to progress. It is believed that the American people, as well, look forward to soon having access to comfortable, speedy and safe Chinese high-speed rail, raising both their efficiency and quality of life.