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US Pulls Brakes on Chinese High-Speed Rail Project, Damages US-China Trade Cooperation

Americans be denied an alternative option for convenient, expeditious transportation ... trade cooperation between the United States and China will suffer immensely.

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日前,美國私營鐵路公司西部快線,突然以美國政府規定高鐵列車必須在美國本土製造為由,宣佈單方面終止與中國鐵路國際合資建設的加州高鐵項 目。這是西部快線在政治因素影響下的極不負責任的決定,也是損人而不利己的行為,不僅令美國民眾出行少了一個便利、快捷的選擇,也勢必嚴重損害中美經貿合 作大局。因此,美方應慎重考慮此舉帶來的嚴重後果,要以實際行動維護和發展互利雙贏的中美經貿合作關係。

中美合作建設連接拉斯維加斯與洛杉磯之間的高鐵項目,是去年九月國家主席習近平訪美前,由西部快線和中國鐵路國際簽訂的正式協議。該項目全 長370公里,總投資額達127億美元。當時,該項目被譽為中美經貿合作關係的「重大突破之一」,具有重要指標意義。事實上,中國高鐵之所以受到美方青 睞,主要是因為中國高鐵具有強勁的競爭優勢。據世界銀行的研究報告指出,中國高鐵的平均造價為每公里0.87-1.29億元,而其他國家的高鐵建設成本均 在3億元以上。而且,中國高鐵具有成熟的核心技術,以及高水平的建設和營運經驗,過去12年成功建設了長達1.9萬公里的世界最大高鐵網絡。相反,美國在 高鐵建設方面乏善可陳,遠遠落後於中國、日本和歐洲各國,故中美雙方在高鐵領域上進行務實合作,應該說是互利雙贏的最佳選擇。

令人遺憾的是,這個項目在簽約不到一年的今天,卻被美國政府設置的種種障礙導致流產。美國西部快線公司的聲明表示,這個項目最大的阻力來自 美國政府的規定:高鐵列車必須在美國製造,但現時美國國內並無生產高鐵車卡,令到該項目無法滿足美國政府的要求。由此可見,此項欠缺彈性的要求,實際上是 美國政府在政治考量下人為設置的障礙。顯然,美國國內某些政治勢力,出於種種考慮,極不情願看到中美經貿關係的進一步拓展和深化,總是以這樣或那樣的理 由,為中美經貿互利合作製造麻煩、設置障礙,多年來,中國在美國的投資屢屢遇到種種人為的政治壁壘,舉步維艱,中方在歷次中美戰略與經濟對話中都提出嚴正 立場,希望美方解決中國對美投資面臨的壁壘問題。此次中美首個高鐵合作項目流產,就是最新出現的一個典型例子。

中美兩國擁有廣泛的共同利益和合作基礎,而兩國經貿關係始終是中美戰略關係的「壓艙石」和「推進器」,深化中美經貿合作及展開互利雙贏的重 大項目合作,更是推動兩國經貿務實合作的基礎和支柱,對兩國發展和世界繁榮都具有重要意義。人們強烈要求美國政府和有關企業,從中美經貿合作的大局出發, 努力消除雙方進行重大項目合作的政治障礙,遵守合約精神,改變不負責任的做法,令到本已達成協議的合作項目能夠繼續進行。相信美國民眾也期待早日坐上舒 適、快捷和安全的中國高鐵,提高生活質素和效率。







1 Comment on US Pulls Brakes on Chinese High-Speed Rail Project, Damages US-China Trade Cooperation

  1. Articles like this make me cringe. To me ‘mutually beneficial’ cooperative trade relations with China usually means the exact opposite. This case is no different. Basically this is a straightforward export deal: China will manufacture everything in China, bring it over on a boat, sell it for tens of billions and go home. Thousands of jobs in China will be created, U.S. gets absolutely nothing. The fact is requiring local manufacture is smart policy. In the 80s Japan wanted to do the same thing: load up a bunch of corollas and civics on a boat, sell them here, take the profit home. We finally said no. We weren’t going to protect domestic automakers, but said you are welcome to straight up export your cars too – with a hefty tariff. So what did they do? They started making hondas and toyotas in the U.S. creating thousands of jobs and truly offering a fair trade outcome. That is what you call win-win. And guess who have been that policies most aggressive practitioners of that kind of policy? The Chinese! Thats right, you can’t just make a Beoing in St. Louis sell it and go home. No – the Chinese required local manufacture with local workers and demanded a massive technology transfer (read rip off) for the privilege to sell in the their market. Sector after sector (autos, technology, telecoms, etc.) its the same story. Bottom line is, you can sell so much as a clothes pin in China without a local partner, giving away ALL your technology on how you made it, and making it China. Underhanded slogans like ‘win-win’ cooperation and mutual benefit usually means China get’s 90% of the benefit and U.S gets a gut punch in the face. Chinese investment in the U.S. isn’t all bad (Haier), but much of it should be scrutinized very carefully. We need to be asking ourselves, what is the TRUE benefit to the U.S.? Is there reciprocity (are our companies treated the same and fairly in reverse situations)? Then there are the many, many bad actors that this insulting ‘win-win’ cooperation brings. State sponsored hacking of private companies for trade secrets and government data. Ravenous programs to steal U.S. military secrets. Using state directed institutions like the Confucius institute as a front and sham to silence Chinese dissidents living in the U.S. and trying to quash commentary the CPC finds objectionable (like discussing the Tiananmen sure massacre) ‘Innocently’ trying to buy a wind far near a sensitive U.S. military base for spying purposes. This list goes on and on and on. I couldn’t believe that after 30 years of piracy of U.S. soft content like movies and film, we just let them buy AMC, a movie theatre chain with 6000 screens. Yet China demands and we have agreed to a quota of 30+ films. What a terrible, terrible deal. I mean, who on the U.S. side agreed to that?

    My view is that China is a ‘frenemy’ and if you broke that down it would probably be 25% friend, 75% enemy. You get the feeling that there is a reverse containment policy which calls for undermining the U.S. at any and every opportunity. Steal trade secrets and technology. Use trading rules to dump excess capacity on the U.S.market. Getting the U.S. to agree to lopsided trade deals. Massive trade imbalances. I could go on for hours and hours. Smiles and handshakes at White House and State Dept. photo ops while state controlled press at home troll, vilify, and denigrate the U.S. daily.

    So again I say be very wary when a Chinese official starts talking about ‘win-win’ cooperation or ‘mutual benefit’. Look carefully at what they are proposing and why. A good number of cases that is the case, but in most it is not.

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