Termination of rail project stinks of protectionism, hurts interests of US and China

Source:Xinhua Published: 2016/6/12 23:23:01

The unilateral cancellation of a high-speed passenger rail contract by US company XpressWest has not only hurt the interests of China Railway International (CRI), but also set a bad precedent that will retard bilateral cooperation in the area.

According to the cooperation framework deal signed by the two sides in September 2015, one side should not release related information without approval by the other.

It is obvious that XpressWest's double-dealing maneuver, which maintained talks and promised to spare no efforts to defend CRI's interests on the one hand, while suddenly called off cooperation on the other, has violated legal terms agreed on by both sides.

CRI has expressed opposition to the US company's decision and has been dealing with the case according to the law.

The pretext provided by XpressWest's CEO Tony Marnell, who said terminating joint venture activities with CRI was "based upon difficulties associated with timely performance and CRI's challenges in obtaining required authority," sounds ridiculous since both signatories of the contact are responsible for pushing forward the project with joint efforts.

XpressWest's irresponsible decision has stymied the realization of a high-speed rail line linking Los Angeles to Las Vegas at an early date.

The rail line could shorten the travel time substantially and boost the economy of the West Coast and Nevada's desert region.

The US, the fourth-largest country in the world with the third-largest population, lags far behind China, Japan and Europe in high-speed rail development, which can bring about efficiency and prosperity and is environmentally friendly.

XpressWest's passive way of dealing with problems that occurred during the implementation of the project dealt a sudden blow to the cooperation between the US and China in the field of high-speed rail construction.

US President Barack Obama has put forward a 21st Century Clean Transportation Plan.

The plan mentioned new technologies such as autonomous vehicles and high-speed rail.

That would include making high-speed rail a viable alternative to flying in major regional corridors and investing in new rail technologies like maglev, the White House said early this year.

China, which has built 17,000 kilometers of railway in 12 years since it began constructing bullet trains, can be a helping hand in making the US's high-speed rail dream come true.

This is a commentary of the Xinhua News Agency. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

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