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China might partner on mega South American railway project - Mr Vizcarra

Infra News - Published on Tue, 21 May 2019

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In an interview with Reuters on the presidential plane, Peruvian President Mr Martin Vizcarra, said China might still be a natural fit as a partner to help finance and build the project, because it would likely buy the goods the railway would deliver to a port on Peru’s southern Pacific coast. He said that “Between the two of us (Peru and Bolivia) we need a third partner to help turn it into reality.” Asked if China could be that partner, he said, “Yes, of course, because we need a partner that benefits from the project ... Is it the only one? No.”

China first proposed a railway to link Brazil’s Atlantic coast with Peru’s Pacific coast several years ago to help it reduce costs of importing commodities from resource-rich South America. But in 2016 Peru balked at the USD 60 billion price tag China estimated to build it, including USD 35 billion for the Peru leg. Since then, landlocked Bolivia has taken the lead on reviving talks on alternate routes that would pass through its territory, which would help reduce its reliance on historic foe Chile to ship its exports.

In December, Peru’s government put the cost of the Peruvian portion of the revised project at about USD 7.5 billion.

Mr Vizcarra said that “We’re going to take another look, because since then studies have continued, so we’ll have more elements to make decisions,” adding that he plans to discuss the project with Bolivian President Evo Morales later this month.

Mr Vizcarra, who was previously vice president and transportation minister, took office a year ago when his predecessor resigned in a graft scandal. Since then, he has governed as an investor-friendly pragmatist in the midst of an increasingly heated rivalry between China and the United States.

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Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Tue, 21 May 2019
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