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Chinese builders wanted in the US

By Lillian Liu in San Francisco | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-06-23 09:40

Chinese infrastructure techniques are urgently needed to rehabilitate America's poorly maintained and in some cases dilapidated bridges and road system, industry experts from both countries agree.

The fact that the US, the world's most economically and technologically powerful country, should import fast-train know-how from a developing China, reflects a new normal for China-US cooperation and communication.

That notion was stressed at the 2017 US-China Transportation Cooperation Forum, held in San Francisco yesterday.

"China and the US cooperation on the infrastructure front is posed to become the new highlight in the trade engagement between the two countries," Luo Linquan, China's consul general to San Francisco, said in a keynote speech at the forum.

"California along with its neighboring states has especially close trade relations with China," he added. "The import and export volume between this region and China has mounted to more than $201 billion in 2016. "The One Belt, One Road Initiative was conceived in China but it provides a global platform for economic development for all the countries participating," he said.

Chad Edison, deputy secretary for transportation at California's state transportation agency, said the transportation system in the state, which he described as "not as efficient as it should be", could be improved with Chinese builders, know-how and services.

Chinese infrastructure companies expressed interest in getting involved in the improvements. Michael Lee, president of China Railway Signal & Communication Corp, said he hoped to build the group's "second home" in the US.

"American infrastructure may be outdated, but the country has very high industry standards. Those high standards help Chinese companies learn and grow," Lee said at the forum, which had more than 200 Chinese and American government officials and infrastructure company delegates participating.

US president Donald Trump has announced a $1 trillion in new spending on roads, bridges and other construction during the next decade.

The US civil engineering association estimated the country would need to invest $3.6 trillion to build and upgrade infrastructures nationwide by 2020. That would open opportunities for cooperation with foreign builders.

Experts at the forum concluded that the two governments' very different attitudes toward infrastructure and how it would affect the economy have become an inevitable hurdle.

They also pointed out that the language barrier and cultural differences have made their work in the US a rather bumpy ride at times.

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