Mexico to discuss cancelled $4.87 billion train contract

Mexico to discuss cancelled $4.87 billion train contract
A suburban train passes by a house in the Tlalnepantla de Baz borough of Mexico City.

MEXICO CITY - Mexico's transportation minister will meet with Chinese government officials on Monday to discuss the cancellation of a US$3.75 billion (S$4.87 million) high-speed rail contract that was awarded to a Chinese-led consortium, Mexico said on Sunday.

The deal for the project, which had earlier this month been granted to a group led by China Railway Construction , the sole bidder, was abruptly revoked after opposition lawmakers claimed it was fixed.

Local media later revealed that a Mexican group in the consortium owned a US$7 million house that Pena Nieto's wife was in the process of acquiring, raising questions about a possible conflict of interest in the bidding process.

The Monday meeting will take place in China, where Mexico's communications and transportation minister Gerardo Ruiz Esparza will also discuss Mexican plans to build a US$10 billion state-owned and privately operated mobile network, according to a statement from the ministry.

Mexico's government, which has already received a bid for the project, is aiming to publish the initial terms of the tender to build and run the network in December and pick a winner in mid-2015.

Chinese authorities have shown a lot of interest in the network, the statement added.

Ruiz Esparza has said he expects to re-run the rail tender in late Nov under the same terms.

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