MEXICO CITY, Feb 10 (Reuters) - A consortium led by state-owned China Railway Construction Corp (CRCC) asked Mexico to compensate it for costs it incurred in bidding for a scrapped $3.75 billion high-speed rail tender.
The CRCC-led consortium, which the government said on Monday provided it with a list of the costs, was the sole bidder on the train project, one of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto’s flagship infrastructure efforts
However, the project was scrapped late last year amid a conflict-of-interest scandal involving the president and Mexico’s Grupo Teya, one of the companies in the consortium. The consortium brought together eight companies, three of them units of CRCC.
Mexico relaunched the tender last month, and sources had told Reuters that CRCC was poised to clinch the deal. But the government said late last month that it had shelved the project altogether due to budget cuts.
Last week, CRCC said it planned to seek compensation from the Mexican government. The National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top economic planning agency, urged Mexico to “properly deal with the huge manpower and money Chinese enterprises invested in the project bid.”
In a statement on Monday, Mexico’s Communications and Transport Ministry said the CRCC-led consortium had provided the list of costs incurred during the tender that it wanted repaid, and said it was waiting for receipts as proof.
The list included hotel bills for employees involved in preparing the bid, their salaries and costs involved in the financing of the offer.
The ministry gave no financial details on the compensation sought, and said it would respond to the request in the coming days.
The Chinese government has been working hard to export its high-speed technology abroad after building the world’s longest rail network in a decade. The Mexican contract would have been the largest single overseas construction deal won by a Chinese firm. (Reporting by Gabriel Stargardter; Editing by Simon Gardner and Jonathan Oatis)