Signal failures derail Mexico's hopes of Chinese investment surge
By Gabriel Stargardter
MEXICO CITY, April 20 (Reuters) - Chinese companies are turning their backs on Mexico in a chill that could last years, spooked by the cancellation of two high-profile projects that were supposed to usher in a new era of business between the manufacturing rivals.
Mexico is desperate to get the relationship back on track after its shock scrapping of a multi-billion-dollar high-speed train contract originally awarded to a Chinese-led consortium earlier this year, a move that angered Beijing.
Seeking to wean itself off dependence on the United States and compensate for an oil slump that hammered public finances, Mexico has sought to involve China in a new Mexico City airport, a multi-billion dollar mobile wireless network and its newly opened energy sector.
But after the train debacle and the acrimonious scuttling of a Chinese retail park planned in the resort of Cancun, some firms in China, whose economy is cooling, are deeply wary of Mexico and unlikely to ramp up business with Latin America's second largest economy any time soon.
"At the moment, Chinese companies aren't wanting to invest here. It's dangerous. Really, it's dangerous," said Zhang Nan, chief Mexico representative of FAW, a state-owned car company. He said FAW has no Mexican investments planned.
"If we want to do a new project here, we should do so very carefully," he said his bosses told him after the rail scheme foundered, urging him to view the failed project as a "lesson."
China's ministry of commerce said it had "an open and positive attitude" to Chinese companies working in Mexico and Latin America. Mexico's transport and communications ministry declined to comment.