Honduras seeks Chinese investors for $20 billion transoceanic rail project
The Honduran government has announced its intention to seek Chinese investors for a proposed $20 billion rail project that would connect the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the Central American nation.
The rail project is part of a broader trade and investment push between Honduras and China, which established diplomatic relations in March after Honduras severed its ties with Taiwan.
Honduran Economic Development Minister Fredy Cerrato told reporters on Friday that he presented the rail project and other infrastructure initiatives to Chinese officials during a visit to Beijing.
“We presented (Chinese officials) with the projects that Honduras is interested in getting financed, that are vital for the development of our country,” Cerrato said.
He said the projects included building dams and power generation facilities, as well as the transoceanic train, which would also enhance the country’s electric system.
Cerrato said the Chinese officials showed interest in the projects, which could be developed using both public and private funds.
Free trade talks underway
The rail project announcement comes as Honduras and China are negotiating a first-ever free trade agreement that would link their economies.
Cerrato said the talks were progressing well and that both sides hoped to conclude them by the end of the year.
He said the free trade deal would open up new markets for Honduran products, such as coffee, bananas, shrimp, palm oil and textiles, and also attract more Chinese investment and tourism to Honduras.
He said Honduras was also interested in joining China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a global infrastructure and development strategy that aims to connect Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America.
The minister said Honduras was grateful for China’s support in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, which has hit the country hard. He said China had donated vaccines, medical supplies and equipment to Honduras, as well as offered technical assistance and training.
He said Honduras was also looking forward to cooperating with China on environmental issues, such as climate change, biodiversity and renewable energy.
The minister said the bilateral relationship between Honduras and China was based on mutual respect, trust and benefit, and that Honduras hoped to deepen its friendship and cooperation with China in various fields.
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