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General Electric Inks High-Speed Rail Deal With Chinese Government

8:40 AM PST on November 18, 2009

While President Obama grappled with
political concerns during his trip to China this week, General Electric
was busy signing technology-sharing agreements with Beijing partners --
including a high-speed rail pact that positions GE to leap ahead of its
competitors in the race for business from the Obama administration's
bullet train rollout.

china_high_speed_rail_plans_economic_stimulus.jpgOne of China's high-speed rail cars. (Photo: TreeHugger)

The deal involves a net gain for both parties. GE plans to share its low-emissions Evolution Series
technology with CSR Qishuyan, China's biggest diesel locomotives
company, while China's Ministry of Railways will license high-speed
rail technology to GE.

And given American policymakers' concerns
that U.S. "high-speed" trains will be too slow to compete with overseas
models, it's worth underscoring that the GE-China deal has a target
speed of 350 kilometers per hour, or about 220 mph.

The deal,
which GE says could provide up to 3,500 U.S. jobs, requires 80 percent
of the materials for high-speed rail construction and 100 percent of
the assembly to come from American sources. From the statement issued
by Tim Schweikert, president of GE Transportation China:

Rail in the U.S. and in markets worldwide is a significant opportunity
for infrastructure and business growth. With the signing of today's
framework agreement, GE and China’s Ministry of Railways have provided
the basis for a cooperation-focused framework that will enhance
economic development, create new jobs and promote research and
development for high-speed railway technology.
While GE
currently is the world leader in locomotive diesel-electric and
electronic control systems technology, China currently is a leader in
high-speed rail technology for speeds of 220 miles per hour. Working
together, both parties could develop the best solutions faster to serve
America’s high-speed rail needs for many years to come.

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