Last year, the Argentine president Cristina Fernandez inaugurated 55 brand new trains of the Sarmiento and Mitre railway, which are among the most used in the country. Such trains, which were manufactured by the Chinese firm CSR Sifang , required an investment of $1,280 million.
In his show Periodismo Para Todos, Jorge Lanata reported an astonishing discovery about this investment. After reviewing the involved contract, Lanata’s team uncovered a pattern of systematic overcharging by CSR Sifang. The following are only some of the examples of the outrageous prices charged by the Chinese company:
- The cost of each passenger seat in the Chinese trains was found to be $433. According to the market research done by Lanata’s team, the same exact seats could have been purchased in the local market for $480 (Argentine pesos). Under today’s exchange rate, which has remained fairly stable for the last year, $480 Argentine pesos is equivalent to $54 dollars.
- The cost of the conductor’s sit in the Chinese trains was found to be $1,875. The same exact seat could have been purchased in the local market for $678.
- The cost of the microphone used by the conductor to communicate with the passengers was $509 (For each of the 55 trains). The same exact microphone could have been purchased in the local market for $50 dollars.
- The cost of the windshield wipers of each train was $10,875. It was found that these windshield wipers were very similar to the ones found in any Volkswagen Gol (the most popular car in Argentina). Ironically, the price of the windshield wipers in the Chinese trains is equivalent to the price of the windshield wipers in a Volkswagen Gol PLUS the whole car behind them… yea.
Clearly, someone in China is making a lot of money out of their relationship with Argentina.
Source: Periodismo Para Todos