Paging Tom Friedman, Cont.

It’s behind the paywall, but the free sample from this WSJ piece from yesterday on China’s inability to complete a major construction project in Poland is enough to get what’s going on.

Friedman, and his ilk, who are absolutely gobsmacked by China’s infrastructure building need to ask themselves why one of their major companies can’t finish this project. The article hints that it’s Europes regulations that have stymied the latest Asian tiger:

The project raises questions about Beijing’s strategy of pitching state-directed construction firms as the low-cost solution to the world’s infrastructure needs. Premier Wen Jiabao recently cited the “mutual benefit” of a Chinese role in U.S. infrastructure construction. In Warsaw in April, Mr. Wen announced a $10 billion credit line to fund infrastructure, technology and energy projects in Central and Eastern Europe.

A Chinese company is supplying replacement spans for the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, and another has a joint venture with an American partner that is refurbishing New York City’s Alexander Hamilton Bridge for $407 million.

When Chinese construction firms work at home or in Africa, the jobs are often monumental but subject to little regulatory oversight. In the two U.S. bridge projects, meanwhile, Chinese builders worked with U.S. partners and had more limited roles.

For the Polish highway, by contrast, Covec was hired to manage a complex project from beginning to end in a European Union nation, including design, financing and construction within tight regulatory confines. It failed.

It failed. Just like their monumental infrastructure projects back in China.

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