Aecon would be prevented from working on the new Gordie Howe International Bridge connecting Windsor and Detroit if it’s acquired by a Chinese state-owned firm currently seeking Ottawa’s approval for a takeover, The Globe and Mail reports.
The Toronto-based contractor is part of a consortium that is bidding to build and manage the massive $4.8-billion bridge, a critical crossing to speed up the movement of goods and people between the United States and Canada.
Senior federal sources told the newspaper the Trudeau government has made the decision that it would be unacceptable for any U.S. administration – but particularly one led by President Donald Trump, who regards China as a security and trade threat – to have one of the most important infrastructure projects connecting both countries to be built and run by a Chinese government-backed firm.
The winning bidder in the competition to construct the Gordie Howe crossing would manage it for the next 30 years as part of a design-build-operate contract.
If the Chinese takeover is approved, China would have access to key data on the flow of goods and people, including military components and armed forces traffic between Canada and the United States. One official described the data as a treasure trove of information that would be available to a hostile state, according to the report.
China Communications Construction Co. Ltd. (CCCC) — 63 per cent owned by the Chinese government — acquired Aecon for $1.5-billion in October, pending government approval.
The Trudeau cabinet in February issued a special national security review order to prolong Ottawa’s scrutiny of the Aecon deal.