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RIO DE JANEIRO (Kyodo) Brazil said Thursday it will push back the bidding deadline for its high-speed rail project a second time until July 11 and will announce the winners on July 29, a local report said.

The previous deadline was April 11.

Japanese and European companies are balking at taking part in the rail project in the belief that Brazil is overestimating demand for the service as well as the construction costs.

Brazil originally intended to accept bids last November, hoping to launch construction in early 2012 so the service would be available by the 2014 World Cup soccer tournament and the 2016 Olympics to be held there.

South Korean and Chinese businesses remain interested, with South Korean firms reportedly determined to get the contracts regardless of whether they will pay off, thanks to backing from President Lee Myung Bak’s government, Japanese industry sources said.

Brazil plans to construct a 510-km rail link between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo at 33.1 billion real (about ¥1.78 trillion).

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