Panama Canal expansion stops amid dispute

PANAMA CITY — Work on the ambitious Panama Canal expansion project has halted after talks broke down on how to settle a dispute over $1.6 billion in cost overruns.

The canal’s administrator says the stoppage will give authorities time to analyze how to proceed on the project to widen the canal.

Jorge Quijano told a news conference Wednesday that “what I want to make clear is that we will not yield to blackmail.”

The Spanish-led construction consortium leading the expansion says negotiations have broken down for how to finance the cost overrun.

Spanish firm Sacyr SA says 10,000 jobs are at risk. Italy’s Impreglio SpA construction firm is also in the consortium.

The consortium and the Panama Canal Authority blame each other for the overruns.

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