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Shanghai promises "active role" in bringing U.S. to World Expo
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10:23, March 04, 2009

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Shanghai is to actively help bring the United States to the Shanghai World Expo 2010 as the deadline for inking exhibit contract is just about a month away, said Hong Hao, director of the Expo coordination bureau, on Tuesday.

"The U.S. government has authorized an institution to raise fund for attendance to the Expo," Hong said, giving no details on the institution.

"We'll make joint efforts with the U.S. government to enable the country to come," said Hong, a deputy to the National People's Congress (NPC), which is to start its annual session Thursday.

Unlike most other countries, the United States must privately fund the exhibit. A 1991 U.S. law prohibits government financing of such events.

There was no U.S. exhibit at the 2000 Expo in Hanover, Germany, nor at the one in Zaragoza, Spain last year. In 2005, the U.S. pavilion at the Aichi, Japan Expo was built only with help from a big company.

The U.S. government orally assured its participation in the Shanghai Expo in October 2006. However, no agreement in written form has been signed to confirm its attendance yet.

Participants must sign an exhibit contract with the Expo organizing committee by April 15, according to Hong.

"Shanghai expected to see the United States at the Expo," Hong said.

The United States played an important role in the history of urban development. It is an excellent example of the theme of the World Expo 2010, "Better City, Better Life", the Expo Coordination Bureau said last month.

No possible participants to the Expo has announced a quit due to the global economic turmoil, said Zhou Hanmin, deputy director of the Expo's executive committee on Tuesday.

He said 185 countries and 46 international organizations have confirmed to attend the six-month long Expo so far.

"The Expo will treat every participant equally," Hong said. He promised to offer better exhibit conditions amid the international financial downturn.

The Expo is on track to be the largest fair of its kind since the first World's Fair, known as the Great Exhibition, the predecessor event of the Expo, was held in London in 1851.

The Shanghai expo, due to be held from May 1 to Oct. 31 next year, is expected to attract 70 million visitors.

With the theme of "Better City, Better Life", the Expo will showcase the best examples and ideas about urban development. The organizers will also establish an on-line expo that will allow people around the world access to the event.

Source: Xinhua

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