US pavilion at Expo 2020 on course for funding from government
For the first time in more than 25 years, the US pavilion at a World Expo is on the path to receiving federal funding.
The House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday to authorise the State Department to use federal funds to build the pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. Introducing the bill, Dean Phillips, a congressman, said the US was the only G7 country that relied entirely on private funding to build a pavilion at the world expo. “For generations, the United States has showcased our leadership, innovation and industrial advancement through brilliant displays called pavilions at world expos around the world,” he said.
Urging fellow house representatives to support the passage of the Expositions Provide Opportunities Act, or the Expo Act, he said without a substantial presence at world fairs, the US had left a vacuum that was being filled by Russia and China.
The bill’s passage paved the way for American cities to host world expos, said Mr Phillips.
He represents the third district of Minnesota, which includes Bloomington, a city keen to host the 2027 World Expo.
“A critical component in competing for host city status is a country’s pavilion at the current world expo,” he told the House.
“In this case, the next opportunity to make the case for an American host city is the Dubai 2020 World Expo.”
Several countries have broken ground on their pavilions at the Dubai South Expo site.
The US had to delay construction after a private consortium was unable to raise $60 million (Dh220.3m) needed to build and maintain their pavilion.
Unlike many governments that aside budgets to finance participation in world expos, a US law passed in the 1990s prevents federal funds being used without approval from Congress.
After a vote in the Senate, the bill will need to be signed by President Donald Trump.
Philip Frayne, US Consul General in Dubai, previously told The National he was confident funding would come through. He said the US expo team was working to lower the budget estimate with a new design that would reduce costs.
Described as futuristic when plans were unveiled last year, the US pavilion will be housed in the mobility section of the expo, with space exploration as a major theme.
The first expo in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region will run from October next year until April 2021.
The US passed a law in the 1990s that prevents federal funds being used for world expos without approval from Congress