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US Pavilion finds 5th sponsor

2009. 27 May

( The United States is hopeful about signing up to the 2010 Shanghai World Expo by the end of June, an official for a US steering committee said yesterday as Yum! Brands Inc became the fifth sponsor to help build a US Pavilion, following GE, 3M, Dell and the USA-China Education, Science &Culture Association.

Although the Expo organizer has not set a deadline for the US to confirm participation, the US Expo team is now "very optimistic" that the US can collect enough money to take part in the Expo by the end of June, said Felix Wong, director of the International Marketing and Partnerships Department of the US steering committee.

Wong also released the theme of the country's planned Expo pavilion - "Rise to the Challenges."

"It was a great challenge for the US to collect funds for its Expo pavilion during the global financial crisis, but we believe the country will be able to showcase itself at the first Expo in China," Wong told local media.

The US has only made an oral confirmation for participation in the 2010 event while up to 190 countries and 48 International organizations have confirmed participation.

A US law prohibits the US government from funding the Expo pavilion, so it must be built with private money.

The US has already cut its Expo budget from US$85 million to US$61 million. It will sign a contract with the Expo organizer if and when this sum of money is collected, according to the steering committee.

The US team has said all corporations, including those outside the US, can donate money for the 2010 event.

A representative of Franklin L. Lavin, co-chairman of the steering committee for the US pavilion, told Shanghai Daily yesterday that negotiations were going on with other corporations for a further US$40 million of sponsorship money.

The representative, surnamed Wang, declined to say how much money had been collected for the pavilion so far and described it as a "business secret."

Staff at Yum!, the owner and operator of KFC and Pizza Hut, also declined to disclose the size of its donation.

The US business community in Shanghai responded well after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote a letter to the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai on March 30 to urge local US corporations to "strongly support" the Shanghai event, said Wang.

The USA-China Education, Science &Culture Association, which signed a contract with the steering committee earlier this month to sponsor the pavilion, is also canvassing companies and institutions for donations, Wang said.

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