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Expo participants meet to get festival updates

2009. 23 September

By Wang Zhenghua and Tang Zhihao
( Foreign participants in the 2010 Shanghai World Expo lauded China's role as organizer, as they gathered in the city to learn more about the preparations for the historic fair.

The fourth and last Shanghai Expo participants' meeting, to be held today and tomorrow, will attract approximately 600 representatives from more than 240 nations and international organizations, cities and companies.
All will be given updated information about the 2010 event.

"There are a lot of expectations and information which we hope will be delivered during the two days," Finland's expo commissioner general Pertti Huitu said. "We have worked out a list of questions about the expo that could be shared by all European countries and we hope we can find answers."

China's expo organizers have been very professional, he said.

Organizers have become "more skilled, more experienced and more flexible," as the expo logistics grow.

"It is why we have not found any big bottlenecks. It is quite common in expo projects," Huitu said on the sidelines of Monday's topping ceremony for the nation's three-floor pavilion named Kirnu, or Giant's kettle.

Jose Villarreal, US commissioner-general for the 2010 Expo, zeroed in on the patience that China showed and the support it has provided to involve the world's largest economy in the 2010 party.

The US is blocked from using government dollars for any expo, due to a 1991 law banning this practice. Therefore, there was much speculation about whether the US would take part in the Shanghai expo, but US officials finally confirmed its attendance in July.

"We went through a very difficult period early on in getting the requisite commitments to confirm our participation in the expo and the Chinese authorities were enormously patient and accommodating. For that we are very, very grateful," Villarreal said.

"And they worked with us every step along the way to make it possible for us to put in place things needed to make the commitments We have gotten complete and total support and we are more than happy about the kind of support from expo authorities," he added.

The US has raised about two-thirds of the $61 million it needs to build its pavilion and is looking to use the event as a catalyst to encourage more travel to China.

Yaffa Ben-Ari, Israel's deputy commissioner-general to the Shanghai Expo, said the great job of the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination has soothed her concerns that the construction of her country's pavilion might be delayed.

"I would like to show my appreciation to the Shanghai expo bureau for its significant work. Its coordination work helped me make everything work," she said. "Its grand effort makes all the ways together in harmonious and on time."

San Marino, one of the world's smallest countries, hopes the expo will help promote the country's image in China.

"It is rare for us to attend a World Expo. Shanghai Expo is a very important event," said Mauro Maiani, commissioner-general of San Marino to 2010 Expo.

"It is recognition of the friendship between San Marino and China. I think through the expo San Marino will become well known in China," he said.