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13 Countries Confirm They Will Join Expo
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A month after China sent out invitations to 166 countries and nearly 50 international organizations to take part in the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, 13 nations and one UN organization have decided to set up pavilions at the fair.


So far, France, Canada, Ukraine, Bahrain, Mali, Cambodia, Mauritania, Algeria, the Congo, Hungary, Switzerland, New Zealand and Cuba as well as the Secretariat of Convention on Biological Diversity have confirmed they will take part in the event, Shanghai Vice Mayor Yang Xiong announced yesterday at a press conference in Beijing.


Organizers say they are very pleased with the response to invitations so far. The city hasn't set a deadline for confirming participation.


Yang said many other countries have contacted Expo organizers to discuss participation and some have appointed Expo commission generals to coordinate with the local organizers.


"Hopefully, more countries and international organizations will come to the Expo and join hands with us to turn it into a grand gathering," Yang said.


There is no word yet on whether the United States will take part in the event. The US is no longer a member of the Bureau of International Expositions, but the city is eager to have America take part.


The government plans to sign up 12 to 20 senior corporate sponsors for the event, and 10 to 15 partners -- companies that put up money as well as playing a role in organizing the event. Yang didn't say how many of those companies will be Chinese and how many will be foreign corporations.


"We will provide certain preferential tax treatment to the Expo sponsors," Yang said, adding detailed tax policies will soon be published on the Expo Website (www.expo2010china.com).


"Our marketing efforts have been warmly received by famous enterprises from home and abroad so far," Yang said. "We are also making in-depth contacts with famous enterprises in the telecommunications, finance, insurance, petrochemical, automobile and other trades and sectors."


He credited the warm response to the Expo to its "theme of global concern," central location in downtown Shanghai, and strong marketing plan.


The theme of the Expo is "better city, better life." As part of that theme, organizers will invite city government officials from around the world to exhibit their ideas and plans concerning urban development and future development tendencies.


Yang said that phase one of the construction of the Expo site is near completion with the relocation of 18,000 households and 272 companies to be finished by the end of June.


"We are committed to protecting the legitimate rights of the residents who have to move," Yang said, adding that the housing where they have been moved to is bigger and better.


Yang said the relocated residents will primarily live in the Pujiang World Expo residential area and Sanlin World Expo residential area, which have a total floor space of two million square meters.


(Shanghai Daily April 25, 2006)

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