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Chiang seeking US Expo role

AN esteemed Chinese-American businessman is seeking authorization from the US government to become the organizer of the proposed US Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo, which is due to open on May 1, 2010.

"I have secured US$100 million in loans for investing in the US pavilion project at the Shanghai World Expo, and already filed an application to the State Department for representing the United States at the event," James I. C. Chiang said at his Los Angeles residence.

The 88-year-old oil industry executive, who has successfully invested in previous World Expos, said he expects a positive response from the State Department.

Chiang said he was planning to meet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington to discuss his plan and he was confident he will get presidential authorization to be the US pavilion's organizer.

A private organizing team for the US pavilion has so far failed to raise enough money to begin construction, and there are fears both in China and the US that the world's largest economy could be absent from the six-month international exhibition.

The contract between the previous organizer and the State Department expired on March 31 because of its failure to comply with the construction schedule, according to Chiang, who said it was time for the government to authorize a new organizer.

Under US law, public funds can't be used for events such as the World Expo and the government can only authorize private organizers to represent the country at international exhibitions.

The US failed to attend World Expos in the past due to funding difficulties, including the 2000 Hanover World Expo in Germany. The US pavilion at the 2005 World Expo in Aichi, Japan, was partly funded by Toyota.

Chiang said he had promised a profit for investors in the US pavilion project.

It will mainly target Chinese visitors, he said.


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