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GE latest sponsor of US Expo plans

GENERAL Electric has become the biggest sponsor for the United States Pavilion at the 2010 Expo, amid other sponsors 3M, Dell and the USA-China Education, Science & Culture Association.

A representative of Franklin L. Lavin, co-chairman of the steering committee for the US Pavilion, told Shanghai Daily yesterday they are now "very optimistic" that the US can collect enough money to participate in the Expo.

The representative, surnamed Wang, said negotiations are going on with other corporations over a total of US$40 million in further sponsorship money. The total cost of the pavilion is budgeted at US$61 million.

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

A US law prohibits the US government from funding the Expo pavilion, so it must be built with private investment. The US Expo team has said all corporations, including those outside the US, can donate money for the 2010 event.

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.

She declined to say how much money has been collected for the pavilion so far.

Zhong Luyin, from GE's public relations team, also declined to disclose the size of the donation.

The US, which has only made an oral confirmation for participation in the 2010 event, 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.

"Both the Chinese government and the Expo organizer fully support US participation in the Expo," Wang said.

Zhong Yanqun, full-time deputy director of the World Expo 2010 Shanghai Executive Committee, has urged all the Expo participants to begin the construction of their pavilions before the end of June, otherwise they can only rent a standard pavilion or hold exhibitions in joint pavilions, according to a previous Xinhua report.

The Website of the US Expo team says the design for the US Pavilion has been finalized, and states the pavilion will require a 5,600-square-meter plot.


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