By Shane McGinley
International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, will attend the UK pavilion's groundbreaking ceremony
Expo 2020 Dubai will be the United Kingdom’s first major international event as a truly independent nation after completing Brexit negotiations and leaving the European Union later this year, a senior British government minister said ahead of the groundbreaking ceremony for the country’s pavilion.
“As the first major international moment after we leave the EU, Expo 2020 Dubai will mark the UK becoming a truly independent trading nation,” the UK’s Secretary of State for International Trade, Dr Liam Fox, was quoted as saying in a press statement on the government’s official website.
The UK voted in a referendum in June 2016 to leave the EU and, after lengthy negotiations and several unsuccessful votes in the British parliament, the deadline now set for the country to leave is October 31, 2019.
Fox will attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the UK’s Expos 2020 Dubai pavilion on Thursday, June 27, officially marking the start of construction. Pico, a global leader in total brand activation, and British construction firm McLaren will be involved in the construction of 3,417 square metre, two-level pavilion.
“The Expo provides a global platform to showcase our ambition for the future, and our participation provides excellent opportunities for UK businesses that have already won major contracts. I am delighted that our newly appointed construction partners Pico and McLaren will be working with our design team to bring the best of British creativity, innovation and expertise to the world,” Fox added.
“The UAE and the UK have long enjoyed a robust, mutually-beneficial relationship that will continue to thrive as we forge partnerships across all sectors, from trade and tourism to art, technology and education. Expo 2020 Dubai will provide a strong platform to expand those partnerships, and we congratulate the UK as it begins the construction of this dramatic, artistic, AI-inspired pavilion,” Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General, Expo 2020 Dubai Bureau, was quoted as saying in the press release.
The UK pavilion will be located within the ‘Opportunity’ and was designed by award-winning British artist Es Devlin.
Expo 2020 Dubai in April announced it had invited all 192 countries “without exception” to take part in the event next year, making it the most inclusive and international Expo ever organised.
“We have invited all countries in the world without exception, in line with our commitment to making Expo 2020 Dubai a truly international event and platform for all of humanity,” an official Expo 2020 Dubai spokesperson said in a statement.
“For more than 170 years, World Expos have been apolitical events focused on furthering humanity for the common good through innovation, cultural exchange, creativity and collaboration. We are proud to continue that tradition,” the statement added.
Expo 2020 Dubai will run from October 20, 2020 to April 20, 2021 and it is estimated the event will attract 25 million visitors to the UAE. The Dubai government is planning to spend around $40 billion on major projects related to the event.