By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Bill now needs to be passed by the Senate before being sent to President Donald Trump to be signed into law
The US Congress has approved plans to fund the US pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai and sent the bill on to the US Senate to approve before it goes to US President Trump, according to government documents.
According to a full text of the bill posted on the website of Congress, the bill approves that the US Department of State make funds available in 2020 and 2021 “a cost-matching basis, to the maximum extent practicable, from sources other than the United States government.
The bill also outlines the various obligations, analyses and estimates that will have to be met ahead of and during the event, as well as a final report to be submitted less than 180 days after the US pavilion opens. This will include the number of US businesses that participated and the amount of funding that was received.
Currently, the US State Department and other government entities are legally prohibited from providing funding for capital expenditures or operational expenses associated with US pavilions or exhibits at world expos.
The White House and US Pavilion organisers, however, have requested that the US lawmakers waive those regulations and provide emergency funding for the 2020 event
Speaking in support of the bill, Congressmen Dean Phillips of Minnesota said that “for generations, the United States has showcased our leadership, innovation, and industrial advancement through brilliant displays called pavilions at world expos around the world.”
Phillips added that the US is the only G7 nation that relies on private donations to guarantee its presence at world expos, and the only one that relies on private funding for expo pavilions.
“Over a 6-month period, the US will showcase our values and our commitment to rule of law,” he said. “Without the United States’ attendance at important international forums like the World Expo, we risk losing out to countries like China and Russia.”
“This is a bill that we ask everybody to support. It is good for America. It is good for American business, and it is great for national security,” Phillips added.
To date, no work has been conducted on the US pavilion, with organisers saying that they want the project to be fully-funded first.
In an interview with Arabian Business, Steven McCarthy, the chairman and CEO of Além International Management, a US-firm tapped by the State Department as the pavilion’s ‘implementation partner’, said that he believed it is not too late to “get this done still.”
“We’d originally hoped we’d get a shovel in the ground about now, but we need to make sure this is going to be fully-funded before we do that,” he said.
To secure additional funding, Além has reached out to US companies, corporations, universities and private individuals.