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McCollum Statement on U.S. Wants to Compete for a World Expo Act

April 25, 2017
Statements For the Record

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of the U.S. Wants to Compete for a World Expo Act (H.R. 534).

World Expos are gatherings of millions of people from around the globe exploring ideas, innovation and international understanding. A World Expo is a months-long event that highlights the very best that the host city and nation has to offer in science, technology, innovation, and culture. It is no wonder that states and cities across the United States are interested in competing on the global stage and hosting a World Expo. A city that hosts a World Expo instantly becomes a global destination.

My home state of Minnesota is competing against Buenos Aires, Argentina and Lodz, Poland to host the 2023 World Expo. Minnesota’s bid intends to focus on health innovation based on the theme “Health and Wellness.” Minnesota’s healthcare industry is advanced, global, and innovative – and it deserves the spotlight.  Hosting the World Expo in 2023 would be a remarkable event for the people of my state.

Unfortunately, an American state or city competing to host a World Expo is currently at an almost insurmountable disadvantage because the United States is not a member of the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE) — the governing body for World Expos.  Unless Congress affirmatively authorizes the State Department to rejoin the BIE, from which the United States withdrew almost two decades ago, it is unlikely that Minnesota or any other state or city will be awarded a World Expo.

The U.S. Wants to Compete for a World Expo Act is a bipartisan effort that levels the playing field. It authorizes the Secretary of State to take the steps to rejoin the BIE immediately. By ending this harmful self-imposed isolation from the BIE, the United States will once again be in a position to host a World Expo and showcase the innovation, culture, and beauty of our great nation.

Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 534, legislation that lets our country compete for the many benefits provided by hosting a World Expo. I yield back.