Remarks on the Shanghai 2010 World Expo

Elizabeth Frawley Bagley
Special Representative, Global Partnership Initiative
Washington, DC
November 9, 2009

MR. CROWLEY: We welcome a student group from Kentucky here to the Department of State.


To start you off, happy Monday to everybody. We thought – we’re going to preview the Secretary’s travel this week in a slightly different way, because there are two or three different kind of iterations to her trip. Obviously, she’s in Berlin today and participating in various events marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the wall. Then she leaves for Asia, does a part of the travel by herself, and then joins up with the President for his visits to key capitals this week. And the White House is giving a background briefing on the President’s activities this afternoon at 3 o’clock.


But we thought to start off today, we’ll have a special briefing on specifically the Shanghai Expo, which will be one of the locations that the Secretary will visit this weekend when she arrives in China and in Shanghai. Tomorrow, we’re also going to do a special briefing on her stop in the Philippines; obviously, the Philippines a very important ally to the United States, but one that has been hammered by weather over the course of this year. And we’ve got a lot of activity going on on the ground to help our colleagues in the Philippines recover from those disasters.


But to start off, we have Ambassador Elizabeth Bagley, who is our Special Representative for Global Partnerships. The Secretary, in many of her speeches, has talked about the concept of partnerships, the fact that in the 21st century, in solving the major challenges that we face in the world, not all of those solutions are going to come from governments. In many cases, they can, but in some cases, it’ll be a collaboration that might involve governments, nongovernmental organizations or a private initiative. And Elizabeth is at the forefront of those efforts. She’ll describe a little bit more broadly what her office is up to. But very specifically today, we thought it was important for her to outline what has been happening with the Shanghai Expo, obviously a manifestation of the importance of the relationship between China and the United States and the commitment that the United States has to that relationship and also to Asia as a whole.


So Elizabeth, you want to start us off? Thank you very much.


AMBASSADOR BAGLEY: Thanks, P.J. Thank you all, and welcome to Kentucky. I’ll – as P.J. said, I’ll talk a little bit about and answer, of course, any questions you have about our new office. But first, let me just run through the facts as we know them on the 2010 Shanghai Expo.


It will run from – many of you know – in Shanghai from May 1st to October 31st, and it’s the largest expo in history, and the first ever hosted by China. During its six-month operation, it is expected to attract 70 million visitors, most of whom are Chinese, more than any expo in the 150 years of expo history.


To date, 190 countries and 48 international organizations have accepted invitations to attend. The theme for the expo is “Better City, Better Life,” and it will present a vision of a sustainable, healthy, prosperous world in the 21st century. There will be, of course, an exposition of American values, culture, business. This is, of course, China’s most dynamic city, so it’s very important to be there and to bring our own American businesses in as partners. The Secretary is very committed to this. She has been since she went to China in February, right – soon after she was sworn in.


The Chinese have been extremely supportive; in fact, urging us to be part of this expo, and we – and they have been our partners throughout. And it is, of course, a very important manifestation of our relationship with them, of our bilateral relationship and also of our commercial diplomacy, because it’s very important to have our American businesses support and participate in this in order to get into the Chinese economy and also to express the importance of American culture, our diversity, our freedom. And it’s a great opportunity for us to show public diplomacy and also commercial diplomacy and to show what our values, our core values, are to the Chinese people. That’s pretty much – I can answer questions on that.


There’s a 501(c)(3), just so you know, that the funds are private funds. So we’re raising money from corporations, because there’s a piece of legislation in the early ‘90s that prohibited any public funds. So we are raising – $61 million is our goal. We’ve raised 45 million of that. So we’re still – any of you who want to contribute are most welcome. We’re – we have some major – wonderful major corporations, great participation. We’re in the middle of hopefully closing this off.


The Secretary will be visiting. As P.J. said, she will be in Shanghai on Sunday and will visit the site on Monday and we’ll have our sponsors there, so we’ll encourage – thank them all, of course, and encourage those who haven’t decided to participate to join our efforts.


That’s pretty much – just a final – just to let you know that the progression of events – there was a participation agreement that was signed in June, in the end of June. A visit – Commissioner General Jose Villarreal was also appointed in April, I believe it was. Shanghai Expo 2010 is the 501(c)(3) that is accepting the contributions. Groundbreaking in July by Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, which was very successful, and also a topping-off ceremony, where they actually finished the construction of the frame, and apparently have a broom and a U.S. flag that they bring. And that was done – officiated by our new Ambassador Jon Huntsman, who also said if you’re not – if businesses are not here, they’re not players. So he has been very forthcoming, very excited about this, and has encouraged participation by the business community both in Beijing and Shanghai.


To just go through a little bit about what we’re doing – in fact, this is probably one of the best examples of public-private partnerships. It’s – the public being the State Department, along with our 501(c)(3) and with our friends in business, have put together a really important partnership that will, I think, show the importance not only of our U.S. bilateral relationship with the U.S. – between the U.S. and China, but also the importance of our companies in a commercial diplomacy.


Beyond what we’re doing at Shanghai Expo, we have a whole host of issues that we’re working on in terms of developing priorities, fulfilling the priorities that the Secretary and the President have already set forth such as food security, Muslim outreach, women empowerment, diaspora engagement – meaning those ethnic groups that are here in the country and that want to relate to their homeland – not only sending remittances, monies back home, but also we’re engaging in a diasporas corps that will actually help them invest or encourage direct investment, help them to help their relatives in their homelands, their respective homelands. So we’re working – that’s something the Secretary cares very much about. We’re actually working with the Filipino community now in anticipation of the Secretary’s trip to the Philippines.


So that’s just a little bit of what we’re doing. There’s – any of the Secretary’s priorities, we are working together to form and support relationships in the private sector and within – both within government and outside of government, private sector being corporations, NGOs, foundations, diasporas, faith-based communities. So it’s a whole range of actors, non-state actors, non-governmental actors that we’re working with in partnership.


I think it reflects – this is a new office. It is – it reflects the Secretary’s – the importance that she sees in partnerships, the importance the President sees. They both talk about partnerships in almost every speech, mainly because they both acknowledge that government can’t do it alone with the economic crisis and with 9/11 and everything else that we’ve all been faced with. It’s impossible for one government to do everything, even the United States Government. And it’s also impossible for corporations and foundations and NGOs to do it on their own.


So it’s really working together with our core competencies, working with our embassies, our ambassadors, USAID missions on the ground, and working with corporations and foundations on a whole wide range of issues. So it’s a very exciting endeavor, and one I think that really reflects the importance that they see in engaging in the world and forming partnerships throughout.


So again, thank you for – I’d love to answer questions.


QUESTION: Hi, I’m from People’s (inaudible) of China. And (inaudible) and what’s your comments on the efforts made by China for a successful expo? And also, what do you think of the cooperation between U.S. and China on this matter?


AMBASSADOR BAGLEY: To answer your – latter part of your question first, the relationship between the U.S. and China has only been broadened and deepened by this. The Chinese are very, very happy that we are coming. They wanted us to come, but the previous administration had not decided. So when Secretary Clinton made that affirmative decision, we were a little behind because we should have probably had that done a couple years – usually – most of the other countries were in before, and we had to raise the money for it.


But they are very, very excited about our participation. We work with the Ambassador, with Ambassador Zhou here, and he’s been very supportive, talking to businesses. And we have met with Chamber of Commerce, U.S. business – China Business Council. The Ambassador and I usually do the briefings. And it’s been, really, a very supportive, mutually reinforced relationship.


In terms of what China has done – what was the first part of your question? The efforts --


QUESTION: Yeah, it was – yeah, the efforts --




QUESTION: -- made by China for a successful expo?


AMBASSADOR BAGLEY: Well, the efforts were really to talk to the Secretary initially when she first came. And it was really top of their agenda to ask her to consider. There was never a rejection. It was just that the decision had not been made by the previous administration, so it was really that – a very crucial time because we had to get going and raise the money for it.


But February was when they talked to her about it. They had a – actually had put – we – they had designated a site already for the U.S.A. pavilion, which was apparently the best site next to the Chinese pavilion. It anchors the other. The Chinese pavilion is on one side and the U.S. pavilion is on the other. So it was a prime site. The surveys have shown that people want to go to the U.S.A. pavilion. It’s the favorite pavilion for everyone. So I think they really felt very strongly it’s a question of U.S.-China relations, really. It was – it’s very – was very important to them. They made their sentiments known to her, and she agreed.


So we’ve had a very, very mutual – as I say, mutually reinforceable relationship and one in which they have been extremely supportive of our efforts.


QUESTION: Thank you.




QUESTION: Can you confirm that President Obama is going to also visit the site during his upcoming trip to China, and also could you please brief us more specifically about the financial situation, and how much confidence you have that you’re going to raise the money and what specifically is being done to reach that goal?


AMBASSADOR BAGLEY: Well, first of all, I don’t – I can’t speak for the White House, so I think in their briefing, they’ll let you know what exactly his plans are for the trip. The Secretary will be going, definitely, and so we’re looking forward to that. And she will be meeting with our donors and supporters of the companies that will be our partners in this effort.


In terms of – it’s not easy; it hasn’t been easy in this economic crisis that we have throughout the world. Governments are having – facing crises, as well as, as you know, corporations and foundations. So it’s been difficult. We have been really reaching out to our corporate friends to tell them that if they want to do business in China – most of them have or are doing business – that this is very important to the Chinese, it’s very important to us, and it would be a really positive result for them because they can have access to branding, to being part of – they could put their – like GE is very involved with the IP lounge and with in-kind contributions.


There will be a partnership, a sponsors’ wall as you walk in. So they will be saluted at every corner. They – anyone who has a business in China is looking at this very carefully because it is not only important to the Chinese, but it’s a good opportunity for them to show their work and also to show for us the diversity and the importance of the U.S. culture.


So I think for both of them, for the – on the Chinese side and on the U.S. side, it’s an important venture and an opportunity for them to improve. It’s 70 million people. That’s a huge base, customer base, consumer base, and most of them are middle class and they will be looking at this. And if you have a GE or any retail company that wants to show the – wave their own flag, it’s a great opportunity. And it’s six months, unlike the Olympics, which was only, what, three weeks. This is a longer period of time and one which I think they – most of the companies we’ve talked to have indicated a great interest in it. It’s just a question of how much they can – they want to contribute.


Yes, you --


QUESTION: Ms. Bagley --


AMBASSADOR BAGLEY: Both of you, yes.


QUESTION: Ms. Bagley, do you view this as a mini World’s Fair? And to what degree, aside from the pavilion expo, do you view this as more of a commercial-type, trade-type delegation? In other words, not just at Shanghai, but through the country in China to get ongoing projects?


AMBASSADOR BAGLEY: Well, it is a World’s Fair. I guess that’s – it’s a World Expo, so it is a World’s Fair. It’s – we’re not setting up like, booths or anything. So it’s not a trade show in the sense that people go and show their wares or whatever. There are going to be three – or actually four different venues and two major – well, three video presentations. So there are themes of sustainability, lifestyle, health, nutrition, environment, renewable energy. These are all the major themes. Better city, better life is the overall theme of the entire Chinese Expo. So there will be different areas that are devoted to each theme.


So in terms of – if you’re a company like Chevron or GE and you’re involved with renewable energy and sustainability, obviously, this is a really good platform for you. Wal-Mart is very involved there. We have an urban farm on the top – on the rooftop garden and they’re very interested in that. So there’s a lot of opportunity for them to be integrated, their companies, and businesses to be integrated into the overall themes. Does that answer your question?




QUESTION: With – you already, I guess, started answering what I was going to ask, and I was going to ask about the companies that have agreed at this point to participate and things they might be highlighting. And you’ve mentioned Chevron, GE, Wal-Mart. So I’m just looking for anything else you can tell us on what people might be expecting to see when they come to the American pavilion.


AMBASSADOR BAGLEY: What they’re expected to see? Well, the first part is – it’s called the overture, where the President will have a – will welcome – the Secretary of State will welcome – and then they’ll be welcomed from other average people. They can talk about a cowboy or somebody, I think, representing different parts. It’s still being worked on, but there will be ordinary people, as one would say, and famous people. That’s the overture. There will be a sponsors’ wall, an honor wall as you walk in. There’s an outside orchestra area, so there will always be music playing. A lot of entertainment; we’ll have entertainment all – every day.


July 2nd, actually, is our national – quote, unquote – “national” day, where it is a national day for the entire Chinese Expo. So it’s U.S.A. day at Chinese Expo, so every – all the themes, all the entertainment will be American. So we’ll have orchestras from all over the world, student groups, student ambassadors, college students who will be ambassadors. They have to go through a program because they have to be completely Chinese, fluent in Chinese, but there’s a program with USC that’s doing that. So we’ll have our youth there. That’ll be an important part of it.


And then there will be Act I, Act II, and Act III. Act I is called Why Not. It’s the spirit of innovation, so you’ll have people talking about inventing, what they’ve done, and what – how they’ve grown up in the United States, so really emphasizing the importance of the freedom to dream and to fulfill your dreams. And then that goes into another – Act II, which is in a separate venue, separate auditorium. Both of these are seated, and this is more of a – kind of a three-dimensional. It’s called The Garden. It’s about a young girl who sees a lot across the street and looks at it and decides that she’s going to plant a flower and then the rain washes it away and all the people come by and decide that they’re going to help her build a garden. So it’s all about diversity and the spirit of sharing and the team spirit that the United States represents. So all of this is reflective of our basic values.


And the last one is Visions of America, and that will be the themes of the Chinese in America, how successful they have been in this country – the spirit of freedom, sustainability, health and nutrition, as I said before, staying connected, which is the technology – the growth of technology and lifestyle.


So we’re looking at bringing American designers in. We have a lot of ideas of other people that could contribute in various ways. So it’ll be really, I think, very innovative, very creative, very – there will also be a place – a virtual pavilion where you could go in and see what’s happening. And I think it’s going to be – it’s a very interesting looking building. It’s fascinating. And it’ll be, I think, very exciting. There’ll be – upstairs is a VIP lounge and also a room where you can actually do seminars, and they plan to have seminars on various issues and areas where companies can meet with Chinese officials or American officials can come in. So it’s – I think it’s going to be a collaborative effort as well with the Chinese Government and with – and businesses.




QUESTION: Is there a specific website for people to contact and a particular –




QUESTION: -- group to contact?


AMBASSADOR BAGLEY: What is the website? (inaudible) www – Shanghai 2010, maybe. We’ll get that for you. I think it’s Shanghai 2010 – Shanghai Expo 2010, I believe it is. But yeah, we do have a website – or they do, I should say. It’s the 501(c)(3) that has the website that’s being updated as we speak.




QUESTION: Yeah. The United States has been out of the World Expo for quite some time, and participation in the Shanghai Expo – so the U.S. has renewed interest in the World Expo, and that lead people to speculate whether the United States will return to the BIE, the treaty on the world – on expositions – international expositions. And even the United States might be, you know, hosting future World Expo. So what can you tell us about that?


AMBASSADOR BAGLEY: I can’t tell you anything. That’s probably ECA, our Educational Cultural Affairs office under public diplomacy. I have no idea whether they’re – I know they attend BIE meetings. I don’t know if there’s any possibility of returning. Really, you probably have to check with them. That’s kind of beyond my scope, so --


QUESTION: Do you yourself hope that the United States will – might return to the BIE?


AMBASSADOR BAGLEY: Well, I mean, I think we’re doing – we’re involved in every way. I was Ambassador to Portugal during the Lisbon Expo and that – the theme there was oceans, and it was amazing. We had an aquarium which, of course, is still there and it was great for the – for Portugal because they were getting a lot of EU funding and it was really wonderful for them.


And it was great for the United States. And I think they participated – we participated at the time. We had a Commissioner General Tony Coelho who raised the money for it. And I think we had a wonderful relationship with BIE, so I’m not clear where – why they’re not in, and I really don’t know the history of it. I do think that we are everything but being members. I mean, we work with them on all the issues and we’re engaged in attending meetings and everything else. So I’m really – I really don’t – as I said, I don’t know the background on it, so I have no idea whether it is. But in effect, we are as involved and engaged as any member of BIE.




QUESTION: Next week, President Obama will visit China and including Shanghai. And will he go to the place for 2010 Shanghai Expo?


AMBASSADOR BAGLEY: As I – again, there was a question already asked on – the White House is going to give you a briefing --




AMBASSADOR BAGLEY: -- and I can’t really tell you. It’s up to them to discuss.


QUESTION: And both the U.S. and China regard this expo as the new opportunities to strengthen cooperation on industry areas. So is there any special areas you can show us, maybe what kind of area, maybe high technology or new energy or climate change or other areas?


AMBASSADOR BAGLEY: Well, it’s all of those. It’s – I mean, what the expo – what the – obviously, the theme, as we said, was “Better City, Better Life,” which encompasses the city of the future with technology and 21st century technology. And of course, the Chinese obviously are very interested in sustainability and energy – renewable energy, as we are, obviously. So it is – it’s – that’s the theme, is really the environment and protecting the environment and how we – how can we protect it through sustainable resources.


I think we have a lot of really – companies like, as I said, Wal-Mart and GE and Chevron. Pepsi’s very involved. All the companies that are involved have that interest, so the theme will be reflected throughout the expo. In our particular pavilion will – it’ll be the major focus.


QUESTION: How many U.S. companies will visit China in Shanghai Expo totally? You --


AMBASSADOR BAGLEY: How many will visit or how --


QUESTION: Eventually, yeah.


AMBASSADOR BAGLEY: Oh, God, I don’t know. I mean, U.S.-China Business Council will probably have that information.




AMBASSADOR BAGLEY: I mean, we probably have --


QUESTION: For this expo?


AMBASSADOR BAGLEY: -- 40 – maybe 40 companies. I mean, we’re collecting more and more as we go along, so we have – the range is from like some – it’s also in-kind contributions is what we’re – it’s 61 million, but it’s not all cash. It’s in-kind and cash. So we have a range of probably 40 companies right now, but it ranges from a hundred to 250 to 5 million is the top, at the top categories for global partners. So we’re still engaged in that effort, but a lot of interest.




QUESTION: How much do you still have to raise?


AMBASSADOR BAGLEY: About 15 million.


QUESTION: Fifteen?


AMBASSADOR BAGLEY: Yeah. And we started in – probably in June. I started in June, June 1, so we really – we’ve done it in the last four months. It’s been a concerted effort --


QUESTION: Do you think –


AMBASSADOR BAGLEY: -- by our office and the Shanghai pavilion.


QUESTION: And do you think you will be successful in raising all the money or –


AMBASSADOR BAGLEY: I hope so, yes. I think so, yeah. I mean, 45 million was difficult initially because we had to not only encourage people, but let people know that we were actually in. It took a while for companies because we had not been engaged at all. So through the participation agreement, through the selection of a commissioner general, and then the groundbreaking, and then the last one being the topping off, I think companies know we’re coming.


It’s just – it took a while to get the word out that we were actually serious and that we were actually going to do this, so – and that was Secretary Clinton. She was the one that got the word out that encouraged everyone. In every speech she gives at the Strategic Economic Dialogue that we had that she hosted, she and Secretary Geithner, that was what was – what she mentioned at every turn. She even said she’d build it brick by brick if she had to. And the vice premier, who was here, the secretary, the foreign minister, the treasury, the finance minister all talked about the expo. So it’s very clear that they are seriously committed and very excited about our participation.


Okay. Anyone else? No? Thank you.


MR. TONER: Ambassador, thank you very much.





PRN: 2009/1121