Latvia could be at Expo 2025 in Japan alongside Lithuania

Latvia may participate at the Expo 2025 event in Japan in a joint pavilion with Lithuania, but hopes for a pavilion featuring all three Baltic states are undermined by the fact Estonia will not be participating, according to a Ministry of Economics report presented to government on October 24.

Participation at the event, which will take place in the Japanese city of Osaka for seven months from April 13 to October 13, 2025 is likely to cost Latvian taxpayers around 5.6 million euros, according to the report. With the event lasting 184 days, that works out at more than 30,000 euros per day.

The purpose of Expo 2025 is to promote international economic and diplomatic cooperation, according to the informative report prepared by the Ministry, which was presented at the government meeting on Tuesday, October 24.

"The exhibition will provide an opportunity for each of the member states to show their contribution to future growth through achievements in the economy, technology, culture and social life in their own unique way. The exhibition will also provide an opportunity for international organizations, non-governmental organizations and foundations to connect with countries, share ideas and opinions," it said.

About 28 million visitors are expected to visit the exhibition in Japan. The theme of the exhibition is "Building the future society for our lives".

By March of this year, 153 countries had confirmed their participation in the exhibition.

The Latvian Investment and Development Agency (LIAA) has reached a conceptual agreement with Lithuanian representatives on the creation of a joint Baltic pavilion, but Estonia has declined to participate at Expo on the basis that it is not worth the outlay.

"Expo 2025 Osaka is an essential support for export promotion, investment attraction, innovation projects, and the creation of new ecosystems and value chains, including the opportunity to position Latvia in distant export markets and promote Latvia's international recognition," said the Ministry of Economics.

The largest part of the funding – 1.93 million euros – is needed for the development of the content concept and the pavilion's operational plan, while the development of the exposition design and pavilion arrangement would cost another 1.48 million euros.

The EM has calculated 1.34 million euros in employee costs, 455,000 euros in utility payments, and half the rent of the Baltic Pavilion would cost 193,000 euros.

At the same time, EM has emphasized that these calculations cannot be considered as definitive, because they were made using information about Latvia's participation in the Expo 2020 Dubai held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2021.

The Ministry of Economics anticipates that more than 70 Latvian companies would participate at Expo 2025 in Japan, while as many as 200 companies would be involved indirectly. Latvia's exports to Japan could increase by 50 million euros in 2028, while Japanese investments in Latvia could rise by 30 million euros, it is speculated.

As Minister of Economy Viktors Valainis (Union of Greens and Farmers) stated at the government meeting, after participating in the exhibition in the UAE in October 2021, the economic contribution to Latvia was felt - compared to 2021, exports to the UAE increased by 52% in 2022. In addition to the direct benefits of cooperation with the UAE, ties were also strengthened with other countries in the region, especially with Saudi Arabia, which is the most important economic power in the Middle East region, the Economics Ministry said.

At that time, 443 Latvian companies participated in the exhibition, 3,182 new business contacts were established, and 35 contracts were concluded.

However, Latvia's previous experience in Expo events is checkered at best, with costs tending to spiral out of control from initial estimates and high-level concepts often appearing to be less impressive in reality than they were on paper. A last-minute decision was made to duck out of the Milan Expo in 2015 even though a large amount of money had already been spent, while the run up to the Dubai Expo was overshadowed by a minor scandal about some of those enjoying a lavish presidential dinner. Later, striking graphic impressions of what the Dubai pavilion would contain became considerably more prosaic in reality. 

You can find out more about the 2025 Expo at its official website: 


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