Dubai Expo 2020 participation in the spotlight

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Latvia's plan to participate in the Dubai Expo 2020 event is already facing a race against time with less than two years to go, reports Latvian Radio.

In October 2020, Expo 2020 will be officially opened in Dubai, but the planned Latvian pavilion should be ready next year. The contest for the development of the idea for the pavilion was announced only last week. This could not be done faster, because the agreement on the organization of Latvia's participation in this exhibition with the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry was only concluded on November 14.

For the participation of Latvia in this exhibition, the motto of which is "Connecting the mind, creating a future", the government plans to spend more than 4 million euros.

Previously Latvia's participation in Expo events has been organized by several different institutions, including the Latvian Institute and the Latvian Investment and Development Agency. Participation in the 2015 exhibition in Milan was to be organized by the Ministry of Economics, which actually delegated this responsibility to the limited company Expo 2015, but the project descended into acrimonious legal actions that continue to this day.

Janis Endziņš, President of the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, appointed by the Government of Latvia, admits that it will take a concerted effort and good organization to meet the necessary deadlines.

"To be honest, we are starting quite late. The organizers expect that there will be a walled structure ready next October. At the moment there is just desert sand and it is November 2018."

The interest in participating in the pavilion competition has attracted quite a lot of participants. However, their creative flights will be limited not only to the budget allocated to the project but also to the various conditions imposed by the organizers.

"According to the organizers' instructions, what is put up must be removed afterwards. In the ideal version, this object should be such that it can be prepared here, then assembled on the spot, but then disassembled and moved somewhere else in the Gulf countries or brought back home," explained Endziņš.


The jury, which will have to evaluate the works presented during the competition, will have to take a quick decision - the deadline is 10 December.

"Very quickly, in fact, during in one day, the jury will have to evaluate and find the three best works that have been submitted. By the end of the year, we have to have a conception of how it all should look, and then go ahead with a more detailed work on developing a technical project, with materials," continues Endziņš.

There is still little clarity about the content of the pavilion. As Dubai's exhibit sub-themes are sustainability, opportunity and mobility, the pavilion content should reference at least one of them. In addition, since the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry is a business organization, it is planned to put a lot of emphasis on business promotion.

"We want to ensure that every euro, which is invested in this project by the state returns to Latvia with through investments and exports. That, in turn, means that a lot of work will have to be invested in content development, engaging with business people, away from the event,'' says Endziņš.

There is no specific data on the returns Latvia saw for its participation in the 2018 Expo exhibition in Astana, Kazakhstan.

However, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Economics Eriks Eglītis told Latvian Radio that participating in the Expo is definitely worth it because in the modern world, countries must be as visible as companies to ensure their competitive positioning, and this is a way to show off Latvia.

The hoped-for results should be the growth of exports to the Arab Emirates and the Gulf states, as well as a more intangible benefits said Eglītis.

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