Before deciding whether or not Estonia will be represented at the 2020 World Expo in Dubai, the government would have a look at what the neighboring countries were planning and also talk to private investors that could be included, Minister of Entrepreneurship and IT Urve Palo (SDE) said.
Palo told ERR’s radio news on Thursday that participating in the expo would be discussed in the cabinet in the coming months, though she didn’t want to name a specific date.
That Estonia would be more visible internationally was a good thing, Palo said, particularly for the IT sector. “At the same time, participating in the expo is very expensive, and several business organizations, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry among them, have officially said that they don’t see a direct need to participate in this expo and that the businesses they represent aren’t interested very much,” Palo said.
The minister brought up the Nordic countries as an example for private-sector participation. There, up to half of the costs were covered this way, Palo pointed out.
At this point there was no clear image yet of the plans of Estonia’s neighbors. Talking to them was necessary to see if there was potential for cooperation. Considering the sums they were talking about—somewhere around €7 million—this made a lot of sense.
If the necessary talks could be held with businesses and there was a clear idea what to do, then she would raise the issue in the government, Palo said.
Though a lack of interest on the part of private contributors and Estonia’s neighbors wouldn’t mean that they weren’t making an effort in that part of the world, Palo stressed. In that case, Estonia would still be present at specific trade fairs, arrange high-level visits, and strengthen its economic diplomacy in the Gulf region.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications suggested a year ago that Estonia could give the 2020 expo a miss. The government was expected to pick up the issue in autumn 2016, but never did. Neither the ministry nor Enterprise Estonia, typically responsible for public support for trade enterprises abroad, have made their point of view public.
Editor: Dario Cavegn