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American food goes 2.0 at Milan Expo 2015

'We'll be back with a pavilion' says Obama

28 March, 15:23
American food goes 2.0 at Milan Expo 2015 (By Emily Backus) (ANSA) - Rome, March 28 - United States President Barack Obama this week declared the US has signed on to participate in Milan Expo 2015, the next World's Fair. Speaking from Rome on Thursday, Obama said he was "proud to announce" US involvement in the food-themed Universal Exposition.

"We'll come back to Milan with a pavilion," said Obama after meeting with Italian Premier Matteo Renzi.

US Secretary of State John Kerry told journalists in Rome that the Expo is a "magnificent opportunity" for strengthening economic ties between the US and Italy.

Kerry called the Expo a great opportunity for businesses to "share ideas", and called it a "priority" for the Obama administration, as it will help companies create jobs.

Kerry also underlined the importance of Expo's theme, "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life", tackling issues such as food security, hunger, and promoting environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable global food production practices.

"We're very happy with the agreement happening today," Kerry said Thursday.

Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini called it "a powerful message" that speaks of a bilateral partnership that spans "from economic cooperation to food security, from culture to defense".

Roberto Maroni, governor of the Lombardy region around Milan, greeted the long-awaited US confirmation by tweeting: "Finally, excellent news". Milan Mayor Giuliano Pisapia said he hoped Obama would visit Milan.

"The United States is a giant in agriculture and innovation with scientific points of strength and enterprises," said Pisapia. "(The US) will give a significant contribution to the great debate of Expo themes, which are strategic for the future of the planet, like the right to safe and secure food, the fight against world hunger and poverty, water as a common good to ward off future wars".

The US pavilion will be called American Food 2.0, and will be built in the form of a granary. The US exhibition will focus on two main themes: food security and healthy lifestyles. A total of 145 countries and organizations are participating in the Universal Exposition, which takes place next year from May 31 to October 31 in an area of more than 100 hectares near Milan's massive Rho Pero trade fair exhibition centre.

"Today, exactly 400 days from the opening of Expo 2015, the beautiful news has arrived of the US signature on the participation contract," said Giuseppe Sala, Expo chief executive and government commissioner.

Sala was in Rome on Thursday to finalize the terms of the agreement with Kerry. "Expo is a platform for dialogue where comparison, experience, and solutions for the future could not be without the USA also as a protagonist," said Italian Agriculture Minister Maurizio Martina.

"Their presence confirms the global character of the event and enhances Italy's opportunity," Martina continued.

"We are convinced that the contribution...of such an important protagonist on the global scene can only enrich the exchange of content in the debate".