House approves bill led by Emmer to advance Minnesota’s bid to host 2023 World Expo

The United States could once again compete to host World Fairs and World Expos under bipartisan legislation led by U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) that cleared the House on Tuesday.

The U.S. Wants to Compete for a World Expo Act would authorize the secretary of state to rejoin the organization tasked with overseeing and regulating World Expos, the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE). The United States, which last hosted the 1983 World’s Fair, withdrew from the BIE in 2002.

The bipartisan measure, which Emmer introduced with U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), would authorize the use of private funds to pay outstanding and future membership dues while prohibiting the use of taxpayer dollars to fund a U.S. pavilion or exhibit at an international expo.

Emmer and McCollum hope to compete to host the 2023 World Expo in Minnesota.

“By rejoining the BIE, Minnesota, and the United States as a whole, will be one step closer to being able to highlight our innovative spirit and incredible success stories on a global stage,” Emmer said. “Minnesota is a great state with a lot to offer, and hosting a World’s Fair or Expo is an incredible opportunity to bring people, revenue and tax dollars to Minnesota, all while showing off our state’s natural beauty and incredible people. Additionally, I am proud this bill ensures taxpayer protections at a time when there is so much waste.”

By hosting the 2023 World Expo, Minnesota would attract 12 million visitors, create 22,000 jobs, generate $185.3 million in state and local tax revenue, and generate $1.5 billion in overall economic benefits, according to a 2016 economic analysis.

“Minnesota’s bid intends to focus on health innovation based on the theme ‘Wellness and Wellbeing for All,’” McCollum said. “Minnesota’s health care industry is advanced, global and innovative — and it deserves the spotlight. Hosting the World Expo in 2023 would be a remarkable event for the people of our state and today we are moving forward to that goal.”