Minnesota is a step closer to hosting a World's Fair thanks to the efforts of the state's entire delegation in the U.S. House.
Bipartisan legislation called "The U.S. Wants to Compete for a World Expo Act" proposed by Reps. Tom Emmer and Betty McCollum was passed in a voice vote in the House on Tuesday, giving the U.S. Secretary of State the authority to rejoin the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE).
The organization is in charge of overseeing and regulating World Expos, which are held every five years with Minnesota in the running to host the 2023 World Expo.
The U.S. hasn't been a member of BIE since 2001, according to Rep. Emmer, and non-members don't get the same consideration for expo bids as members do. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson joining the group would give Minnesota's bid a better chance of winning.
Poland, Brazil and Argentina are Minnesota's competition for the expo, with the BIE's member states meeting to elect a host country in November.
The last time the U.S. hosted a World's Fair was 1984, and Emmer says he wants the expo to "highlight our innovative spirit and incredible success stories on a global stage."
"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," he said.
"This bill is a bipartisan solution that levels the playing field and lets Minnesota and the United States compete. By ending our harmful, self-imposed isolation from the BIE, the United States will once again be in a position to host a World Expo and showcase the innovation, culture, and beauty of our great nation," McCollum added.
World Fairs and international expositions are designed to give nations, civic groups and companies an opportunity to highlight advances in social, technological and scientific areas of global significance, according to Expo2023, the website for Minnesota's bid.
Minnesota's bid is focused on the theme "Wellness and Well-Being for All," and should the state win the bid, it could bring 10-15 million tourists to the state in 2023, create almost 22,000 jobs, generate $185.3 million in local tax revenue and bring $1.5 billion in total economic benefit.
The U.S. State Department backs the bill, saying it's consistent with President Trump's policy to "promote domestic job growth and American innovation."
The Star Tribune reports that Minnesota's bid would involve the construction of an enormous pavilion and other structures to house exhibits by more than 100 countries.