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Australia pulls out of world food expo

Australian food producers will miss out on next year’s World Expo in Milan due to the federal budget deficit.

Foreign minister Julie Bishop has confirmed Australia cannot spare the millions of dollars needed for a pavilion, The Australian Financial Review reports.

The Australian embassy in Rome and the Consul General in Milan will instead hold trade, tourism and networking events outside the Milan Expo.

Bishop said “this presence will support Australian organisations and business activities to participate in promotions alongside the Expo which emphasise our people-to-people and cultural connections.”

Australia has previously been part of two World Expos in Yeosu, South Korea in 2012 and in Shanghai, China in 2010.

A DFAT report on Australia’s Shanghai pavilion estimated the exhibition had generated $10 million of positive media coverage for Australia, and rated the project as an “unequivocal success”.

Shadow infrastructure minister Anthony Albanese criticised the Abbott government’s decision to pull out as an “enormous lost opportunity” to showcase Australia’s food industry to Italy and Europe.

The Victorian government, however, will put forward $1.25 million for its own exhibit and will be the only formal Australian presence at the exhibition.

The move is a means of increasing the state’s two-way trade with Italy which is worth over $1.4 billion a year.

The Napthine government said the state’s exhibition would help attract investment and celebrate the relationship between Melbourne and Milan.

 

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