Bureau of International Exhibitions

Bureau of International Exhibitions (BIE)


Bureau of International Exhibitions - Headquartered in Paris, France, the International Bureau of Exhibitions (BIE) was established in 1928 as the international treaty organization to sanction and monitor international exhibitions of long duration (over three weeks) and significant scale. As of October 2012, the membership of the BIE included 161 signatory nations. The bureau currently handles a schedule of 4 major events per decade; the large scale "registered" world expos on the 0 and 5 year of the decade, whose bidding begins 9 years prior to the date in question, and two smaller scale "recognized" world expos, one held during the 1,2,3, or 4 years of a decade and the 2nd on the 6,7,8, or 9 year of a decade.

The two main criteria that distinguish between registered and recognized events are that recognized events are limited to 3 months in duration and 62 acres (25 hectares) in size. The large scale "registered" event can be on a universal or special theme scale, depending on the wishes of the organizers. The last "registered" exposition was Expo 2010 in Shanghai, China. The last small scale "recognized" event was Expo 2012 held in Yoesu, South Korea. The Bureau also sanctions the highest caliber international garden expositions (those with A1 status) of the Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH). An example of this type of event was Royal Flora Ratchaphreuk 2006-7 held in Chiang Mai, China and Floridade 2012. Most decades see three events of A1 status recognized by the AIPH and BIE.

Events on the Horizon

Expo 2017, Astana, Kazahkstan - World Expo 2017 (BIE Recognized Event, Small Scale Exposition, with Special Characteristics). June 10 to September 10, 2017. 25 hectares, 62 acres. 3-4 million projected attendance. Theme "Energy of the Future." Won right to host fair by beating Liege, Belgium 103-44.

Expo 2020, Dubai, United Arab Emirates - World Expo 2020 (BIE Registered Large Scale Exposition with Universal Characteristics). October 10, 2020 to April 10, 2021. 438 hectares, 1082 acres. Estimated attendance 25 million. Theme "Connecting Minds, Creating the Future." Won right to host fair by beating Ekaterinburg, Russia; Izmir, Turkey; and Sao Paolo, Brazil.

Upcoming Bids

Expo 2022, Expo 2025: Bidding for the next round of candidates can begin five years prior to the small "recognized" small scale event in 2022, and nine years prior to the next "registered" large scale event in 2025. The mid-decade "registered" events are typically large scale, six month long events with more specialized themes than the beginning of decade Universal style "registered events." Other candidates wishing to challenge a bid must do so within six months year of the first submission for each event.

Expo 2022 Potential Candidates - On June 15, 2016, Podz, Poland made a bid for the 2022 cycle "recognized" event. Other candidate city for the 2022 or 2023 year must now make a bid by December 15, 2016 to compete. Potential bidders include Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Izmir, Turkey. Decision by the BIE would likely be in November 2017

Expo 2025 Potential Candidate - Potential candidates can begin the bidding process anytime from 2016 forward. Reports state that four cities are considering a bid; Paris, France; Manchester, England; Osaka, Japan, and Toronto, Canada.

Current U.S.A. Status

As of May 2002, the U.S.A. withdrew from the Bureau of International Exhibitions. This does not preclude hosting or participation in B.I.E. events, however, hosting would be difficult to achieve without membership status due to voting procedures, and participation is more costly for non-member states. In the past several years, several cities within the U.S.A. have made inquiries into potential hosting (New York, Atlanta, Phoenix, San Francisco among them), however, it is imperative for those efforts, if they are to succeed, to change this stance.

If you are interested in joining the effort to change the stance within the United States toward the Bureau of International Exhibitions, please contact your U.S. Representative and Senator. Participation in the Bureau is controlled by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; while coordination of a U.S. hosting arrangement is under the auspices of both the U.S. Commerce Department and the U.S. State Department. Recent staffing changes and the successful participation of the United States at Expo 2005 in Nagoya, Japan and Shanghai, China in Expo 2020 have begun to change minds within some departments of the U.S. government.

The expenses incurred to participate in international expositions, are currently prohibited to come from general U.S. treasury revenues and must be fundraised from private sources. Membership for nations in the B.I.E. is not an expensive proposition, but there must be a will to participate.

U.S. involvement in international expositions began in 1851 with the first world's fair in London, England and continued unabated until our withdrawal from our commitment to participate in Expo 2000 in Hanover, Germany. The United States also did not participate in Expo 2008 in Zargosa, Spain and other recent expos.

History of the 1st World's Fair - London 1851
History of the 1st World's Fair in Canada - Montreal 1967
History of the Most Recent World's Fair in North America - Vancouver 1986

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