Press release

International Trade Secretary urges UK business to show off the best of Britain at Expo 2020 Dubai

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox is today urging innovative UK businesses to seize the opportunities at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Image of Dubai Expo 2020 site

Speaking today (Thursday 29 March), Dr Fox announced that the Department for International Trade (DIT) is looking for an innovative, award-winning design concept for the UK’s pavilion at Expo 2020, which creates the most original, inspiring and memorable visitor experience possible.

The Expo 2020 theme will be ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the future’ with an expected footfall of 25 million visitors from around the world, providing an ideal platform to project Britain as a global force for prosperity, innovation, creativity and thought leadership. As this is the first World Expo to take place in the Middle East, the opportunities to connect with one of the most dynamic, young, and fastest growing regions in the world are immense.

The UK’s participation will consist of a self-build pavilion, supported by an accompanying programme of business and cultural events all related to the theme: Global Britain – Innovating for a Shared Future.

Britain has a proud tradition in supporting global expos, hosting the first ever Expo, The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry at Crystal Palace in 1851, with previous winning entries at Shanghai 2010 and Milan 2015. This historic expertise was a key factor in British companies, including Foster and Partners and Grimshaw Architects, winning contracts worth £1 billion to help build and deliver Expo 2020 Dubai itself.

International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox said:

I am delighted to announce that the UK will be participating in Expo 2020 Dubai which will offer UK businesses a fantastic opportunity to showcase the best of British innovation, over 150 years on from the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace, the world’s first ever expo.

As an international economic department, DIT is ensuring British businesses make the most of growing markets and export their goods around the world. The festival will be a major showcase for the UK in the Middle East, and a shop window for the best of our creativity and innovation.

Further information

  • Expo 2020 Dubai takes place between 20 October 2020 and 10 April 2021 and is based on the theme: Connecting Minds, Creating the future. This will be the first Expo to take place in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region (MEASA). 180 nations will take part in Expo 2020 Dubai alongside NGOs and sponsors.

  • Six million visitors attended the Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace in 1851. This gave rise to the development of the area now known as ‘Albertopolis’ in London, which contains a large number of educational and cultural sites including the Natural History Museum, Royal Albert Hall and the V&A.

  • Companies have until the 24 April to apply to design the pavilion - applications should be made online

  • Companies interested in wider Expo supply opportunities should visit the Expo procurement portal for further information

  • DIT is holding a series of events across Britain for everyone interested in the design tender.

About Department for International Trade

The UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT) has overall responsibility for promoting UK trade across the world and attracting foreign investment to our economy. We are a specialised government body with responsibility for negotiating international trade policy, supporting business, as well as delivering an outward-looking trade diplomacy strategy.

Published 29 March 2018