Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke was on hand yesterday as the United States kicked off construction of its pavilion for next year's Shanghai World Expo.
Mr Locke, who was visiting Shanghai especially for the ground-breaking ceremony, said he hoped the 6,000-square-metre pavilion would be one of the best on display.
'The United States and China enjoy many areas of friendship and co-operation, and we believe our pavilion will deepen that bond.'
He said the US, which confirmed its participation last week, would be able to raise enough funds for the pavilion. '[Fund-raising is] about halfway there in just a very short period of time.'
Fund-raising issues had caused a delay in the US signing the participation agreement. But organisers said half of the US$61-million budget had been raised thanks to a growing number of corporate sponsors.
'I think, over the next several weeks and months, we will be able to assemble all of the resources that are necessary to not just build but to manage and operate the pavilion,' Jose Villarreal, US commissioner general for the expo, said.
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has helped and supported the fund-raising, sent a letter of congratulations to mark the ceremony.