Rome, April 17 - Rising industrial powers Mexico and Brazil are the latest nations to sign on to the Milan Expo 2015 as businesses and institutions such as Fiat and VinItaly add to the event's growing corporate clout. "Welcome Mexico to #Expo 2015! There are 126 of us. Expo is on the move, no one can stop it," said Expo Commissioner-General Roberto Formigoni on Twitter. Mexico, whose dynamic growth in recent years has been the envy of North America, was preceded not long ago by Brazil, the leader in Latin America's meteoric industrial climb, adding two valuable members to the Milan Expo, also known as the World's Fair, two years out. "I am particularly pleased with Mexico joining," said Expo CEO Giuseppe Sala. "The list of major countries still missing from the Italian edition of 2015 is getting smaller. Today, stronger than before, we can say out loud the world will be in Milan and Italy for the Expo". Formigoni, who quit as the governor of Lombardy last year after a series of corruption scandals hit his regional government, said that organizers expect to hit their target of having 130-140 countries sign up by the end of the year. The Expo, which lasts six months, is expected to attract over 20 million visitors and to be a massive money spinner for Italy's business capital. Fiat automotive, which controls American carmaker Chrysler, and Fiat Industrial will be the Global Partners of Expo Milano 2015 following an agreement signed this month. From 2013 to the end of the Expo, Fiat-Chrysler will provide a fleet of sustainable cars that will be used for transport inside the Expo area, as well as courtesy cars for guest delegations arriving from all over the world. The first model to be used by the organization will be the popular 500L. Expo organizers also signed a deal this month with VinItaly, the country's most important wine event. Both events will promote the other over the next two years and will work together to host OperaWineExpo, a tasting event during the Expo itself. Organizers say that promoting the responsible appreciation of wine is in keeping with the theme of the Expo, 'Feeding the Planet - Energy for Life', which centers on fighting famine and malnutrition worldwide through sustainable development, global cooperation and new technology. Former American vice-president and Nobel Peace Laureate Al Gore has endorsed the event, calling the theme 'very solid' and designed to have 'zero (negative) environmental impact'. Preparations for the Milan Expo are under way on a 1.1-million-square-meter site and the event is expected to generate millions of euros for Italy's business capital. Italy last hosted a World's Fair in 1992 with a Christopher Columbus theme in Genoa, the explorer's hometown. The last fair was held the summer of 2012 in Yeosu, South Korea.
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di Giovanni Pastore