The Chinese business environment already showed interest in infrastructure projects and economic cooperation with Romania, but the intentions are up in smoke. The volcanic ash cloud smoke, that is. Romania's economic delegation, headed by Economy minister Adriean Videanu, needed to be in Shangai before the Expo 2010 opening today. It didn't make it. The only Economy reps are the representatives from Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Romania's declared target for Expo 2010 is to attract Chinese investments to Romania, to intensify the economic cooperation and to see Romanian companies signing contracts. The volcanic ash cloud managed to shake the first move: the delegation, headed by the Romanian minister of Economy and business environment representatives, was compelled to the ground.

The lack of counterparts did not seem to have discouraged the Chinese business people, who approached the Romanian organisers and those present in the Romanian apple. They expressed their interest in infrastructure projects.

The Economy Ministry has failed to send a list with the companies that will be present at the events during the exhibition, meaning four economic missions and three mini-fairs, even though business environment representatives were expected to arrive on this first visit, which has now been pushed further for June.

The inauguration of Romania's pavilion will be carried out in the presence of the general commissioner for this exhibition, Ferdinand Nagy. But no other Romanian official will be present.

The Chinese authorities have not launched an official invitation to the heads of state for the opening event, but many high-rank officials were in China, under various pretexts. Among them, French President Nichiolas Sarkozy, EC president Manuel Barroso and Commissioner Karel de Gucht have managed their agenda in such a way as to be in China these days.

Most chiefs of state and of government will be at Expo 2010 on the day dedicated to the opening of their country's pavilion. Romanian President Traian Basescu will visit China around the day dedicated to Romania - July 29, the Day of the National Hymn. He will then meet the Chinese President Hu Jintao, and then he will come to Shanghai. Romania's day will be marked by an economic forum organised by the presidency and various cultural events.