January 2002
Volume 44 Number 1

Aqua-Expo Hosts Europe’s Plumbers & Builders -- Opens Door to Water Products
by Everett Wakai   Pages: 

For the first time ever, Aqua-Expo -- an international conference and trade show focusing on water treatment technology, particularly point-of-use/point-of-entry (POU/POE) and commercial/light industrial applications -- is hosting a U.S. Pavilion at its event Feb. 6-10 in Paris.

Now in its third year, the show is one of Europe's top exhibitions in the water treatment sector. It's sponsored by the French Ministry of Health, the Ministry for National and Regional Development and the Environment, and the Mairie de Paris City Council, in partnership with WWF France. The U.S. Embassy, home to the Paris office of the U.S. Commercial Service, is managing the U.S. Pavilion. The Commercial Service -- the export promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce -- acts as a partner for companies seeking to do business internationally, helping to support participating businesses before and after such events to alleviate many of the headaches involved. It has targeted Aqua-Expo because it sees France as a growing market for high-quality and competitive water treatment goods and services.

A healthy and safe environment with clean potable water is one of the French public's biggest concerns. It's become so critical that leaders, including President Jacques Chirac, have asked the French people to join in an effort to make France a cleaner and healthier place. The president identified the environmental technologies sector -- particularly water treatment -- as priority areas for investment. This commitment to water treatment and clean water is reflected in European Union adoption of stricter directives concerning water quality and treatment processes (e.g., lower regulatory levels for lead, bromide and arsenic). Along with sharp increases in water costs in 10 years, this has dramatically changed French officials' and the public's attitude toward water consumption. They're more use conscientious and no longer consider water an inexhaustible natural resource so much as a precious commodity. As such, demand for water conditioning products and services that provide cleaner water at the tap, reduce overall costs and are easier on the environment has increased immensely.

Consequently, Aqua-Expo also provides a forum for educating the general public and government officials on health and safety benefits of water treatment as well as the water therapy and spa industries. Technical seminars planned include topics such as "Water and the Consumer," "The Quality of Our Tap Water," "Health and Safety in the Water Industry," "Water Home-Use" and "Morocco and Its Challenges in the Water Industry." Exhibitors at previous shows include companies such as Permo (BWT France); EcoWater (SEME); Perrier Vittel; Saur, Lafarge; Laboratoire Biorga, and EDF. With over 100 exhibitors, nearly 30,000 visitors and 300 journalists expected, Aqua-Expo also maximizes access to the trade press, an important element in any entry strategy into the water treatment market in France.

Moreover, the Commercial Service hopes to conduct an exclusive industry-to-industry matchmaking forum with members of the FFB (French Federation for Construction) and CAPEB (National Trade Union for Plumbing, Heating and Roofing). These two trade associations represent a $14 billion industry and over 40,000 professionals that deal with water conditioning technology on a regular basis. This exposure to the FFB and CAPEB's extensive networks of construction professionals offers U.S. firms one of the best opportunities in entering the French market ever.

About the author
Everett Wakai is the trade specialist in charge of environmental technologies at the U.S. Commercial Service, U.S. Embassy, Paris, France. To participate in the U.S. Pavilion at Aqua-Expo 2002, contact him at email: Everett.Wakai@mail.doc.gov or consult the U.S. Commercial Service (http://csfrance.amb-usa.fr) or Aqua-Expo: www.Aqua-Expo.com