By Everett Wakai

For the first time ever, Aqua-Expo—an inter-national conference and trade show for 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, 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. 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 environmental technologies—particularly water treatment—as a priority for investment. This commitment is reflected in European Union adoption of stricter directives on 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 shifted French officials’ and public attitudes toward water consumption. It’s more use conscientious and no longer considers 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,” and “Water Home-Use.” 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, important to any entry strategy into the French water treatment market.

Moreover, the Commercial Service will conduct an exclusive industry-to-industry match-making 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 regularly. This exposure to the FFB and CAPEB’s extensive networks of construction professionals offers U.S. firms one of the best opportunities for entering the French market ever.

About the author
Everett Wakai is the trade specialist for environmental technologies at the U.S. Commercial Service, U.S. Embassy, Paris. Contact him at email: [email protected] or consult the U.S. Commercial Service (http://csfrance. amb-usa.fr) or Aqua-Expo: www.Aqua-Expo.com 

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