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France - Fresh water from a French firm

EU trade deal helps French water treatment plant tap previously inaccessible market

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  • Chile
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The 2003 EU-Chile trade deal cut import taxes and other trade barriers. This enabled French water treatment firm, Eau Pure, to enter the Chilean market, doubling turnover in two years. The workforce has also grown from 10 to 20 employees.

Eau Pure treats drinking and waste water, and sells and installs water treatment systems. Founded in 1966, it is based in Lons-le-Saunier, France. In 2000, Pascal Guasp bought the firm which, at the time, only did business in France and had fewer than 10 employees.

Competition is stiff between France’s 10 000 water treatment firms and most water treatment plants in Western Europe are fully equipped. So in 2005, Mr Guasp decided to export and created Eau Pure International, based near Lille.

Eau Pure's systems eliminate arsenic, a poison found in high levels in water from the Andes. When the Chilean government set out to cut arsenic levels, Eau Pure was able to do so at a competitive price, making the water drinkable.

Eau Pure now has subsidiaries in Chile, Italy, Morocco and Vietnam. Its turnover doubled in two years, reaching €2.5 million in 2015, around a third of which comes from its activity in Chile and 80% from its international business.

The company is now looking to move into Mexico and Peru, where prospects are good thanks to EU trade deals.

Find out more about the EU’s trade relations with Chile