U.S. imports of water from Fiji are down sharply

CNN Living poses the question — has bottled water become the new eco-no-no? — and answers, not quite yet.

But trade statistics do show a marked drop in U.S. imports of “unsweetened water” (HS code 2201) from top sources France (Evian, Perrier, among others) and Fiji (Fiji Water and Aqua Pacific). See the Datamyne Top 5 U.S. Sources for Imported Water.

The backlash against bottled water has been building since at least 2006. Critics say emptied water bottles add unnecessarily to the waste stream … and potable water is too scarce a resource in some exporting countries to privatize. The fall-off in exports of Fiji waters may owe something to local politics; exports were temporarily banned in 2008. Some bad press last year (to which Fiji Water responded here) probably didn’t help sales.

Still, a product touted as “the next wine” by Bottled Water of the World clearly has a future in global trade. Indeed, while many high-end restaurants now offer a choice of bottled or tap water, Fine H2O, a self-described “premier importer and distributor of the finest, most unique luxury bottled waters from around the world” has opened its first boutique in Carmel-By-The-Sea, with others to follow in New York and Philadelphia.

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