Suppliers of flow control and treatment products, including those dealing with air, gases, water, and other liquids, are generating annual revenues of over $300 billion. Each region of the world is participating both in the manufacture and consumption of these products, according to the report Air/Gas/Water/Fluid Treatment and Control: World Market by McIlvaine Company.

The report shows China is now a major exporter of filter bags and filter media, with much of the finished bag export coming from local companies. However, the export of filter media as roll goods is from Chinese factories owned by the big international media companies, such as Ahlstrom, Lydall, Hollingsworth & Vose, BWF, and Andrew.

Europe is a major net exporter of sophisticated decanter and disc-type centrifuges used in municipal wastewater treatment, as well as chemical and food and beverage applications, the report says. Europe is a leader in the export of industrial and municipal pumps, although it should be noted that Flygt is part of the U.S. based Xylem.

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In terms of air pollution control systems for power plants, the China leads the market, but not the exports. The report says the reason is the huge size of the domestic market. It is anticipated that the Chinese air pollution companies will play a significant role in Southeast Asia. This market is very international.

The report says that the U.S. continues to enjoy the export lead in the valve segment. The top three companies, Pentair, Flowserve, and Emerson, are U.S.-based and have 10 percent of the global market. However, Chinese companies are starting to play a bigger role.

The U.S. also holds a slight edge over Europe in terms of exports of air and water instrumentation, says the report. However, Thermo Fisher recently set up its main air pollution research center in China. This initiative by Thermo Fisher lends credence to the belief that the whole emphasis on national exports and imports is outdated. International companies rather than national governments are proving to be more influential in creating jobs and wealth than any of the individual countries in which they operate.