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Italian ceramic companies are now restarting their kilns after a five-week production shutdown, according to Ceramic World Web. The go-ahead reflects a new stance from the Italian Government, which now considers all export-orientated companies to be businesses of strategic importance and therefore entitled to resume production, after notifying the relevant authorities. The restart includes not just the tile manufacturers themselves, but also the entire upstream sector consisting of suppliers of plant and equipment, raw materials, glazes and colours.

The Government has effectively heeded warnings that any extension of the shutdown would risk causing the country to lose significant market share.

The return to full-scale production will take place gradually in accordance with the needs of each company. But it is viewed as a step forward that will enable companies to keep up with foreign competitors who have been able to continue operating in recent weeks or who have seen a much shorter period of shutdown.

“We are currently operating at 60%,” said Panaria Group chairman Emilio Mussini. “This certainly doesn’t mean that everything is solved, but at least it allows us to stem the loss of customers, who were beginning to look around for alternatives to Italy.”

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