Italian manufacturers reportedly are benefiting by a new tax provision that allows them to claim credits up to 250% of the value of their capital investments in high-technology products. The so-called Industry 4.0 tax incentive was promoted and implemented by the now ousted government of former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. As a result, Ucimu is forecasting domestic consumption of machine tool technologies will rise 6.9% in 2017.

Further, the group predicts its members’ production of machine tool products will rise 4% year on year for 2017m, to €5.7 billion (or roughly $5.93 billion), the record high set in 2008.

Ucimu is a trade association representing Italian manufacturers of machines tools, robotics and automation systems, and auxiliary products.

“After three consecutive years of double-digit growth of the domestic market, we want to remain cautious, but as I look around and speak with our members, I am convinced that the growth rate of domestic demand will be higher by a large amount,” Ucimu president Massimo Carboniero said.

Carboniero is also the general manager and co-owner of Omera, a manufacturer of mechanical and hydraulic metal forming machinery. He claimed his firm is among those seeing the benefits of the tax-code changes.

“Italy has started investing again and in 2017 the entire sector has a unique opportunity: taking advantage of the government plan for advanced technology,” Carboniero said. “The measures will give a further boost to demand of machinery and innovative technologies to digitize the factories.”

Also for 2017, Ucimu forecasts Italian machine-tool exports to rise 1.7% year-over-year (having fallen 3.3% in 2016) to a total of €3.3 billion (est. $3.4 billion.)