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Call to reform Italy’s export law

Art dealers and auction houses in Italy are calling on the government to reform the country’s export laws, which they describe as overly restrictive and out of date. On 2 October they will convene in Florence for a roundtable discussion on current legislation that is stifling the country’s art market, they say. Italy has just 1% share of the global art market and in 2014 the sector registered 0% growth, according to a report by Tefaf.

The dealers and auction house representatives are calling for changes in legislation that would allow less expensive works of art to be traded freely. Currently, any work created more than 50 years ago by an artist who has died requires an export licence to be sold within the European Union, regardless of price. Following the example of countries such as Britain, export restrictions should apply only to works above a certain value, they say, and the group would like to see the age threshold extended to 100 years.

“It’s the first time that all the stakeholders have come together,” says Giuseppe Calabi, a senior partner at Milan’s CBM & Partners, and the spokesman for the group, which includes representatives from Italy’s association of antiques dealers, the association of Modern and contemporary galleries, Italian auction houses such as Finarte, and international ones including Christie’s and Sotheby’s. “We have already met with officials from the ministry of culture, who reacted well to our proposals. Our reasonable aim is for [Dario] Franceschini [the minister of culture] to push these reforms through,” Calabi says. The meeting on 2 October will take place at the Biennale Internazionale di Antiquariato in Florence.