The EU ceramic industry is a world leader in producing value added, uniquely designed high quality ceramic products manufactured by flexible and innovative companies, mainly SMEs. The ceramics industry represents an annual production value of around € 28 billion, accounting for approximately 25% of the global production, and over 200,000 direct jobs throughout the EU.
The major producing countries in the EU are Italy, Germany, Spain, France, the UK, Portugal and Austria. Production in the new EU member states is strongest in the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary, all of which have strong ceramic sectors and have traditionally exported to other EU countries.
The EU ceramic industry is export-oriented with 30% of its production is sold outside the EU market. It is generally competitive both domestically and on international markets. However, since the last decade the market situation has changed considerably with the rise of low-cost products from new competitors in emerging and developing countries (China, Brazil, India, United Arab Emirates) while persisting trade barriers prevent effective access to important new markets.
The European ceramic industry is an integral part of the EU's economic structure, and is perhaps one of its oldest industries. It covers a wide range of sectors ranging from the traditional to the high-tech.