White Papers
Published: 8 January 2020

3D Printing: A Guide for Decision-Makers

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3D printing (3DP) might revolutionize the way products are made by disrupting manufacturing patterns, creating novel visual forms that were never possible before, enabling mass customization and offering new pathways to increase the circularity of products. At the same time, 3DP may provoke unintended consequences, such as potential workforce displacement, impacts on trade volumes and supply chains, fiscal and non-fiscal challenges to customs at borders, and room for intellectual property and legal violations.

3D printing (3DP) might revolutionize the way products are made by disrupting manufacturing patterns, creating novel visual forms that were never possible before, enabling mass customization and offering new pathways to increase the circularity of products. At the same time, 3DP may provoke unintended consequences, such as potential workforce displacement, impacts on trade volumes and supply chains, fiscal and non-fiscal challenges to customs at borders, and room for intellectual property and legal violations.

This White Paper provides guidance on how to deal with business and policy challenges, serving three functions. First, it presents broad scenarios of how the future might look like in five areas – manufacturing, trade and customs, supply chains, legality, and the environment – if 3DP becomes more widely adopted. Second, it suggests leading indicators to monitor, predict and prepare for higher 3DP adoption. And third, it discusses the relevance of existing policy instruments through the lens of 3DP to point to policy changes that might be needed in the future.

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