3D printing could wipe out a quarter of world trade by allowing us to make things at home

IFA 2015 Consumer Electronics And Appliances Trade FairSquabbling between Whitehall and Brussels over how post-Brexit trading will play out may actually be pointless after all. What will negate all that, apparently, is 3D printing.

A report by Dutch bank ING has concluded that almost a quarter of world trade will be wiped out by 2060 as firms use 3D printers to manufacture goods at home rather than import from abroad.

And such a scenario is a conservative conclusion. In a report entitled “3D printing: a threat to global trade”, an alternative scenario suggested as much as 40 per cent of global trade could be erased by 2040.

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