Airfreight must avoid another ZapMail
Despite the excitement and uncertainty 3D printing produces, the technology generates an interesting trade issue as well. If plans for a printed item are produced outside of a country with the product printed within our borders and in our homes, what types of duties, if any, are assessed? Like a product purchased online, would the 3D printed product be considered an import if not brought through a traditional border crossing? Will our nation be able to collect trade duty on the item, and if not, what effect will this have on our country’s revenue as the technology matures?
3D printing is showing us that digital replication of products is now a reality and the devices are getting cheaper. The airfreight industry cannot afford another ZapMail mistake by misjudging the consumer’s ability to acquire the technology and use it to replace its value to the supply chain.
Brandon Fried is the executive director of the U.S. Airforwarders Association.