Customs in Switzerland
- Import Procedures
The goods to be imported into the country need to be presented to the appropriate Customs office and declared for customs clearance. The following time limits are followed for declaration of imported goods from arrival into the country by various means of transportation: road, 24 hours; river, 48 hours; rail, 7 days; and air, 7 days. The importer may examine goods before submitting them for clearance.
However in reality, almost all commercial shipments are handled by forwarding companies, which, in most cases, also are legally empowered to act as Customs agents. For more details, visit: Swiss Customs Office
- Specific Import Procedures
- For import of animals and animal products (including fish and bees) special health certificates, stamped by the competent authorities of the country of origin, are required. Official plant health certificates of the country of origin must accompany shipments of some vegetables, fresh fruits, and wild plants. For more details, visit: Federal Office for Agriculture and Swiss Federal Veterinary Office.
- Importing Samples
Goods that are used as and which qualify as samples are eligible for duty-free entry. In order to qualify, words "sample, not for resale" should be written on the commercial invoice.
The goods for display at public exhibitions are also eligible for free passage (Freipass) through Swiss customs. Certification from the trade fair authorities that the goods are entering Switzerland for the exhibition is usually required. Exhibition goods must be re-exported within a month of the end of the exhibition. If the goods are sold to a Swiss resident off the exhibition floor, the buyer incurs a liability for the customs charges. Almost all fairgrounds have a Customs office on site.
Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports
- Average Customs Duty (Excluding Agricultural Products)
- 5.5% Swiss duties are generally "specific" rather than "ad valorem". Duty varies according to the item imported. For details, visit: Swiss Customs Office
- Products Having a Higher Customs Tariff
- Agricultural products, especially biotech food products.
- Preferential Rates
- In addition, the poorest countries will be able to import their goods into Switzerland free of customs duties and quotas.Under the revised Preferential Tariffs Ordinance, which entered into force in April 1, 2007, the complete lifting of duties and quota restrictions also applies to countries that are in the debt relief process as part of the international debt relief initiative.
- Customs Classification
- Harmonized System (HS) is used.
- Method of Calculation of Duties
- Switzerland applies the Harmonised Customs System. Customs duties are generally levied in Swiss francs (CHF) on the basis of weight (e.g. per 100 kilograms of gross weight), unless some other method of calculation is specified in the tariff (e.g. per unit, per meter, per liter). The gross dutiable weight includes the actual weight of the goods and their packaging.
- Method of Payment of Customs Duties
- For details, visit: Swiss Customs Office
- Import Taxes (Excluding Consumer Taxes)
- There are also taxes for the environment which are collected as prepaid royalties for the elimination of waste by the importer / distributor and which are included in the retail selling price. These taxes are enforced by the Federal Office of the Environment, Forests and the Landscape.
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