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International convention and customs procedures of Switzerland

International Conventions
Member of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
Member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Party to the Kyoto Protocol
Party to the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer
Party to the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls For Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies
Party to the International Coffee Agreement
International Economic Cooperation
Switzerland is a member of the following international economic organisations: IMF, European Free Trade Association (EFTA), ICC, Latin American Integration Association (LAIA) (observer), G-10, WTO, OECD, among others. For the full list of economic and other international organisations in which participates Switzerland click here. International organisation membership of Switzerland is also outlined here.
Non Tariff Barriers
Switzerland has a strict policy for import of agricultural biotechnology products. It involves a lengthy approval process. Quotas exist for import of certain products (mainly food items) which vary from year to year vary from year to year depending upon the size of harvests, volume of stocks and market requirements. These quotas are granted only to importers based in Switzerland and they need an import license. Import licenses are also required for certain products not subject to quotas, but which are covered by special regulations concerned with public health, plant health, quarantine (plants), veterinary regulations; regulations concerning the protection of endangered species, safety measures, price control (for certain textile products).
Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports
In 2018 the trade-weighted average applied rate was 2%, according to the WTO, whereas the simple average most-favored nation (MFN) rate was 6.0%. While non-agricultural goods from MFN countries only faced a simple average tariff rate of 1.7% in 2018, duties of 32.4% were applied to agricultural goods, and rising as high as 138.9% for dairy products. Agricultural goods that are not produced in Switzerland usually have lower tariffs, such as coffee and tea (3.7%), or fish and fish products (0.2%).
Customs Classification
Switzerland adopts the Harmonised System (HS) for custom classification. The list can be consulted here.
Import Procedures
Goods intended for permanent importation into Switzerland must be delivered to a Swiss customs office and declared for customs clearance.

The following documents should accompany the products:
• Invoices
• Certificates of Origin
• Authorizations/Certificates
• Official confirmations
• Analysis certificates
• Delivery notes
• Cargo Manifests
• Weight certificates
•  Assessment instructions

Switzerland employs an electronic customs declaration system called the “e-dec” through which customs declaration forms may be submitted. The party in charge of declaration must be authorized for electronic customs clearance by the Directorate General of Customs.
For further information, refer to the "Import Procedure" section on the Federal Customs Administration website.
Importing Samples
The temporary admission procedure is intended for foreign goods which are used in Switzerland only for a limited period of time and which are not to be released into free circulation. In order to be entitled to use the temporary admission procedure, the following basic requirements must be met:

  • the goods must be intended for reexportation.
  • the goods can be identified.
  • the goods will be re-exported unaltered. Only goods maintenance measures during the temporary admission are permitted.

The intended use of goods decides whether the temporary admission procedure is permitted and which formalities must be completed. Examples include: exhibitions, tests, trials, sporting events, professional equipment and contractor equipment.

In particular, the following customs documents are available for handling the temporary admission procedure:

For further information, refer to the dedicated page on the Federal Customs Administration website.


To go further, check out our service Import controls and Export controls.

For Further Information
State Secretariat for Economic Affairs

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Latest Update: July 2024