Current portal location

Overview of Import Procedures

Switzerland

Last updated on 17 Jan 2020


Contents

Changes

Focus: assignment of commodity codes to import measures, precious metals and contact details.

The import documentation for Switzerland has been reviewed and amended accordingly. Attention is drawn to the following changes:

Assignment of Commodity Codes to Import Measures

The tariff codes assigned to the documents in this report have been checked in accordance with the current Swiss import regime. While some of the code lists have remained unchanged with the beginning of the new year 2020, the official modifications have been incorporated into the report as regards the following documents:

  • General Import Permit for Agricultural Products

  • General Import Permit for Ozone-Depleting Substances

  • General Import Permit for War Materials

  • Licence to Deal in War Materials

  • Registration with ELIC.

Precious Metals

On 1 January 2020, the Ordinance on the Fees for Precious Metals Control took effect. Therefore, the corresponding fees in the documents entitled Hallmarking of Precious Metals as well as Responsibility Mark for Precious Metals have been amended to this effect. Furthermore, the contact details of the responsible authority have been brought up to date. Please refer to the quoted documents for further information on this matter.

Contact Details

The contact details of the following authorities of this import report have been brought up to date, as applicable:

  • Agroscope

  • Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG)

  • Federal Office for National Economic Supply (FONES).

General Information

  • Conventional long form of country name: Swiss Confederation

  • ISO Country Code: CH

  • Population: 8.29 million (July 2018 est.)

  • Area: 41,277 sq km

  • Population density: 201 inhabitants per sq km

  • Capital: Bern

  • Major ports: Basel

  • Customs airports: Basle (BSL), Berne (BRN), Geneva (GVA), Lugano (LUG), Sion (SIR), Zurich (ZRH)

  • Business languages: German, French, Italian, English

  • Currency: 1 Swiss Franc = 100 Rappen/Centimes

  • ISO Currency Code: CHF

Note

The tariff codes correspond to the current Swiss customs tariff (TARES) based on the Harmonized System (HS) 2017; Switzerland applies the HS on the basis of the HS Convention (for further general information on the Harmonized System, please turn to the section thereon below).

International Agreements

The Swiss Confederation is a member of the following treaties and has signed the agreements listed below:

  • Convention on a Common Transit Procedure with the European Community (EC)

  • Convention on the International Transport of Goods under cover of TIR Carnets (TIR Convention), please refer to the document Carnet TIR for further details

  • Customs Convention on the A.T.A. Carnet for the Temporary Admission of Goods (A.T.A. Convention), please refer to the document Carnet A.T.A. for further details

  • Customs and Monetary Union with Liechtenstein

  • European Free Trade Association (EFTA)

  • International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS Convention)

  • International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs Procedures (as amended) (Revised Kyoto Convention)

  • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

  • World Customs Organization (WCO)

  • World Trade Organization (WTO).

Although Switzerland is a member of the EFTA, it does not participate in the European Economic Area (EEA), as a referendum on membership was defeated in 1992.

Preferential Treatment

Switzerland has signed bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) with the European Community (EC) and the Faroe Islands. In addition, it has a customs and monetary union with Liechtenstein. Switzerland is also a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) along with Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. The EFTA Convention established a free trade area among its member states in 1960, but Switzerland is not a participant.

Within the framework of the EFTA, Switzerland has concluded an FTA with the Southern African Customs Union (SACU, consisting of Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland) and with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Pursuant to the mentioned multilateral FTA between the EFTA and the SACU, Switzerland signed a separate agricultural agreement with the SACU states.

Furthermore, the EFTA member states have concluded FTAs with the following countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, Georgia, Hong Kong, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, North Macedonia, the Palestinian Authority, Peru, the Philippines, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Tunisia, Turkey and Ukraine. An FTA between the EFTA and the Central American states Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama is in force for Costa Rica, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Panama, Norway and Switzerland; whereas the protocol on the accession of Guatemala has been signed by the aforementioned parties in mid-2015 but is not in force yet, negotiations with Honduras are currently on hold. In addition, a Swiss-Chinese FTA and a Swiss-Japanese bilateral Agreement on Free Trade and Economic Partnership (FTEPA) are in effect.

Furthermore, Switzerland is a contracting party to the Regional Convention on pan-Euro-Mediterranean preferential rules of origin.

Goods which are originating products in the sense of the agreements mentioned above may benefit from preferential treatment in Switzerland.

Export Controls

Besides the stipulations of the country of importation, export control provisions may have to be observed in international movements of goods and services. The subject of such provisions may be particular commodities, countries of (final) destination and legal or natural persons involved in the respective transactions. These persons may comprise, but are not limited to, the following legal entities or individuals:

  • exporters and consignors

  • importers and consignees

  • end-users

  • freight forwarders and their agents

  • banks and financial institutions.

The listed entities may include governmental agencies in the country of (final) destination, too.

Countries may even partially or completely interdict external trade with another country. However, goods may also be exempt from such embargoes if exported for humanitarian or special reasons.

In general, the following types of merchandise (as well as related services and maintenance) are regulated in the framework of export control laws:

  • arms and ammunition

  • military equipment

  • designated explosive substances

  • strategic goods (e.g. encryption technology for communications equipment)

  • dual-use goods, i.e. commodities which may be used for military and civil purposes alike (including software and technologies)

  • goods which could be used for torture, capital punishment or similarly inhuman treatment.

In principle, the competent authorities of the exporting country regulate the scope of goods to be controlled upon their exportation and in respect of the parties and countries involved in the transactions. Following the examination of the relevant documentation, export authorisations may be issued. The export control authorities may also require documents from the respective bodies in the country of destination in order to control the goods and monitor their delivery chains. Such documents may comprise, e.g., international import certificates, end-user certificates or delivery verification certificates.

In addition, specific import requirements may apply to the abovementioned goods as well. Further information as regards control measures applicable to Explosive Substances, Arms and Ammunition in Switzerland may also be viewed in the quoted section below, whilst information on the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) may be found in the chapter on Further Chemicals.

As regards controls of dual-use goods in the framework of the European Union (EU), the basic legal stipulation is Council Regulation (EC) No 428/2009 of 5 May 2009, setting up a Community regime for the control of exports, transfer, brokering and transit of dual-use items. The responsibility for the execution of the so-called Dual-Use Regulation lies, however, with the competent authorities of each individual Member State.

Exporters should be aware of the fact that they may be held legally responsible for respective foreign trade transactions, comprising all different aspects of transboundary movements of goods and services. This individual responsibility is usually not transferable to other persons. Advice should be sought from the competent authority in the exporting country.

For additional details of applicable measures for Switzerland, please turn also to the section on Sanctions below.

Sanctions

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) differentiates between the following measures in foreign trade:

  • national sanctions

  • international sanctions, i.e. trade sanctions stipulated by the United Nations (UN)

  • trade in raw diamonds in accordance with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS); please turn to the document entitled Kimberley Process Certificate and to the section on Raw Diamonds, Precious Metals and Products Made Thereof below for additional details.

The scope of sanctioned countries, persons and organisations contains, apart from a few exceptions (i.e. Egypt, Moldova and Tunisia), those entities that are sanctioned by the EU as well. For detailed information, please contact the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), Sanctions, Holzikofenweg 36, CH-3003 Bern, phone number: +41 58 4640812, fax number: +41 58 4635110.

Customs Procedures and Regulations

The Swiss customs legislation mainly differentiates between the following customs procedures for imports:

  • release for free circulation

  • transit

  • customs warehousing

  • temporary admission

  • inward processing

  • outward processing.

The Swiss Federal Customs Administration (EZV) applies a centralised electronic customs processing system known as e-dec as well as a web-based declaration commonly known as e-dec web, which may be accessed under: https://e-dec-web.ezv.admin.ch/webdec. As electronic submission is mandatory for most types of declarations since 2013, manual declarations may no longer be submitted for commercial importations of goods intended for free circulation. A Registration as an E-Dec User is a prerequisite for submitting electronic customs declarations. Paper forms are, however, permissible and in use for designated customs procedures as detailed in the document entitled Customs Import Declaration. Once an electronic assessment decision (eVV Import), i.e. customs release certificate, has been issued, the goods may be cleared from customs.

Goods entering the Swiss customs territory by rail must be notified in advance through the RailControl system.

Please refer to the following documents related to customs clearance procedures for further information:

  • Railway Manifest

  • Entry Summary Declaration for Imports from Third Countries (please see also the subsection on Security Measures below)

  • Customs Import Declaration

  • Goods Identification Card

  • Commercial Invoice

  • Packing List

  • Certificate of Non-Preferential Origin

  • Air Waybill, Rail Waybill or Waybill, as applicable.

Security Measures

With the safety and security amendment to its customs code, the EU introduced notification requirements for all shipments passing EU borders. In order to avoid restraints of Switzerland's foreign trade with the EU due to these requirements, Switzerland entered into an agreement with the EU, according to which it is defined as a country within the EU's security zone. The security zone is now consisting of the EU, Norway and Switzerland, each of which has separately entered into an agreement with the EU. Countries outside the security zone are considered third countries. As a consequence, all shipments from third countries passing the Swiss borders must be notified in advance via the e-dec system. For further information, please also see the document entitled:

  • Entry Summary Declaration for Imports from Third Countries.

Binding Tariff Information

A Binding Tariff Information (BTI) may facilitate the importation of commodities into Switzerland if this commodity has not been classified in the Swiss customs tariff (TARES) before, e.g., in the case of innovative or novel commodity types. As merchandise may only be imported with a valid customs tariff code number, the knowledge of the appropriate BTI may shorten the importation process.

A similar procedure also exists for a binding confirmation of the origin of goods. The period of validity of the binding confirmation of the origin is three years.

Authorised Economic Operator (AEO)

All countries within the security zone mentioned above, i.e. the Member States of the EU, Norway and Switzerland, introduced the concept of an Authorised Economic Operator (AEO). Please refer to the quoted document for further details. In addition, mutual recognition agreements (MRAs) for the AEO status exist. Shipments of companies recognised as an AEO may be subject to facilitated security-relevant customs procedures. The status of a Swiss AEO is recognised in the member states of the security zone and vice versa.

The EU concluded further MRAs with Japan and the United States (US); such MRAs are intended to be concluded between said states and Switzerland as well as Norway in the future, too. Depending on the MRA, foreign companies wishing to benefit from their AEO status abroad may have to obtain specific national identification numbers in those countries participating in an MRA, i.e. a registration of the operator's details may be required abroad.

Customs Valuation

Unlike in most countries, the customs value of goods imported into Switzerland is not based on the transaction value of the goods. Instead, specific rates of duty are applied, which are, in general, determined on the basis of the gross weight (also referred to as gross mass). The gross weight comprises the effective weight (net mass) of the goods and the weight of packaging, filling material and any supports on which the goods may be displayed. Packaging which solely serves as protection for the goods during transport is not part of the net weight, e.g. transport containers, reusable transport equipment (palettes) or anchoring fixtures. The pertinent Swiss legal stipulations are the Customs Tariff Act (SR 632.10) and the Tare Ordinance (SR 532.13). The latter contains exemptions from the gross weight as the basis of assessment of the customs value and outlines additional fees which are charged based on tare, e.g. in the case of insufficiently packaged or unpackaged goods. By way of example, the following customs assessment bases apply in deviation of the gross weight principle:

  • per unit (e.g. for live animals)

  • per application unit (e.g. for bovine semen)

  • per litre (e.g. for wine)

  • per metre (e.g. for cinematographic films).

Common Transit Procedure in Foreign Trade between the EU and Switzerland

The Convention on a Common Transit Procedure between the European Economic Community (EEC) and the EFTA of 1987 allows the conduction of transit procedures of both Union goods and non-Union goods to or from Switzerland. Depending on the status of the goods, the procedures are to be declared on the corresponding document (T1, T2 or T2L). As a result, the time required for customs clearance at the border is considerably shortened. If the concerned commodities are in transit, a deposit corresponding to the amount of import duties is to be paid to the customs authorities. A simplified transit procedure may apply to transportation by rail or air since no such deposits are prescribed.

The common transit procedure is also applicable to goods to or from Turkey since December 2012, to or from North Macedonia since July 2015, and to or from Serbia since February 2016. Further countries may join the NCTS, e.g. in the framework of the potential accession of neighbouring countries to the European Union (EU).

Decision No 1/2016 of the EU-EFTA Joint Committee on Common Transit of 28 April 2016 [2016/858] amends the abovementioned Convention in order to adjust the common transit procedure towards the Union transit procedure as laid down in Regulation (EU) No 952/2013, i.e. the Union Customs Code (UCC).

Warehousing

Goods entering or leaving the customs territory may be declared for customs warehousing where they are placed under customs supervision. In general, there are three types of warehouses:

  • privately-run customs warehouses (also referred to as open warehouses)

  • warehouses intended for bulk goods

  • duty free bonded warehouses.

Open warehouses may be used for own or external goods. No customs duties and taxes are due for goods warehoused in open warehouses. Likewise, import measures will be suspended. However, once the goods are brought into free circulation, duties and taxes will be levied and non-tariff measures will be applied. The same applies to incomplete warehousing procedures, but not for goods which have been transferred to another customs procedure after their identity has been proven. No maximum duration is stipulated in the Swiss Customs Act for open warehouses. The customs administration must authorise the warehouse owner in advance and may request guarantees by the owners of such warehouse licences in view of their compliance with their duties.

For goods warehoused as bulk goods, import duties will be assessed with conditional duty of payment and measures will be applied. The maximum period of warehousing of goods in bulk warehouses is two years, which may be prolonged upon request for three other years at the most. The customs authorities determine which goods may be stored in these warehouses.

Duty free bonded warehouses underlie the same provisions as open warehouses. The basic distinction between duty free bonded and open warehouses is the type of warehouse keeping and the authorisation required: whereas open warehousing is intended for companies acting for their own account, a company having received authorisation for a duty free bonded warehouse usually rents out the licensed facilities to depositors. Exact inventories of all warehoused goods must be kept for all warehouses in a form prescribed by the authorities.

There are no duty free zones in Switzerland.

Registration

All business entities in Switzerland require a commercial registration with the respective cantonal commercial register. Companies must be registered in the canton where they have their headquarters, whereas company branches must be registered in the canton where these are located. Once the company has been registered, a Business Identification Number (UID) serving as a single identification number of the company in administrative processing will be allocated automatically. If a company has not yet received its identification number, it must contact the Federal Statistical Office (FSO). For further information, please refer to the document entitled:

Tariff Quotas

Tariff quotas are in place for some agricultural goods, e.g. high quality beef. Global, preferential or special tariff quotas will be assigned by either the Federal Customs Administration or the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG), depending on the class of goods.

Obligatory Reserves

The importation of goods classified as vital for life requires a general import permit (GIP) from the competent trust office. The trust offices organise and administer the obligatory reserves, whilst the actual stockpiling and its financing are basically the responsibility of industry, which calculates mandatory stockpiling towards the final costs of the products. The administrative costs of the stockpiling system are financed by contributions on imports (so-called guarantee fund contributions). For the issue of a GIP, these guarantee fund contributions are mandatory for importations above stipulated quantitative thresholds. The Federal Office for National Economic Supply (FONES) acts as the supervisory body. All contracts for mandatory stockpiling facilities are to be concluded with the FONES, which may be contacted as follows: Federal Office for National Economic Supply, Bernastrasse 28, CH-3003 Bern, phone number: +41 58 4622171. The strategy of economic supply focuses on short and medium-term sectoral disruptions in the areas of basic supply (animal feed, foodstuffs, therapeutic products and energy sources) and infrastructure (transport, industry and information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure). Please refer to the following documents for further details:

  • General Import Permit for Agricultural Products

  • General Import Permit for Grains, Fodder and Foodstuffs

  • General Import Permit for Petroleum Products

  • General Import Permit for War Materials.

The importer may also be required to adhere to the Mandatory Stockpiling of Nitrogen Fertilisers or the Mandatory Stockpiling of Medicinal Products by submitting corresponding notifications. These documents are required for the importation of nitrogen fertilisers as well as antibiotics, substances and preparations with antibiotic effects and neuraminidase inhibitors (antiviral agents), respectively. For a number of other goods, voluntary stockpiling is practised in Switzerland.

Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures and General Importability of Goods Subject Thereto

Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures may be applied within the territory of a country to protect the life and health of its population, fauna and flora from one or more of the following risks:

  • diseases carried by animals

  • plant pests (e.g. insects, bacteria, viruses)

  • toxins or disease-causing organisms in foods, beverages or feedstuffs

  • additives

  • contaminants (e.g. heavy metals, residues of pesticides or veterinary drugs, extraneous matter).

SPS measures may be included in the relevant laws, decrees, regulations, requirements and procedures of a country or an economic community.

The Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures of the World Trade Organization (WTO), also referred to as SPS Agreement, sets out the rules that the WTO member states are obliged to follow when they implement SPS measures governing food and feed safety, animal health and plant health. Said Agreement applies to all SPS measures which may, directly or indirectly, affect international trade. Every WTO member has the right to take respective measures to pursue the abovementioned protection goals. Under the WTO rules, countries are allowed to set their own standards, but their regulations are required to be based on scientific evidence and international standards, i.e. the imposed measures must be transparent and comprehensible. WTO members are to notify the content of a proposed sanitary or phytosanitary regulation, whether new or not substantially the same as the content of an international standard, guideline or recommendation, and the covered products to the WTO in advance.

International organisations working towards an international harmonisation of SPS measures include the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE, former Office International des Epizooties, for animal health), the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC, for plant health) and the Codex Alimentarius Commission (a joint Commission of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), for food safety). In addition, the SPS Agreement offers technical assistance to developing countries with regard to capacity building and programmes concerning food safety, animal and plant health.

SPS measures must be in proportion to the potential risk involved and must be equally applied to national and imported goods. These measures may take various forms, such as requiring products to come from disease-free areas, specific treatment or processing of products, prescribing an inspection of products, quarantine regulations, setting the allowable maximum levels for pesticide residues, or permitting the use of only certain additives in food.

For any merchandise potentially bearing SPS risks, comprehensive risk assessment measures usually apply in order to ascertain whether the good is importable or not. This holds true in particular for animal or plant species or products which have previously not been traded between two countries. In the course of establishing the health standards to be met for a certain good, specific conditions under which the particular item will be importable are usually defined, e.g. the mandatory fumigation treatment of designated plant produce or the vaccination of particular animal species against their characteristic diseases. Such terms are then reflected in the respective health certificate (i.e. those certificates mentioned in the chapters on animals, plants and products thereof in this overview).

Live Animals and Products of Animal Origin

The most important regulations regarding transboundary movements of animals and animal products are the Ordinance on the Import, Transit and Export of Animals and Animal Products Traded with EU Member States, Iceland and Norway (SR 916.443.11) and the Ordinance on the Import, Transit and Export of Animals and Animal Products Traded with Third Countries (SR 916.443.10). The Ordinances stipulate a facilitation of imports of goods of EU origin (furthermore including Norway and certain products from Iceland in this respect), whereas imports of other origins partially face tightening measures.

Switzerland maintains a ban for transit by road of all live animals, i.e. bovine, ovine, caprine and porcine animals, and, since 2012, horses and poultry, through its territory. The transit of all kinds of live animals through Switzerland is only permitted by railway or plane.

TRACES Procedures

Switzerland has adopted the European Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES), which is based on a registration of all commercial entities involved in the trade of animals or animal products. Registered market participants are to prove that they underwent schooling in the usage of the system. This electronic veterinary information system provides for the traceability of transboundary movements of veterinary goods by the concerned veterinary authorities in the EU Member States, Norway and Switzerland. With some exceptions, all commercial importations must be carried out through TRACES. The type of veterinary certificate, mandatory vaccinations and/or certifications of the goods' health status or fitness for human consumption are regulated in the system for a vast number of both live animals and products of animal origin. If imported via TRACES, specific import permits are usually not required. Please turn also to the following paragraphs for information on goods not entirely meeting the TRACES conditions.

Additional Procedures for Goods of EU Origin

Goods originating in the EU which do not qualify for an importation via the regular TRACES procedure require an Import Permit for Animal Products That do not Entirely Satisfy the Import Conditions. This holds especially true for potentially pathogen-carrying animal products (e.g. immunological substances). For live aquatic animals with EU origin, a specific Import Permit for Aquaculture Animals is required. The importation of such products from third countries is usually not permitted.

The research institute Agroscope is the responsible authority for the registration and licensing of importers and dealers of animal feed and the notification of new, i.e. not yet listed, feed materials.

Procedures for Goods with Non-EU Origin

Distinct regulations and procedures apply to the import of goods that do not originate in the EU. Besides the mandatory registration of importers with TRACES (please see above) and the veterinary health certificate forwarded via TRACES, a common veterinary entry document (CVED) for live animals and/or for animal products is required for each consignment. The importation of live animals and animal products which are directly imported from non-EU countries (i.e. imported by air freight) and do not entirely satisfy the import conditions stipulated by TRACES is allowable under strict preconditions only and requires a specific import permit for live animals and/or products of animal origin and fodder, respectively. These permits are issued by the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO) upon request.

Live animals and animal products with non-EU origin must be inspected either at the first border entry point in the EU or when being introduced onto the Swiss customs territory through a Swiss airport. Consignments of live animals or animal products with non-EU origin which are subject to veterinary inspection are to be notified prior to the arrival to the competent border inspection point (BIP). Consignments which do not fulfil this requirement will be charged with an additional fee. It is noteworthy that only Geneva and Zurich airports are authorised for veterinary inspections of commercial importations from third countries. Please be aware that horses must not be imported by aircraft into Switzerland.

Accompanying Documents

Consignments of animals and animal products must be accompanied by a Veterinary Health Certificate for Live Animals or a Veterinary Health Certificate for Animal Products, respectively, which is issued by the appropriate authority in the country of export. For all goods moving within the boundaries of the states which apply the TRACES, the veterinary certificates which are to accompany the goods will be created electronically as well and forwarded to the respective authorities. Deliveries of animal by-products with EU origin are additionally to be accompanied by a Commercial Paper for Animal By-Products issued by the consignor.

Usually, live animals and animal products of EU or Norwegian origin are no longer inspected by the border veterinary services. The responsible cantonal authorities check the specified veterinary certificates and commercial documents within the framework of their operations. This does not apply to live organisms falling under the Import Permit for Aquaculture Animals and animals/animal products covered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES, also referred to as Washington Convention) as detailed below. These animals and animal products will be subject to detailed inspection procedures at the border inspection points (BIPs). If imported from the EU or Norway, only animal products which do not entirely satisfy the import conditions as stipulated in the TRACES system (e.g. in case of infectious material potentially pathogenic to animals) require a specific import permit.

The import of high quality beef into Switzerland is only possible within a tariff quota, provided that the importer presents a certificate of compliance with Swiss requirements for this kind of product. This certificate is to be issued by the competent authority in the country of export and will be inspected at the respective BIP upon entry.

Deliveries of animals and animal products which contain several consignments of different goods must be made separately available in accordance with their customs tariff number to the veterinary control bodies. For veterinary purposes, a consignment is defined as a shipment of one single animal species or product category from one single consignor to one single consignee by one single means of transport. This means that, e.g., three certificates would have to be issued if poultry meat, rabbit meat and fishery products were shipped together.

In order to prevent the importation of products stemming from illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishery into Switzerland, consignments of sea fishing products are subject to control and must be notified to the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO) for documentary control. For this purpose, a catch certificate and further accompanying documents must be sent to the mentioned authority.

For more information on the mentioned procedures, please refer to the following documents:

  • Registration with the European Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES)

  • Registration of Dealers of Feed Materials

  • Import Permit for Live Animals Originating in Third Countries

  • Import Permit for Aquaculture Animals

  • Import Permit for Third-Country Products of Animal Origin and Fodder

  • Import Permit for Animal Products That do not Entirely Satisfy the Import Conditions

  • Notification of Feed Materials

  • Common Veterinary Entry Document for Live Animals (CVED-Animals)

  • Common Veterinary Entry Document for Animal Products (CVED)

  • Catch Certificate for Sea Fishery Products

  • Veterinary Health Certificate for Live Animals

  • Veterinary Health Certificate for Animal Products

  • Certificate High Quality Beef.

With regard to issues concerning Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures, amongst others (please also refer to the same-named section above), the authority responsible for veterinary controls of live animals and animal products in Switzerland may be contacted as follows: Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO), Schwarzenburgstrasse 155, CH-3097 Bern-Liebefeld, postal address: CH-3003 Bern, phone number: +41 58 4633033, fax number: +41 58 4638570.

Please note that specific temporary protective measures may be imposed on the import of animals or products of animal origin, e.g. as a consequence of the outbreak of contagious diseases. For further information on the animal health status of the countries of origin and exportation, the World Animal Health Information System (WAHIS), a service provided by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), may be consulted. It is also advisable to contact the importer or the abovementioned Office for the current status of possible import prohibitions.

Pest Risk Analysis (PRA)

Switzerland applies pest risk analysis (PRA). On the national level, PRA is regulated by the Plant Protection Ordinance (SR 916.20). The International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) No. 2 setting the Framework for Pest Risk Analysis agreed upon in the scope of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) provides the framework for PRA which has been accepted by the signatory countries.

A PRA is to be conducted on plants, plant products or other regulated articles by the National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO), i.e. the Federal Plant Protection Service, if the risk associated with their importation is unknown. This is usually the case if goods are imported to the country for the first time or if they are imported from a new area of origin. A PRA may also be required in further cases, e.g. if the goods are to be imported for a new intended use or if the phytosanitary legislation of the country of export has undergone changes. Moreover, the revision of an already existing PRA may be required, e.g. if a change in susceptibility of a plant to a pest or a change in the virulence or aggressiveness or host range of a pest has been identified. Depending on the outcome of the PRA, the NPPO develops and stipulates the specific phytosanitary requirements for the importation of the product in question as risk management measures.

In general, the PRAs are conducted following a process of mutual data exchange between the NPPOs in the countries of origin and destination. A stakeholder, e.g. plant exporter, importer or trader, would thus need to approach his NPPO to initiate a PRA. Usually, the PRA is to be applied for by the national stakeholder at the Swiss NPPO. The NPPO may request further information from the NPPO in the country of export for the purpose of conducting the PRA.

Information on completed PRAs is available in Annex 4 of the Ordinance quoted above for various plant products coming from different third countries. Amongst others, Annexes 3 and 6 contain lists of prohibited imports and of noxious weeds. Information on quarantine pests and diseases as well as the applicable countries of provenance may furthermore be found therein.

Switzerland is a member of the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO), which makes various databases available for consultation, e.g. the global database or the database on quarantine pests for Europe, as well as standards and reports on events of phytosanitary concern.

The authority responsible for PRAs in Switzerland may be contacted as follows: Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG), Federal Plant Protection Service, Schwarzenburgstrasse 165, CH-3003 Bern, phone number: +41 58 4628516.

Plants and Plant Products

Certain plants and plant products originating in EU Member States are to be accompanied by a Plant Passport issued by the manufacturer or supplier. Since 2007, phytosanitary customs clearance procedures for all plants and plant products originating in the EU have been abolished; thus, they do not have to be declared to the customs authorities. Random controls will, however, be conducted. Companies intending to market plants and plant material which require a Plant Passport must be authorised by the Federal Plant Protection Service under the Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG) by means of a Permit to Market Plants. Please see the quoted documents for further information.

Consignments of plants and plant products originating in non-EU Member States, i.e. in third countries, are subject to various import procedures depending on the country or region of origin and the type of plants or plant products involved. The catalogue of measures also comprises possible prohibitions, prior permits or disinfection measures, depending on the possible risks involved in the intended importation. The goods are subject to phytosanitary control (documentary control, identity checks and physical inspection) at the first border entry point of the phytosanitary area EU/Switzerland and a Common Health Entry Document for Plants and Plant Products (CHED-PP) must be sent to the respective phytosanitary service at the border entry point. This document must be accompanied by a Phytosanitary Certificate. Goods originating in third countries and transported via the EU are thus subject to controls at the first border entry point of the EU and neither require to be notified nor are they subject to further controls in Switzerland.

Only companies authorised by the Federal Plant Protection Service under the FOAG may import plants and plant products originating in third countries into Switzerland. Please see the document entitled Permit to Market Plants from Third Countries for further details.

The following Swiss border inspection points (BIPs) are authorised for the phytosanitary control of goods from third countries transported by air:

  • Basel-Mulhouse Airport

  • Geneva Airport

  • Zurich Airport.

As to the requirements for Wood and Wood Packaging Material, please refer to the corresponding section below. In case of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or goods containing them, the importer additionally must apply for a permit as detailed in the section on GMOs below.

For information on the requirement of a Pest Risk Analysis (PRA), please see the quoted section above.

The Service for Seeds and Plants under the FOAG is the authority responsible for the Registration of Seed and Plant Varieties, which is required for potatoes, grains and corn, fodder plants, oil and fibre plants, sugar and fodder beet as well as vegetables. Moreover, a Plant Variety Protection may be applied for at the Plant Variety Rights Office under the FOAG.

Apart from the registration requirement for certain fodder plants, animal feed generally falls under the responsibility of the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO) and the research institute Agroscope. Please refer to the section above for details.

The authority responsible for phytosanitary control in Switzerland, including issues of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures (please also turn to the same-named section above), is the Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG), Federal Plant Protection Service, Schwarzenburgstrasse 165, CH-3003 Bern, phone number: +41 58 4628516.

Endangered Species

A specific Import Permit for Wildlife Species from the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO) is required for the importation of animal and plant species covered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES, also referred to as Washington Convention) and/or by the relevant Swiss national legislation (e.g. the hunting and fishery laws). A permit must furthermore be obtained for all species of live animals which may easily be confounded with species under the CITES protection. Commercial importers who frequently import the following goods subject to the Washington Convention may apply for a Registration of Commercial Importers of Species Coming Under CITES:

  • designated hides and skins

  • live leeches

  • tissue, cell or blood samples from species of Annexes I to III for scientific purposes

  • red corals, black corals and pearls of Strombus gigas of Annexes II and III.

Since 1 October 2013, the following laws and regulations apply in Switzerland:

  • Federal Law on the Movement of Protected Species of Animals and Plants

  • Ordinance on the Movement of Protected Species of Animals and Plants

  • CITES Control Ordinance.

The quoted Law stipulates the requirements of import permits and their extended scope, also including protected types of flora removed from the wild. In accordance with the Movement Ordinance, every importation into Switzerland requires an export permit issued by the authorities in the country of exportation. Lists of species requiring an import permit and of import-prohibited species from designated countries have been set up in the quoted control ordinance. Said ordinance also sets forth inventory control measures for species removed from the wild. All data on movements of species falling under the CITES provisions is registered and may be exchanged with the authorities of designated other countries.

Movements of caviar for commercial or non-commercial purposes fall under the CITES regulations. All caviar trading or re-packaging companies must be registered with the FSVO. Caviar products to be imported/brought along must show a non-reusable label indicating the registration number and the number of the wildlife species permit.

Facilitated import requirements exist, e.g., for imports of blood and tissue samples of monkeys of Annex II for medicinal purposes, for products containing caviar extracts and artificially-bred plants and products thereof.

CITES consignments are subject to inspection upon arrival in Switzerland. The following border inspection points (BIPs) are authorised for CITES inspection:

  • Basel Airport

  • Bern

  • Chiasso

  • Geneva Airport

  • Le Locle

  • St. Margrethen

  • Zurich Airport.

Foodstuffs

The Swiss food laws and regulations generally conform with the European Union (EU) food law. Certain animal feed and foodstuffs of non-animal origin imported from designated third countries determined via the rapid alert system for food and feed (RASFF) to contain a higher risk must be inspected upon arrival, as depicted in the document entitled Common Entry Document for High Risk Food and Feed Products. For a defined number of food and feed from specific countries which are likely to be contaminated with aflatoxins, a health certificate issued by the competent authority in the country of export is additionally required. Please see the document entitled Health Certificate for Food and Feed with Aflatoxin Contamination Risk for more details.

The Swiss food regulations cover all food products as well as packaging and labelling requirements. As to the latter, please see the corresponding section below. In general, foodstuffs may be marketed in Switzerland if they are safe and comply with the legal stipulations. However, novel foodstuffs must be registered with the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO). Please see the document entitled Registration of Novel Foodstuffs for further details. Furthermore, the Additives Ordinance (SR 817.022.31) stipulates a Registration of Additives to be included in certain foodstuffs. Lists of admissible substances are contained in said Ordinance.

Switzerland permits the distribution of European foodstuffs in its domestic market which are already traded legally in an EU Member State but do not comply with Swiss technical standards only with a Marketing Authorisation under the Cassis de Dijon Principle from the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).

If intended to place dietary foodstuffs for specific medical purposes (e.g. for diabetics) or infant food on the Swiss market, such goods must be notified to the FOPH prior to or upon their first marketing. For dietary foodstuffs, either an original package of the good in question or its product label or a corresponding laser printout version must be made available to the FOPH for notification purposes. For infant food, a formal Notification of the Bringing into Circulation of Infant Food is required. The applicable Ordinance on Foodstuffs for Persons with Special Nutrition Needs (SR 817.022.104) also stipulates specific requirements for other special-purpose alimentary products, e.g. as regards permissible amounts of vitamins or minerals contained in foodstuffs intended for infant or other use, or mandatory warnings on product labels (e.g. concerning the unsuitability of caffeine-containing goods for children and pregnant women).

Importers of organic foodstuffs must be certified by approved inspection bodies which carry out a Certification of Importers of Organic Food. Consignments of organic foodstuffs must be accompanied by a Control Document for Organic Foodstuffs to be issued by an inspection company accredited in the country of origin. Equivalence arrangements with regard to their respective organic food certification exist with Canada, the EU, Japan and the United States (US). If the goods do not originate in Argentina, Australia, the EU, Israel or New Zealand, an additional Permit to Market Organic Foodstuffs is required.

As to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or goods containing them that qualify as foodstuffs, please refer to the corresponding section below.

Alcoholic Beverages

A Licence to Deal in Alcoholic Beverages is required for wholesale trade activities with spirits in Switzerland. The responsible authority is the Swiss Alcohol Board (SAB) under the Federal Department of Finance (FDF). For similar activities concerning wine, a Registration of Wine Importers and Traders with the Swiss Wine Trade Inspection (Schweizer Weinhandelskontrolle - SWK) is mandatory.

Information on the labelling requirements for alcoholic beverages applicable in Switzerland may be obtained from the chapter on Labelling Requirements below.

Tobacco Products

For the correct assessment of all duties, importers of manufactured tobaccos must notify the imported amounts of tobaccos, cigarettes and cigars. Therefore, a Notification of the Importation of Tobacco Products is to be submitted to the Swiss Federal Customs Administration. In addition, a mandatory permit is to be obtained for quantities of at least 2.5 kg of unmanufactured tobaccos which are imported for other purposes than the manufacture of the aforementioned tobacco products. The requirements with regard to the manufacture, labelling, advertising and sale in accordance with the Tobacco Ordinance (TobO; SR 817.06) must also be met. Please contact the following authority for additional information: Swiss Federal Customs Administration, Directorate General of Customs, Section for Tobacco and Beer Taxation, Monbijoustr. 40, CH-3003 Bern, phone number: +41 58 4626500, fax number: +41 58 4633926.

Details of the labelling requirements for tobacco products applicable in Switzerland may be obtained from the section on Labelling Requirements below.

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is an international agreement which aims to ensure the safe handling, transport and use of modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology which may have adverse effects on biological diversity, taking also into account risks to human health. The Protocol differentiates between five risk classes ranging from no-risk to high-risk GMOs, which are defined in the respective lists. Switzerland is a member of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. Non-parties to the Protocol may nevertheless impose measures for the importation, placement on the market and use of GMOs. For member states, a facilitated procedure may be available in the form of an advanced informed agreement (AIA) on designated products.

In the scope of the Cartagena Protocol, the Biosafety Clearing House (BCH) is a platform for the exchange of scientific, technical, environmental and legal information on, and experience with, modified organisms. It also assists parties to implement the Protocol and has local branches in various countries. Further information may be obtained in the document entitled Permit to Market Genetically Modified Organisms and from the Biosafety Clearing House (BCH), 413, St. Jacques Street, Suite 800, CA-Montreal, Quebec, H2Y1N9, phone number: +1 514 2882220, fax number: +1 514 2886588. The BCH in Switzerland is the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), Soil and Biotechnology Section, Worblentalstrasse 68, CH-3063 Ittigen, postal address CH-3003 Bern, phone number: +41 58 4629349, fax number: +41 58 4647978.

Ozone-Depleting Substances (ODS)

Switzerland is a member of the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer and ratified the subsequent amendments. The applicable Swiss legislation on ODS is the Chemikalien-Risikoreduktions-Verordnung (Chemicals Risk Reduction Ordinance, ChemRRV). Along the provisions of said legal text, the country successfully implemented a phase-out system for ODS. The Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) is the competent Swiss authority to provide a General Import Permit for Ozone-Depleting Substances. ODS are, in addition, subject to import quotas. ODS from non-members of said Protocol and all equipment containing ODS may not be imported into Switzerland. Please turn to the quoted document for additional details.

Further Chemicals

Agricultural Chemicals

Agricultural chemicals, i.e. biocidal products, fertilisers and pesticides, require the following documents and procedures:

  • Registration, Recognition or Authorisation of Biocidal Products

  • Registration of or Marketing Authorisation for Fertilisers

  • Registration of Pesticides

  • General Import Permit for Pesticides

  • Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).

The Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG) is the responsible authority. Fertilisers generally fall into three categories: freely importable fertilisers and those subject to registration or to a marketing authorisation. For additional details, please turn to the document quoted above.

Industrial Chemicals

Non-agricultural, i.e. industrial, chemicals fall under different categories and competencies. Designated chemical goods are regulated by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), e.g. commodities subject to radiation protection requirements (for more information, please turn to the document entitled Licence to Deal in Ionising Radiation) or cosmetic products and raw materials intended for their production. In principle, cosmetics must conform to the Regulation (EU) No. 1223/2009. An authorisation of even further substances intended for use in cosmetic products may be sought from the FOPH. For all merchandise intended for the end-user, the Consumer Protection Directorate of the FOPH may be contacted under the following address: CH-3003 Bern, phone number: +41 31 3222111, fax number: +41 31 3233772. For chemicals classified as food additives, which are also controlled by the FOPH, please refer to the previous section above.

Information on medicinal products, psychotropic substances and narcotics is provided in the corresponding section below. Furthermore, particulars on the labelling requirements of cosmetics may be obtained from the paragraph on Labelling Requirements below.

International Conventions

Switzerland is a member of the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, commonly known as the Rotterdam Convention. This Convention undertakes to ensure that exports of designated chemical substances may only take place with the consent of the importing party. By means of the prior informed consent (PIC) procedure, information is gathered and disseminated as to whether an importing party wishes to receive future shipments of a certain chemical and to ensure the compliance with that decision by the exporting party. The treaty further requires all parties to notify the Convention Secretariat about any national legal changes with regard to a ban or a severe restriction of a chemical. In terms of the actual shipment of a product, information about the characteristics of the chemical must be provided, labelling requirements adhered to and stipulations such as the indication of the HS code in the shipping documents met, thus guaranteeing the sound handling of such substance.

In case a company is seeking to export chemicals which are covered by the Convention (i.e. the pesticides and industrial chemicals listed in Annex III of the Convention) or which are subject to national regulatory action (i.e. bans or severe restrictions in the importing country's own territory), an export notification must be sent to the Designated National Authority (DNA) of the importing country nominated to this effect in order to obtain prior consent. Please turn to the document entitled Export Notification for Goods Coming under the Rotterdam Convention for more information.

In addition to the Rotterdam Convention, Switzerland is also party to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (also referred to as the POP Convention), a treaty designed to curb and eventually abolish the production, use and trade of toxic, long-lasting chemicals by requiring its signatories to take measures to eliminate or restrict the production and use of POPs and to minimise any possible unintentional releases of such substances into the environment. Exemptions, i.e. the continued use and/or production of one or more chemicals covered by the treaty for a certain period of time, may be applied for by the member states. Furthermore, amendments to the treaty (lastly done so in 2009 with the addition of nine more chemicals to the original list of twelve chemicals) are subject to the approval and ratification of each signatory state, thereby allowing the country time to implement the measures required to adhere to the new stipulations. As a consequence, imports and exports of the chemicals covered by the Stockholm Convention may be subject to prohibitions or severe restrictions. Importers are also advised to contact the responsible authority for issues of nature protection, i.e. the Official Contact Point (OCP), which is the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), Air Pollution Control and Chemicals Division, Biocides and Plant Protection Products Section, Worblentalstrasse 68, CH-3063 Ittigen, postal address CH-3003 Bern, phone numbers: +41 58 4629312, 4626970, fax number: +41 58 4640137.

Switzerland is furthermore a party to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction, also referred to as the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). The Convention aims to eliminate chemical weapons of mass destruction by prohibiting, among others, the production, acquisition, transfer or use of said weapons. All parties to the Convention have agreed to destroy any stockpiles of chemical weapons they may hold and to create a verification regime for certain kinds of toxic chemicals to ensure that these particular chemicals are not used for any purposes that are prohibited.

An Import Permit for Dual-Use Items and Technologies from the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) is required for all importations of chemicals covered by the CWC. An additional End-User Declaration for Chemicals may be requested by the competent authorities for export control in the country of export; the same applies to the International Import Certificate for Dual-Use Items and Technologies.

Besides the SECO as the body responsible for the issue of the aforementioned documents, the following national, i.e. superordinate, authority may be contacted for more information: Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), Division for Security Policy (DSP), Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Section = Eidgenössisches Departement für auswärtige Angelegenheiten (EDA), Abteilung Sicherheitspolitik (ASP), Sektion Abrüstung und Nonproliferation, Effingerstrasse 27, CH-3003 Bern, phone number: +41 58 4643383, fax number: +41 58 4643839.

On 25 May 2016, Switzerland ratified the Minamata Convention on Mercury, a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. The Convention intends to ensure that exports of mercury may only take place with the prior consent of the importing country and for the purpose of environmentally sound interim storage or an allowed use. Such consent must also be sought in the case of export transactions from a member state to any country which is not a party of the Convention. Forms for the provision of written consent by a party or a non-party to the import of mercury are both made available by the Convention in different languages.

In addition, the phase-out of mercury-added products has been agreed upon. As of 2018, Switzerland has banned the production, exportation and importation of numerous mercury-containing products, e.g. dry cell batteries, switches and relays, certain types of fluorescent lamps, cosmetics, pesticides, certain electrical and electronic components, designated non-electronic measuring devices (e.g. thermometers and blood pressure monitors), specific plastic materials, paints (excluding those for artistic purposes) and lacquers as well as topical antiseptics. However, depending on the specific product, certain goods containing mercury may be exempt from import prohibitions as laid down in national Swiss regulations. The above-mentioned products are prohibited from importation unless an import permit has been obtained. By 2020, further bans regarding the above-mentioned products may be introduced.

Additionally, parties may apply for the registration of exemptions from the stipulated phase-out dates for one or more products or processes listed in Annex A or B of the Convention if their use or import is deemed essential. Unless a shorter period is indicated in the respective register by a party, exemptions usually expire five years after the relevant phase-out date and may be extended only once per product upon request.

For more information on this matter, please contact the relevant authority as follows: Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), = Bundesamt für Umwelt (BAFU), Worblentalstrasse 68, CH-3063 Ittigen, postal address CH-3003 Bern, phone number: +41 58 4629311, fax number: +41 58 4629981.

Medicinal Products, Narcotics and Medical Devices

According to the Therapeutic Products Act, importers of medicinal products for human and veterinary use require a Licence to Deal in Medicinal Products from the Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products (Swissmedic). Medicinal products that are to be placed on the Swiss market additionally require a Marketing Authorisation for Medicinal Products for Human Use. Veterinary drugs require a Marketing Authorisation for Veterinary Medicinal Products. For the importation of blood and blood products, an Import Permit for Blood and Immunological Products for Human Use is necessary for each individual import of blood and blood products. Similar provisions apply to the importation of narcotics, psychotropic substances and their precursors. Importers are to apply for a Licence to Deal in Narcotics, Psychotropic Substances and Precursors and require an Import Permit for Narcotics, Psychotropic Substances and Precursors for each actual importation of these goods. The manufacture and distribution of medicinal products as well as narcotics, psychotropic substances and their precursors must conform to the recognised principles of good manufacturing practice (GMP). For more information on GMP, please see the section on standardisation below. As to medicinal products, e.g. vaccines containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs), please refer to the corresponding section above.

Companies (i.e. Swiss-domiciled manufacturers or authorised representatives) intending to place medical devices on the market for the first time must notify the Swissmedic. Moreover, medical devices to be marketed in Switzerland must bear a corresponding conformity mark, e.g. the CE mark. Switzerland has concluded mutual recognition agreements (MRAs) with all EU Member States, EFTA states and Turkey with regard to the mutual recognition of conformity assessments for medical devices (please see the section on Standardisation for general information on MRAs). Thus, Switzerland recognises conformity assessments carried out by notified bodies/conformity assessment bodies in the states in question.

Standardisation

Switzerland has concluded mutual recognition agreements (MRAs) with the European Union (EU), the members of the EFTA and Canada and is conducting negotiations on mutual recognition with Australia and New Zealand. An MRA between the EU and Switzerland is in place for the following products and sectors:

  • machinery

  • personal protective equipment

  • toys

  • medical devices

  • gas appliances and boilers

  • pressure vessels

  • radio and telecommunications terminal equipment (RTTE)

  • equipment and protective systems intended for use in a potentially explosive atmosphere

  • electrical and electronic equipment (EEE)

  • construction plant and equipment

  • measuring instruments and prepackages

  • motor vehicles (please turn also to the following section for additional information on type approval requirements)

  • agricultural and forestry tractors

  • good laboratory practice (GLP)

  • medicinal products/good manufacturing practice (GMP, inspection and batch certification)

  • construction products

  • lifts

  • biocidal products

  • cableways

  • explosives for civil use.

Further commodities may follow. In product ranges where the Swiss and European legislation is considered equivalent, conformity evaluation may be conducted by recognised laboratories, inspection bodies or conformity assessment bodies in the respective EU Member States. Products of EU origin imported with a corresponding certificate (certificate of conformity, GLP certificate or Certificate of Good Manufacturing Practice) or a Declaration of Conformity for Electrical and Electronic Equipment are granted access to the Swiss market if the conformity assessment requirements have been met. Please turn also to the quoted document for further details.

Turkey and the EFTA countries have signed an agreement on the mutual recognition of conformity assessment results, which is established in Protocol E to the EFTA-Turkey free trade agreement. The Protocol covers all harmonised product sectors in trade between the European Economic Area (EEA) EFTA states and Turkey. Regarding trade between Turkey and Switzerland, this Protocol applies to the sectors that are covered by the EU-Swiss MRA where the respective legislation under this agreement is deemed equivalent.

Radio equipment to be placed on the Swiss market must be in accordance with the requirements set out in the Ordinance on Telecommunications Installations. The manufacturer must carry out a conformity assessment procedure for the product in question. After the compliance of the radio equipment with the applicable requirements has been demonstrated by that procedure, the manufacturer is to prepare the Declaration of Conformity for Radio Equipment and affix a Swiss conformity mark or a CE mark to the product. For further details, please turn to the mentioned document. Information on the stipulations for the labelling of radio equipment may be found in the section on Labelling Requirements below.

Apparatus or fixed installations liable to generate electromagnetic disturbance or the performance of which is liable to be affected by such disturbance must also bear a Swiss conformity mark or a CE mark and be accompanied by a conformity declaration, as stipulated by the Ordinance on Electromagnetic Compatibility.

Lists of mandatory technical standards are available from the Swiss Association for Standardization, Swiss Information Centre for Technical Rules, Bürglistrasse 29, CH-8400 Winterthur, phone number: +41 52 2245454, fax number: +41 52 2245474.

A Declaration of Conformity for Explosives issued in accordance with one of the acknowledged conformity assessment procedures as set forth in the Explosives Ordinance of 2000 (SR 941.411) must be archived and made available for at least ten years following the last production of the material.

Federal Act on Product Safety

According to the Federal Act on Product Safety (SR 930.11) and its Ordinance on Product Safety (SR 930.111), new products may only be brought into circulation if the manufacturer and the importer make sure that the product security may be monitored by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). For this purpose, the manufacturer and importer are obliged to notify every possible hazard resulting from the respective product to the competent authorities. The Product Safety Act entered into force on 1 July 2010 and covers machines, equipment, lifts, gas appliances, printers and personal security equipment. By means of this Act, Switzerland adjusted its legislation to European product standards.

Recognition of EU Product Standards

Furthermore, Switzerland revised the Federal Act on Technical Barriers to Trade. The revision entered into force on 1 July 2010 and introduced the so-called Cassis de Dijon principle, which allows for the bringing into circulation of European products without previous control through the competent Swiss authorities if the respective product has been legally manufactured and marketed in an EU Member State.

Exceptions from this rule are made for specific electrical household appliances, e.g. deep freezers, baking ovens, etc., and for foodstuffs. European food products which do not comply with Swiss product standards may indeed be traded freely on the Swiss market since 1 July 2010, but require a Marketing Authorisation under the Cassis de Dijon principle. Please also refer to the section on Foodstuffs in this overview.

Accreditation

The authority responsible for the accreditation of testing laboratories, certification and inspection bodies, which are acknowledged to test and inspect goods and provide conformity assessment in those cases where no self-assessment may be made, is the Swiss Accreditation Service (SAS), Holzikofenweg 36, CH-3003 Bern, phone number: +41 58 4633511, fax number: +41 58 4633510. The SAS is a full member of the European co-operation for Accreditation (EA). The EA itself is an active member of the ILAC (International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation) and the IAF (International Accreditation Forum) as a recognised regional cooperation. Depending on the type of product, proofs of conformity, e.g. certificates, test reports or CE marks, issued by a duly accredited body which has been licensed by the accreditation schemes of one of the abovementioned organisations, may be recognised in Switzerland. For the abovementioned MRAs, duly accredited national notified bodies may test and certify commodities to the national, regional or international specifications.

Motor Vehicles

Imported motor vehicles intended to be placed onto the Swiss market must comply with the national provisions on construction and equipment. In order to prove said compliance, a Type Approval for Motor Vehicles is required.

The applicable legal stipulations for type approval procedures are issued in the form of directives of the Federal Roads Office (FEDRO). The FEDRO also issues approvals for vehicle systems, equipment or protective devices.

Moreover, regulations regarding the reduction of emissions of CO2 are to be taken into account for passenger vehicles. A sanctioning fee will be charged for new passenger vehicles to be registered for the first time if they do not reach a specific target value (on average 130 grammes of CO2 per kilometre). This sanction will be imposed by the FEDRO following the customs clearance procedures.

Mandatory energy Labelling Requirements for passenger cars may be viewed in the quoted section below.

Raw Diamonds, Precious Metals and Products Made Thereof

All jewellery, watches and related products either made of precious metals or containing precious metal alloys must meet several quality requirements. The concerned commodities must be labelled with a responsibility mark, which is to be registered beforehand with the Office of the Precious Metal Control, which comes under the Swiss Federal Customs Administration. After successful registration, designated products intended to be marketed in Switzerland, i.e. local and foreign commodities alike, must be analysed with regard to their fineness. As a proof of their quality, the products are to bear the official national hallmark. Please refer to the following documents for further information:

  • Responsibility Mark for Precious Metals

  • Hallmarking of Precious Metals.

The Hallmarking Convention (also referred to as the Precious Metals Convention) aims at facilitating trade in precious metal articles while at the same time maintaining fair trade and consumer protection. Besides the national hallmarks, members of the Convention may use the Common Control Mark (CCM) indicating the precious metal and its fineness. By means of the CCM, the hallmarked goods will be mutually recognised by the other member states of the Convention, i.e. if marked with the CCM together with the official national assay office mark, the articles in question will be accepted without further testing or marking in the contracting parties' territories.

Switzerland is a member of the Convention. The Office of the Precious Metal Control is the competent national assay office to apply the CCM to articles of platinum, gold and silver after having tested their fineness in accordance with agreed testing methods. Besides precious metals, the Secretariat is responsible for the market access of measuring and calibration instruments, including their inspection. In the framework of the Law on Measurement Units, Measuring and Standard Time, the authority may require that natural or legal persons who deal in products and measuring instruments (e.g. manufacturers, importers, distributors and others) present information relevant for said inspection. For additional details, the documents quoted above may be consulted.

The importation of rough diamonds is controlled by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), which requires a document for each import transaction confirming that the precious stones have been handled in accordance with the provisions of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS). The KPCS certifies that diamonds are conflict-free, i.e. have been purchased from legitimate sources not involved in funding conflict and in compliance with United Nations resolutions (i.e. do not pertain to the so-called "blood diamonds"). For a description of the measure, please turn to the document entitled Kimberley Process Certificate.

Cultural Property

The responsibility for matters of international transfers of cultural property comes under the Federal Office of Culture (FOC). Importers of any property defined by means of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property are to declare their intention to enter said goods into Switzerland. Please turn to the following document for further information:

  • Declaration to Import Cultural Property.

Explosive Substances, Arms and Ammunition

Explosive substances intended for civil use are regulated by the Central Office for Explosives and Pyrotechnics of the Federal Office of Police (fedpol). Please refer to the following documents and to the section on standardisation above for further details:

  • Homologation Number for Explosives and Pyrotechnics

  • Permit to Manufacture Explosives and Pyrotechnics

  • Import Permit for Explosives and Pyrotechnics

  • Intra-Community Movement of Explosives

  • Declaration of Conformity for Explosives.

The fedpol is also the competent authority for issuing an Authorisation to Import Weapons, Ammunition and Parts Thereof. For additional details of the application procedure, please turn to the quoted document.

For dual-use items, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) holds responsible, and war materials are regulated by the SECO in cooperation with the fedpol. As all applications are to be submitted electronically, traders of war materials and dual-use items must be registered with the electronic licensing system ELIC. Further information on the import requirements for such items may be obtained in the following documents of this report:

  • Registration with ELIC

  • Licence to Deal in War Materials

  • General Import Permit for War Materials

  • Import Permit for Dual-Use Items and Technologies

  • International Import Certificate for Dual-Use Items and Technologies.

Importations of chemical weapons covered by the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) are dealt with in the corresponding section on Further Chemicals above.

Used Goods

In general, the requirements for the importability of used products may differ from those applied on the same goods if imported in new condition, e.g. in order to protect the national fauna and flora from infectious pests.

A distinction between second-hand goods that may be traded internationally for a continued use in the country of destination, on the one hand, and hazardous waste, on the other hand, is particularly difficult for electrical and electronic equipment, which by nature may contain dangerous metals or chemical compounds. Damaged goods are usually classified as waste. Even if fully functional, second-hand merchandise may run the danger to be defined as waste, too, e.g. by criteria of age. Instances of attempts to import or transit such waste equipment as used goods have been reported. Participants in foreign trade should be aware of the fact that each attempt to do so may be subject to criminal prosecution and punishment. Requirements for hazardous waste are described in the corresponding section above.

Waste

Switzerland is a member of both the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal. Depending on the country of origin (i.e. if the waste originates in an OECD or a non-OECD member country), the corresponding waste lists of the respective agreement apply. In both cases, a Notification Document for Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste, which is to be applied for by the exporter in the country of exportation, must be forwarded to the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN). The FOEN must give its consent to the intended importation. This approval and the Movement Document for Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste are to accompany the goods upon their actual importation. Please refer to the quoted documents for further details.

The OECD provides a guideline for the international trade in wastes for recovery by virtue of its Decision of the Council concerning the Control of Transboundary Movements of Wastes Destined for Recovery Operations. A corresponding OECD guidance manual has been developed. The OECD control system is based on two types of control procedures:

  • green control procedure: for wastes that present a low risk for human health and the environment and, therefore, are not subject to any other controls than those normally applied in commercial transactions

  • amber control procedure: for wastes presenting sufficient risk to justify their control accordingly.

Transborder shipments of non-hazardous waste, e.g. as defined by the green list of the OECD, require an accompanying Movement Document for Transboundary Movements of Non-Hazardous Waste in accordance with Regulation No 1013/2006/EC. Please turn to the quoted document for additional information. Persons intending to transport waste listed in said green list across an EU border must be registered in the respective EU Member State as an official waste transporter. According to the FOEN, no such registration requirement exists in Switzerland.

Wood and Wood Packaging Material

All wood and articles made of wood must be declared according to their materials. In particular, these articles comprise fuel wood, wood in the rough or charcoal, hoopwood, poles, piles, pickets and stakes of wood, wooden sleepers and sticks, also if worked (e.g. sawn, trimmed, turned, bent), parquet flooring, wooden barrels, furniture (if mainly produced from wood) and frames and certain wood products intended for construction purposes (e.g. shingles, posts or beams). This list is intended to be further amplified in the future. Wood packaging, waste or recycling products made of wood as well as wood wool or flour, densified wood, particle or fibre boards, plywood, tools and sheets for veneering do not require a declaration.

The characteristical part(s) of a wooden article must always be declared, e.g., for furniture consisting of two different types of wood (e.g. table plate and legs, or wardrobe body and doors), each type must be labelled with its correct trade name, scientific name and country of origin. Permissible names may be viewed under the newly incorporated database, which is available in German, French and Italian on the following website: www.konsum.admin.ch. The declaration must be made on the product itself or on its direct packaging in one of the official Swiss languages.

Wood packaging material is subject to specific phytosanitary regulations. The Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) has adopted the International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) No. 15 for wood packaging materials developed by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC). This standard requires many types of wooden packaging material, such as pallets, crates, boxes, and dunnage to support or brace cargo, to be heat-treated or fumigated with methyl bromide. Additionally, a mark showing the following content is to be put on the material:

  • IPPC logo

  • two letter ISO country code followed by the homologation number of the enterprise which treated the product

  • identification "HT" (heat treatment)

  • identification "DB" (debarked).

Switzerland implements the revised regulation in cooperation with the European Union (EU). Regulations of ISPM No. 15 are not applicable to shipments between Switzerland and the EU. Only applicable goods originating from third countries will be inspected at the customs border.

Harmonized System

As a multipurpose international product nomenclature, the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS), commonly referred to as Harmonized System, constitutes a universal economic language and code for goods.

Developed and continuously enhanced by the World Customs Organization (WCO), the HS consists of o ver 1,200 four-digit headings grouped in 97 chapters, which are arranged into 21 sections. Most of the headings are further subdivided into five-digit or six-digit subheadings. In total, the Harmonized System comprises about 5,000 commodity groups, each identified by a six-digit code (HS Code). HS Codes are identical in different countries, provided the latter apply the same version of the HS. The classification of goods into HS-based nomenclatures generally follows the same principles. In trade practice, however, it may not be necessarily the same.

In an interval of usually five years, the Harmonized System is kept up to date reflecting changes in technology or in international trade volumes. The last amendment became effective in 2017 when the sixth revision of the HS replaced the former version referred to as HS 2012. However, the actual implementation of the current HS version (HS 2017) as well as the adaptation of related non-tariff measures may take place at varying points in time in different countries.

Requirements for Import Formalities

In general, permission will be given only to persons or businesses with a residence or business offices in Switzerland. Foreign applicants must appoint a representative who is responsible for the compliance with the pertinent regulations in order to apply for authorisations.

Forms are in general to be completed in the language used. As most forms are available in one of the three official languages in Switzerland (German, French and Italian), the documents of the report reflect the permissible languages in the forms which are either displayed or available from the authorities. For some procedures, English forms are obtainable, too.

Not only in view of the periodic amendments of the HS, commodity codes and related descriptions included in commercial documents should always contain a reference to the nomenclature basis, e.g. HS 2012 or HS 2017 (please refer to the section on the Harmonized System above). In case the commodity codes indicated go beyond the six-digit level of the HS and refer to the tariff nomenclature of the destination country, these codes should be adjusted with the importer.

Exporters should bear in mind that besides officially required documentation, additional necessities may result from contractual agreements with the importer. If a sales contract or a letter of credit (L/C) stipulates that particular documents are to be supplied by the exporter, their provision constitutes an obligation, regardless of official requirements. Moreover, customs or further authorities may request additional documentation if they consider the information given in the customary documentation as insufficient or doubtable. Besides necessities of the authorities, importers or forwarders, requirements for import documentation are also influenced by trade practice.

Incoterms®

Responsibilities of sellers and buyers concerning the delivery of goods under international sales contracts are frequently defined by the so-called International Commercial Terms (Incoterms®). As created by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the Incoterms® constitute authoritative rules for the allotment of costs and risks to the parties of sales contracts. On the basis of the determination of how costs are allocated to the parties, Incoterms® are also used for purposes of customs valuation. The commercial terms used in contracts or trade documents may, however, base on previous versions (e.g. Incoterms® 2010). In general, it is advisable to refer to a specific edition when Incoterms® are included into the concerned documents. On 1 January 2020, the current 2020 edition came into effect.

The edition of the Incoterms® 2020 stipulates the following eleven rules:

  • ... for sea transport (and inland waterways):

    • Free alongside Ship: FAS

    • Free on Board: FOB

    • Cost and Freight: CFR

    • Cost, Insurance and Freight: CIF

  • ... for any mode(s) of transport:

    • Ex Works: EXW

    • Free Carrier: FCA

    • Carriage paid to: CPT

    • Carriage and Insurance paid to: CIP

    • Delivered at Place: DAP

    • Delivered at Place Unloaded: DPU

    • Delivered Duty paid: DDP

The former rule DAT has been renamed to DPU, which defines that the place of destination could be any place, not merely a terminal.

If the DDP rule is used, the exporter is responsible for the customs and import clearance of the goods. The importer, however, is required to assist the exporter in obtaining official authorisations where applicable. Therefore, this term should not be used if the exporter is not in the position to either directly or indirectly arrange for the clearance of the commodities.

Commercial Samples

Consignments from abroad are generally subject to customs duty and value added tax (VAT). However, unsaleable product samples which are not intended for consumption may be imported free of customs duties and VAT. Samples intended to generate new business may be imported duty-free in the following cases:

  • if the goods have no intrinsic value (items that have been rendered unusable, for example)

  • if the goods are being imported in order to be presented, analysed and tested, e.g. as regards their quality, composition or some of their properties, and their value does not exceed 100 CHF per product type (a wood sample, for example).

Commercial samples may not be sold. Otherwise, the applicable taxes and duties will be levied. In the case of alcoholic beverages in particular, samples may not contain more than 3 dl per container (bottle etc.) and said containers may not be identical to containers available on the market for consumers.

Consignments Sent by Post

As a general rule, Swiss Post conducts the customs clearance of any postal shipments. With the exception of postcards and letters containing only personal or business communications, every postal consignment entering Switzerland will be registered and is liable to tariff measures (i.e. customs duty and value added tax - VAT) as a matter of principle. The company has been entitled to charge an overall customs clearance fee, which amounts to 11.50 CHF for deliveries from any of the four direct neighbouring countries, and 16 CHF from all other countries. In addition, a surcharge corresponding to 3% of the declared value of the goods is applied (not including import duty and customs control). These also apply to goods purchased on the Internet. Calculated amounts of any duty or tax value less than 5 CHF per customs declaration will not be levied.

Gift items sent via post by private individuals living abroad to individuals in Switzerland are exempt from duties and VAT up to a merchandise value of 100 CHF with the exclusion of tobacco products and alcoholic beverages; for all other goods, the threshold value, including transportation costs, is 65 CHF or 200 CHF, if VAT-reduced items (e.g. books). Postal consignments must always contain a Commercial Invoice or a customs declaration on the outside of the packaging in order to assess the value of the goods, evidence of the transportation costs (e.g. a postal stamp on the envelope or shipping documents) and all applicable permits/authorisations, if any. If a consignment cannot be cleared through customs due to missing, unreliable or incomplete customs documents and must therefore be opened or if a consignment must be placed in temporary storage (i.e. under customs supervision) until the missing information is received or until the recipient or customs authorities take a decision concerning its customs clearance, an additional fee is payable. This inspection surcharge for value clarification and storage may be charged once per consignment and amounts to 13 CHF; it will not be levied for duty-free consignments.

An additional customs tariff number fee is charged (10 CHF per tariff number) if a consignment covers more than 5 customs tariff numbers. Goods subject to either excise duties (e.g. alcohol, tobacco) or to non-tariff measures imposed by other than the customs authorities as described in the sections above must obligatorily be inspected, entailing yet another fee.

Currency and Payments

The Swiss Franc (= Schweizer Franken, CHF) is the official currency of Switzerland (and, by agreement, of the Principality of Liechtenstein as well) and is freely convertible. With the exception of specific regulations applicable to banks and finance companies, there are no exchange controls. Bank accounts may be maintained in local or foreign currencies without restriction and without distinction between resident and nonresident accounts. Export revenues may be disposed of and amounts may be repatriated freely.

The exclusive right to issue or withdraw bank notes and coins lies with the Swiss National Bank (SNB), which conducts the country's monetary policy as an independent central bank. As such, it also determines and implements monetary and credit policy. Monetary measures affecting, e.g., foreign currency position, foreign source funds or minimum reserve requirements may be implemented by the SNB, but are in practice limited to exceptional circumstances.

Terms of payment may be freely negotiated and are usually stipulated in the sales contract. Due to the costs involved, the letter of credit is not a very common condition. If there is doubt about the recipient's credit-worthiness, however, singular or first-time transactions may require the opening of a letter of credit. Frequently, terms would depend upon the amounts involved. Common terms are the net payment within 30 to 60 days from the date of the invoice, the payment within a shorter period of time, e.g. ten to 15 days with 2% to 3% discount, and the payment after 30 to 60 days with an interest charge. Good customers may expect credit of up to three months.

Country of Origin Labelling

Designated foodstuffs and animal feed coming from third countries are subject to intensified border controls. The indication of the country of origin on the packaging is mandatory for those products. Moreover, the country of origin of plants subject to a Plant Passport (if of other than Swiss origin) is to be inscribed on said passport, which often assumes the form of a label, but may be presented in other forms as well, e.g. in a commercial document or as a seal. Furthermore, commodities coming under the Ordinance on the Protection of Designations of Origin and Geographical Indications for Agricultural Products and Processed Agricultural Products must be labelled in accordance with the corresponding stipulations. In the case of other products, country of origin labelling is neither legally required nor does it constitute a trade practice. However, as indicated in the following chapter, several goods require the country of manufacture to be indicated on their packaging.

The country of origin labelling on the merchandise and/or its packaging should correspond to the origin stated on the commercial documents. It should be borne in mind that any indication of a country on the commodity itself may be valued as a declaration of origin. In case of any doubts, it is advisable to contact the importer.

Products featuring a designated degree of Swiss origin may be labelled with the "Swiss made" label or the Swiss flag. The so-called "Swissness" legislation, which entered into force in January 2017, stipulates a mandatory minimum of local content of at least 60% of the value of the respective goods in order to be eligible for the use of the "Swiss made" label or the Swiss flag. For agricultural products, it stipulates that in addition to processing in Switzerland, only products consisting of at least 80% Swiss raw materials (weight-based) may carry the "Swiss made" label. In case of milk products, however, the milk must originate 100% in Switzerland. As the notion "Made in Switzerland" is very popular on the Swiss market, this measure may promote the marketing of such products in Switzerland.

Labelling Requirements

Inscriptions on product labels must be legible, non-erasable and placed visibly. Consumer information must be written in at least one of the official Swiss languages (German, French, Italian); exceptions to these rules are possible if consumers are not misled.

Foodstuffs and Beverages

Pre-packaged foodstuffs to be sold to consumers must bear the following information:

  • designation of the product

  • list of ingredients

  • allergenic potential of the food or its ingredients, if applicable

  • amount of specific ingredients, if applicable

  • best-before date or date of expiry

  • information on the appropriate storage and use, if applicable

  • name or company and address of the person who manufactures, imports, packages or sells the product

  • country of manufacture

  • provenance of quantitatively important ingredients of the food

  • specific details for beef, pork, mutton, goat meat, poultry and fish, if applicable

  • instructions for use, if the food could not be used appropriately without this information

  • content of alcohol, in case of alcoholic beverages with an alcohol content exceeding 1.2%

  • lot number

  • nutrition declaration

  • indication that the food consists of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), contains GMOs or has been derived from GMOs, if applicable

  • application of technological processing (such as irradiation), if applicable

  • identity labelling, if applicable

  • further information may be required for specific foodstuffs, e.g. for meat, fish, milk, honey, eggs, natural mineral water and beverages containing caffeine.

Additional regulations on the type, size and makeup of food packagings apply. If the largest surface is smaller than 10 cm2, only specific details are mandatory: designation of the product, allergenic potential of the food or its ingredients (if applicable), best-before date or date of expiry and indications as regards GMOs or irraditation (if applicable).

For foodstuffs of animal origin, e.g. meat, fish, milk, honey and eggs, a number of additional requirements apply depending on the type of product. By way of example, fishery products must also be labelled with the production method, e.g. "gefangen in ..." (caught in), "aus Binnenfischerei" (caught in freshwater) or "in Aquakultur gewonnen" (aquaculture product), as well as the category of the used fishing gear.

In the case of natural mineral water, the place and name of the spring must be indicated on the label. Instead of a list of ingredients, the label must show the amount of the characteristic components of the natural mineral water or the phrase "Zusammensetzung entsprechend den Ergebnissen der amtlich anerkannten Analyse vom [Datum der Analyse]" (composition according to the results of the official analysis of [date of the analysis]).

Beverages containing caffeine must also show specific details on their labels. In case of a caffeine content between 30 mg/l and 150 mg/l, at least the indication "contains caffeine" is required. Beverages with a caffeine content exceeding 150 mg/l must show the caffeine content and further specific information in accordance with the Swiss Regulation Regarding the Information on Foodstuffs (Annex 2, Part B, 4). These beverages furthermore require an indication that they should only be consumed in limited quantities due to their caffeine content. They must also show the content of taurine and glucuronolactone in mg/l or their percentage. The denomination for beverages with a caffeine content exceeding 150 mg/l may be "koffeinhaltiges Erfrischungsgetränk" (caffeinated soft drink), "Energydrink" or "Energy Drink" (energy drink) or, if they have a content below 100 ml, "Energyshot" or "Energy-Shot" (energy shot).

Feedstuffs

Animal feed to be marketed in Switzerland is to be labelled in clear, readable and indelible manner in at least one of the official languages. Details given on the labels may not be obscured in any way and may, futhermore, not be misleading regarding their information. Additionally, they may not contain any information describing the prevention, treating or curing of diseases. In general, the following details are to be stated:

  • type of feed, e.g. dietary or supplementary feed

  • registration number

  • list of ingredients

  • water content, if applicable

  • name and address of the business responsible for the labelling

  • identifiation number or lot number

  • net weight or volume

  • best before date.

In case of compound feed, the following particulars are also to be included:

  • animal or animal category

  • directory of the feed

  • percentages of analytical ingredients

  • information on proper usage

  • name or address of the manufacturer or registration number, in case the manufacturer is not responsible for the labelling of the product

Further stipulations might apply in case of different feed compositions.

Tobacco Products

Tobacco products may only be imported in retail packages. The packages must bear the following information already at the time of their customs declaration:

  • retail price

  • product description

  • enterprise number or company name

  • country of manufacture

  • tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide content

  • general and supplementary warning messages

  • graphical warning label.

The complete information must be printed or applied irremovably in legible and indelible characters on each retail package under a plastic film.

Cosmetics

The containers and labels of cosmetic products are to bear the following information:

  • list of ingredients contained therein in descending order

    • ingredients with a percentage of less than 1 may be listed in any desired order

    • colouring agents are to be given including their colour index (CI) number or as stipulated by the Swiss national legislation

    • fragrances and aromas and their basic materials may be declared as "perfume" or "aroma"

    • nano materials are to be listed explicitly

  • function of the cosmetic product, if applicable

  • name and address of the manufacturer, importer, dealer or responsible person

  • date of minimum durability (month, year or day, month, year) including the prescribed pictogramme for products with a minimum durability of less than 30 months. Those products of a longer durability must have an indication of the period of time after opening for which the product may be used without causing any harm to the consumer

  • storage conditions, if applicable

  • lot number or mark to identify the product, if applicable

  • precautionary measures

  • in the case that no animal testing has been conducted, a corresponding statement may be included.

Vehicles

New passenger cars to be marketed in Switzerland require energy labels to be affixed to the vehicles, which must contain the following information:

  • brand and type of vehicle

  • type of combustible required

  • gear transmission type, gears or stages and switching mode

  • net weight

  • classification in accordance with the Euro-norms laid down in Directive 70/220/EEC and Regulation (EU) No 715/2007

  • energy consumption

  • CO2 emissions

  • classification of energy efficiency (into classes A to G)

  • period of validity of the energy label

  • type approval number.

Radio Equipment

Radio equipment must show the identification number of the conformity assessment body, if applicable. This number must have the same size as the conformity mark. Moreover, radio equipment is generally to be marked with the following details:

  • description of the type, series, serial number or any other identifying details

  • name, company or registered trademark of the manufacturer

  • address of the manufacturer

  • name, company or registered trademark of the importer (in case of imported products)

  • address of the importer (in case of imported products).

If it is not possible due to the size or type of the equipment, the listed information must be included on the packaging or an accompanying document.

Radio equipment must furthermore be accompanied by safety instructions and information, details of the corresponding frequency bands in which the equipment is used, the maximum radiated power in the used frequency bands and, if applicable, operational restrictions, especially the obligation to obtain an operating concession. The details concerning operational restrictions must be presented on the packaging. The information is to be written in the official language(s) of the point of sale.