: Switzerland has a customs union with Liechtenstein in 1924. Switzerland is a member of European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Other members are Liechtenstein, Iceland, and Norway. Switzerland has signed bilateral agreements with the EU that guarantee many of the same economic advantages and lowered barriers to trade that EU members enjoy. The USA and Switzerland have formed a “Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum” to promote mutual trade. Switzerland also signed last February, 2009 a Free-Trade Agreement with Japan allowing the exemption of customs duties for 99 % of trade transactions between these two countries, within 10 years. Finally, Switzerland has signed free trade agreements with the States of the Gulf Cooperation Council
(GCC) and Albania.
Non tariff barriers: Switzerland has a strict policy for import of agricultural biotechnology products. It involves a lengthy approval process. Quotas exist for import of certain products (mainly food items) which vary from year to year vary from year to year depending upon the size of harvests, volume of stocks and market requirements. These quotas are granted only to importers based in Switzerland and they need an import license. Import licenses are also required for certain products not subject to quotas, but which are covered by special regulations concerned with public health, plant health, quarantine (plants), veterinary regulations; regulations concerning the protection of endangered species, safety measures, price control (for certain textile products).
Average Customs Duty (excluding agricultural products)
: 5.5% Swiss duties are generally "specific" rather than "ad valorem". Duty varies according to the item imported. For details, visit: Swiss Customs Office
Customs classification: Harmonized System (HS) is used.
: The goods to be imported into the country need to be presented to the appropriate Customs office and declared for customs clearance. The following time limits are followed for declaration of imported goods from arrival into the country by various means of transportation: road, 24 hours; river, 48 hours; rail, 7 days; and air, 7 days. The importer may examine goods before submitting them for clearance.
However in reality, almost all commercial shipments are handled by forwarding companies, which, in most cases, also are legally empowered to act as Customs agents. For more details, visit: Swiss Customs Office