Swiss industrial duties abolished from January
From 1st January 2024, most industrial import duties in Switzerland will be abolished. Find out how this affects your business and what you need to beware of as an importer, in this article.
Which import duties will cease in Switzerland from January 2024?
Import duties will cease for most industrial goods which are classified in chapters 25-97 of the tariff. However, there will be some exceptions to this rule. It is important that you have the correct goods classification and check whether your imports will be duty-free going forwards.
Agricultural and excise goods of chapters 1-24 will remain dutiable, so you can expect to continue importing these goods with their respective quotas and rules of preferential origin as normal.
Chapters 98 and 99 remain specialised for projects and personal belongings, and their rules will continue to apply in 2024 as normal.
Will any import duties remain for Switzerland from January 2024?
Yes. Although standard import duty will be removed from the Swiss tariff for chapters 25-97 from January 2024 for most industrial products, there will be some goods covered by these codes which still attract duty. For example, automotive tax will still apply for car imports of chapter 87.
In addition to import duties on the exceptions throughout chapters 25-97, excise duty and mineral oil taxes will still be applicable on qualifying goods as normal.
If you want to know for sure if your goods will benefit from zero duty, you can speak to one of our customs consultants to get advice.
Good news, most Swiss tariff codes are also getting simpler
Because there will be no duty on most products, there is no longer a need for Swiss customs to have complicated tariff codes.
Your goods will continue to be classified on an eight digit code; however, in most cases, it will be made up of the relevant six-digit HS code and two zeros. The reduction in codes mean that there will now be 7,511 codes, down from the current 9,114.
Beware! Do not become complacent on origin paperwork
Although it is good that your Swiss import duty could be abolished in January, it can leave your business exposed.
If you are used to using certificates of origin, or another document proving preferential origin, you and your supplier may become less vigilant now that there is no duty to pay.
This can be ok when you are importing goods that will definitely be used in Switzerland. However, you may need this proof of origin when exporting to another country as it can be a block for your business or a problem for your customer.
For example, you need proof of origin when you are manufacturing goods and selling to another country. Customs requirements for manufacturers can change very quickly, or prohibitions like the sanctions on Russian iron and steel can be applied almost overnight. Even if it is not a problem now, it can become one very easily. Any goods without preference will be treated as third-country-originating on export.
Obtaining proof of preferential origin retrospectively is a lengthy and complicated process that is highly likely to be unproductive, especially if you are no longer using the supplier or there are lots of shipments to do this for.
Save yourself the risk of unexpected costs and noncompliance by keeping on top of your origin paperwork despite no import duty being due in Switzerland. If you are not 100% sure that your goods will remain in Switzerland, continue to ask for preferential origin paperwork as normal.