An electronic export customs declaration is necessary for all commercial goods that you wish to export from Switzerland.
This job can be delegated to a haulage company/customs agent that was instructed by you accordingly in writing beforehand. The haulage company/customs agent subsequently acts on your behalf as the person subject to the declaration obligation. The haulage company/customs agent coordinates the necessary work with the Federal Office for Customs and Border Security (FOCBS) and gives you assistance or support in the event of any clarification tasks.
When exporting from Switzerland, you or the haulage company/customs agent mandated by you must transfer the goods to the so-called export procedure, i.e. prepare an electronic export customs declaration and submit it to the FOCBS. Precisely how that works is described in detail at the following link: Declaring goods electronically.
The export procedure serves among other things to monitor goods traffic with third countries. Furthermore, the details provided by you or the haulage company/customs agent in the export customs declaration are used to prepare Switzerland's official trade statistics. These form the basis when negotiating free trade agreements with other countries, for instance.
Export duty and value added tax
No customs duty is payable on goods being exported.
Such goods are also exempt from value added tax. The following link shows the procedure and what is to be noted: Value added tax: tax-exempt delivery for exportation.
Any costs incurred in the country of destination
It is quite possible that customs duty and other taxes are payable in the country of destination when importing. Particularly by observing the provisions on issuing certificates of origin, you can help your clients import goods duty-free or at least at a reduced rate (see link on Origin/free trade).
Possible types of export customs declaration
Permanent exportation (normal procedure):
In the case of permanent exportation, goods that were in free circulation in Switzerland are exported to another country.
In the case of temporary exportation, goods that were in free circulation in Switzerland are temporarily brought to another country. It is definite at the time of exportation that the goods will be brought back to Switzerland. (Temporary exportation)
Claiming export refunds:
Certain agricultural products and goods made from these generally have higher prices in Switzerland than on the world market. To compensate for this, an application for an export refund can be made when exporting these products or goods from Switzerland. (available in German, French and Italian)
Issuing certificates of origin:
In order for your clients to claim customs preference (duty reduction or exemption) in the country of destination, they will need the prescribed preference documents for the country in question. (Origin/free trade)
Possible restrictions to be observed when exporting
It is generally possible to export without any restrictions. However, exportation can be prohibited or restricted. The following reasons come into consideration in this regard:
The exportation of goods can sometimes be significantly restricted in some countries due to bans, authorisation obligations or other measures. Foreign and security policy considerations, so-called embargos, are generally behind these country-specific restrictions.
In these cases, information on whether goods can be exported or whether restrictions are to be observed can be obtained from the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO (Sanctions/embargos → available in German, French and Italian).
The exportation of some categories of goods is subject to restrictions or entirely prohibited. The reasons for this can be found for instance in the area of foreign trade law (export controls), security (dual-use goods) the environment, cultural assets, CITES species protection, etc.
In these cases, information on whether goods can be exported or whether restrictions are to be observed can be obtained from the relevant federal agencies: Bans, restrictions and conditions.
Other areas that could be relevant and are therefore to be noted:
- Capital and payment transactions with foreign economic regions can be subject to requirements under foreign trade law.
- Foreign trade with certain persons, organisations or institutions can be significantly restricted. These restrictions are based on foreign and security policy considerations such as efforts to combat terrorism.
In these cases, information on whether business, a financial transaction or contact can take place, or whether restrictions are to be observed, can be obtained from the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO (www.seco.admin.ch).
Our involvement in the export process is generally free of charge. However, Customs can charge a time-based fee for certain services such as customs clearance outside office hours.