All persons who, at the beginning of the controlled period for commerce, still have stocks of goods of agricultural products imported during the free period must submit a new customs declaration for these goods to the Federal Office for Customs and Border Security FOCBS. It is irrelevant whether they imported the goods themselves or whether they purchased imported goods imported during the free period in Switzerland. The new customs declaration must be submitted by the companies concerned themselves. This also applies to the owners of stocks of goods in distribution centres or the like. On the basis of the customs declaration, the difference in customs duties between the quota customs rate and the non-quota customs rate must be paid additionally to the FOCBS.
Stocks for commerce which have not been consumed within two days after the beginning of the controlled period shall be redeclared in accordance with Article 55 of the Customs Ordinance (CustO; SR 631.01). The customs declaration for still existing agricultural products must be received by the FOCBS no later than midnight of the second day after the beginning of the controlled period. If this second day is a Sunday or a holiday recognized under federal law, the deadline is extended until 8am of the next working day. In any case, the stock remaining on the second day at midnight must be declared.
Please consult the document "Offsetting tariff quotas (PDF, 77 kB, 24.12.2021)" (only available in French, German and Italian).
An Internet application is available for submitting this customs declaration.
Upon registration, the information relating to the customs declaration (declaration, login) will be sent to you by the FOCBS, Economic Measures Section, by email.
Attribution to tariff quota shares
Persons required to submit the customs declaration are exempt from paying the difference in customs duties but not from the obligation to submit a declaration, if the existing agricultural products can be attributed to their personal share of the tariff quota.
The person required to submit the customs declaration who wishes to offset already allocated tariff quota shares against stocks of goods must book the attributable amount to their own general import permit using the secure website of the Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG), AEV14online. In the case of registration in "AEV14online", the general import licence no. 319414 which is internal to the administration, must be indicated as the authorised party. Once the booking is successfully completed, the "AEV14online" system automatically generates a confirmation in PDF format.
Offsetting is to be applied for in the customs declaration and the usage agreement must be uploaded in PDF format to the electronic customs declaration.
Please note the document "Offsetting tariff quotas (PDF, 77 kB, 24.12.2021)" (only available in French, German and Italian).
Reference to the obligation to make a new customs declaration
Based on Article 61 of the Customs Ordinance (CustO; SR 631.01), anyone who passes on agricultural products imported during the free period to a third party must notify that party in writing of the obligation to submit a new customs declaration in accordance with Article 55 of the CustO.
In the event of violations of this provision, the supplier may be declared jointly liable for payment of the import duties if the recipient of the stocks of goods has not declared them as provided for in Article 55 of the CustO.
Under "Legal foundations", you will find an excerpt of the relevant provisions in the laws and ordinances.
Fresh products for further processing
The free periods are also used for the import of fresh products for processing. The provisions governing stocks of goods likewise apply to these goods. Products not yet processed as well as goods that remain fresh when processed (e.g. products for mixed salads, many kitchen-ready products, etc.) are deemed stocks of goods.
Only products which have already been processed to the extent that they are no longer deemed fresh fruit or fresh vegetables (e.g. deep-frozen or pasteurised) are not considered stocks of goods. This also applies to products not subject to approval (e.g. mashed fruit or fruit that has become mush due to transport). Decisive in this regard is the tariff classification of the processed product in accordance with the electronic customs tariff Tares of the Federal Office for Customs and Border Security.
Quality-related returns, waste and defective goods
The legal basis does not exclude returns, waste or defective goods from the obligation to submit a customs declaration. If such goods are used for animal feed or destroyed, the new application must contain a corresponding indication and the confirmation must be kept on file.
The persons listed under contacts will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Questions on technical implementation and customs declarationFederal Office for Customs and Border Security 3003 Bern
- +41 58 465 56 03
Questions in connection with attribution to quotasFederal Office for Agriculture Import and Export
- +41 58 462 23 48