When importing goods originating in developing countries, Switzerland allows one-sided customs preferences. Those who wish to benefit from this must present certificates of origin. From January 1, 2017, new certificates of origin will be used in trade with developing countries. The declaration of origin (Statement on Origin, SoO) replaces the previous certificate of origin "Form A". This change initiated by the EU and adopted by Switzerland and Norway requires the introduction of the "Registered Exporters" system (REX).
The new declaration of origin can be issued independently by the exporting company, provided it has a valid registration (REX number) assigned by the government agencies. The REX number will be assigned upon request and must be referred to in the declaration of origin. The REX data will be recorded, managed and exchanged between the EU, Switzerland and Norway, in a database provided by the EU. In future the presentation of the certificate of origin will be the full responsibility of the exporters; the government agencies are only responsible for the registration, recording and maintenance of the REX data.
How does this affect Swiss companies?
For Swiss companies REX means that when importing goods under preference from developing countries, declarations of origin will in future have to be presented. A corresponding section will be introduced for the entry of the REX number on the customs declaration. There will also be changes if Swiss companies forward deliveries to EU countries or to Norway, with proof of origin from developing countries which are subject to customs checks in Switzerland. Any companies re-exporting in this way will have to be registered as Swiss REX, as must Swiss suppliers of primary materials for the manufacture of products originating in developing countries. The obligation to register as Swiss REX by January 1, 2017 also applies to such companies.
The Regional Customs Directorates are responsible for registration. These also serve as information agencies.