Export from Switzerland

Most frequently asked export related questions

Do you have questions about customs duties, value-added tax or designations of origin?

Most frequently asked export related questions

Our ExportHelp team is there as your first point of contact to offer a helping hand with technical questions relating to exporting.

Most frequently asked export related questions

We delivered DDP to a German customer according to the Incoterms and paid the German import sales tax of 19%. Can we reclaim it?

In order for a Swiss company to be eligible to reclaim import sales tax, prior registration in the country of destination is necessary. However, this also involves certain obligations.

If the importer is a company, the DDP clause should therefore be avoided if possible or supplemented with the addendum “untaxed”. In this case the importer remains liable for the import sales tax and can reclaim it without any difficulty. You can also find further information in our VAT dossier

We would like to have the goods delivered directly from our supplier in Austria to our customer in Germany. What do we need to bear in mind?

In terms of VAT, such chain transactions with the EU are not as simple as one might initially think. With these transactions, it always depends on the Incoterms used and whether the transaction involves goods being delivered or collected. Depending on the Incoterms used, the delivery is taxable in either the country of destination or departure; this usually results in mandatory VAT registration in one of the EU countries. We recommend that you consult a VAT expert at an early stage.

You can also find further information in our VAT dossier.

Can goods “Made in Switzerland” be imported duty-free in the country of destination?

Made in Switzerland or Swiss Made are indications of origin. Their use is governed by special rules. However, the designation Swiss Made on a product has nothing to do with its origin in the sense of free trade agreements. 

The rules for the use of the trademark “Switzerland” differ substantially from the rules of origin under the free trade agreements. They must not be confused with each other.

Further information on the topic of Swissness can be found here.

A certificate of conformity (SABER) is required for our delivery to Saudi Arabia. How does that work?

The electronic certification and conformity assessment certificate “SABER” replaced the “Certificate of Conformity CoC” in 2019. The SABER platform can be used to carry out both product certifications of conformity (PCoC) and shipment certificates of conformity (SCoC). Registration takes place via the importer, who may require further information and documents from the exporter.

Detailed information and a link to explanatory videos can be found here.

How is the value of the goods calculated?

The value of the goods required for customs clearance purposes consists of the sales price to the recipient plus transport costs and less any discounts. As a result, the value of the goods may vary depending on the agreed sales price. For gratuitous shipments, the statistical value of the goods must be declared when the goods cross the border.

We would like to present our goods at a trade fair, after which they will be transported back to Switzerland. Is there a special customs procedure for this?

To ensure that goods that are only used abroad for a limited time can be imported and exported duty-free, one of the following procedures may be applied.
-    Carne ATA 
-    ZAVV / Temporary export

However, we recommend checking beforehand whether a definitive export followed by a subsequent normal import is less expensive in relation to the costs and effort involved.

Detailed information is available in our leaflet “Customs formalities for temporary exports” (only available in German, French and Italian).

Does our employee need a residence permit to perform assembly work in an EU country?

As long as the duration of 90 working days per calendar year is not exceeded, Swiss nationals enjoy freedom of movement within the EU. A residence permit is therefore only required for postings lasting longer than 90 days per calendar year.

For every business-related posting of an employee (e.g. including attending trade fairs) of max. 24 months in an EU country, a certificate of posting (certificate A1) must be applied for at the responsible compensation fund. An A1 certificate is currently also required for a working meeting lasting only a few hours, for example in Germany.

You can find more information on the posting of employees here.

The United Kingdom has left the EU. What does this mean for us as Swiss exporters?

You can find information in our Brexit dossier.

EXW (EX Works) is supposedly an effective condition for domestic deliveries. Why is it still part of the Incoterms?

There are justified cases where the EXW clause makes sense. For example, when VAT is charged, collection takes place on site and there are no permit requirements. The EXW clause is mainly intended for domestic market transactions, such as intra-community deliveries within the EU, the Americas and in other regional economic zones. The clause is therefore of far greater importance internationally than is known in Switzerland.


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