Questions free trade agreements with China

The questions most frequently asked about the new free trade agreements with China.

Questions free trade agreements with China
Questions free trade agreements with China

FTA with China: came into force on 1 July 2014.

From when can I import my goods into China duty-free?

Duty in China will be reduced in stages by customs tariff code. Some goods will be free of duty immediately, for others this will take 5 to 10 years, and for a few products even 12 or 15 years.

The first reduction took place on July 1st 2014. The next step of the tariff reduction will take place on January 1st 2015 and so on, until the reduction of each HS code will be completed.

The preferential customs tariffs valid at any given time are available in the customs database.

Where can I find the list rules on the free trade agreement?

The list rules can be found in Tares and in the service document D.30 at the Swiss Customs Administration.

A summary of the most important information:

WO (Wholly obtained) = wholly obtained in Switzerland or China (original product)

CC = Change of Chapter (first 2 digits of HS classification)

CTH = Change of Tariff Heading (4-digit HS classification)

CTSH = Change of Tariff Subheading (6-digit HS classification)

VNM% = value-defined list rule: maximum percentage of the value of non-originating materials (i.e. where Switzerland or China is not the preferential origin)

There is a general value tolerance for WO, CC, CTH and CTSH of 10% of the ex-works price.

We are approved exporters (AE). What must we observe in particular with the new agreement in China?

The declaration of origin on the invoice deviates from the standard formulation and must be written in English. The "Registration No." is the number of the approved exporter authorisation without the year. You also need a 23-digit serial number. Declarations of origin must be sent electronically. Please see the Swiss Customs Administration website for details about AE data: Approved exporters

I am not an approved exporter; when exporting goods of low value, can I still include a declaration of origin on the invoice, as with other agreements?

No, the agreement with China stipulates that only approved exporters can include declarations of origin on the invoice. All other exporters must use the movement certificate EUR.1 China. As well as the customs tariff number and a description of the goods, you must provide additional origin criterion information in field 8.

  • WO (Wholly obtained) = wholly obtained in Switzerland or China (original product)
  • WP = wholly produced (produced only with material originating from Switzerland or China)
  • PSR = goods produced with non-preferential materials which meet the product-specific list rules 


Does the agreement also apply to imports into Switzerland?

Yes, most duty charged on import into Switzerland will be set to 0% when the agreement comes into force. Form A will no longer be required, and cannot therefore be used for imports since 1 July 2014.

What is the period allowed for subsequent submission under provisional clearance (Importation into Switzerland)?

If no valid documentary evidence of origin exists at the time of the customs declaration, the person subject to the declaration obligation can request a provisional import assessment for goods that are covered by the Agreement. According to established administrative practice regarding free trade agreements, the documentary evidence of origin has to be submitted within two months (period of validity of provisional assessment; moreover, the person subject to the declaration obligation can submit a written and substantiated request for a deadline extension before this period of validity expires).

Is cumulation possible with the free trade agreement?

This is a bilateral agreement between Switzerland and China. It follows therefore that cumulation with other EFTA states or other countries is not possible. For example, goods imported under preferential terms from China cannot be exported preferentially onto the EU without sufficient processing.

Is the declaration of origin mandatory to be added on the commercial invoice only?

No. The declaration of origin can get added on any other commercial document. In this case, the alternative document needs to be uploaded on EACN. Important is, that the direct transport rule gets complied with.

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