Rules of Origin

In order to enable a distinction to be made between country of origin goods and third-country goods in the field of trade between different free trade partners, rules of origin are required.


These rules set out which criteria each group of goods have to fulfil to qualify for preferential treatment. For this reason, country of origin protocols and country of origin appendices exist for each free trade agreement. The following goods may be declared as Swiss country of origin goods:

Wholly produced in Switzerland (original product)
E.g. wood, granite, live animals, animal products.

Sufficiently processed in Switzerland 
Processing in Switzerland, which goes beyond minimal treatment (e.g. washing, painting, sorting, filling, mixing etc.), is required.

A product is deemed to be sufficiently processed, if the conditions contained in the list of the corresponding country of origin protocol are fulfilled.

The country of origin protocols can be found using the following link in the document R-30 issued by the Federal Office for Customs and Border Security; select the respective agreement under Point 3), and open the link under Point V List of required processing

Another possibiity to retrieve the list rules is our customs database (see chapter Customs database).

Re-exported in unaltered condition 
This involves goods which are imported into Switzerland with a country of origin certificate from another signatory country, and are then re-exported in unaltered condition to a signatory country of the same agreement or the same cumulation zone.

The transfer of the country of origin is possible among those states which have made provision for such cumulation.

Cumulation makes it possible to use country of origin products of a signatory country, provided they have already been imported from the respective countries of origin with country of origin certificates. This means that primary materials which already constitute country of origin products of another signatory country do not have to be adequately processed once again in Switzerland.

In this case, country of origin products of the signatory countries may be deemed equivalent to Swiss country of origin products within the territory of the agreement. This therefore means that they do not have to be taken into account when calculating the permissible ratio of primary materials without country of origin characteristics.

Example: you have used primary materials from Germany, and have imported these using a valid country of origin certificate. The goods are subjected only to minimal processing in Switzerland and are then exported to France. At the time of export, the cumulation means a country of origin certificate may be issued.

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