The provisions relating to trade in goods govern the tariff concessions (tariff reduction or elimination) which the parties grant each other. This enables better market access for Swiss export products on the one hand and facilitates the import of goods on the other.
Switzerland’s FTAs aim at eliminating tariffs as far as possible for all industrial products, including fish and other marine products, on both the import and export side
Switzerland’s FTAs distinguish between basic agricultural products (BAPs) and processed agricultural products (PAPs). In these two areas, the aim is to achieve targeted liberalisation that is compatible with the objectives of Swiss agricultural policy. With regard to BAPs, the concessions granted by Switzerland relate in particular to tariff reductions for non-sensitive products (e.g. tropical fruit) and imports within existing WTO tariff quotas (e.g. meat or fruit/vegetables). For processed agricultural products, Switzerland generally grants concessions corresponding to so-called "industrial protection". (More information on processed agricultural products can be found here - text in French) Switzerland also has export interests in agricultural products. In particular, it seeks greater access to foreign markets for agricultural products such as cheese and dairy products as well as for food preparations such as energy drinks, chocolate and coffee.
FAQs on the movement of goods
The central element of FTAs is the reciprocal granting of tariff preferences - i.e. a complete or partial reduction or elimination of customs duties in favour of the respective contracting party. These preferential tariffs are lower than the regular import duties and companies can thus benefit from savings. In addition, the provisions on the movement of goods improve legal certainty and transparency in foreign markets for Swiss companies.
The tariff preferences of the FTA can be applied to goods which are covered by the FTA and which comply with the rules of origin provided for therein. Further information on the rules of origin can be found on the website of the Federal Customs Administration.
Where companies can benefit from an FTA, the majority of them do so. The use of the tariff preferences of the FTA is based on the calculation of the utilisation rate. This measures the share of imports actually imported via the FTA, measured against all the goods that could have been imported more cheaply under the FTA (goods that are generally duty-free or otherwise benefiting from tariff preferences were not included in this calculation).
SECO has commissioned a comprehensive data analysis. It shows the extent to which Swiss companies make use of Switzerland's free trade agreements to save customs duties.
No. Whilst the FTAs seeks to eliminate tariffs on all industrial products as far as possible, the aim for agricultural products is targeted liberalisation. The tariff preferences that the contracting parties grant each other are the result of negotiations and therefore vary from one FTA to the other, taking into account both sides’ sensitive areas.
As a highly developed economy with a small domestic market, Switzerland is strongly integrated into international value chains and is dependent on foreign markets for both imports and exports. The tariff preferences in FTAs facilitate the import of goods. This improves the economic conditions for companies and benefits consumers. However, FTAs are not about trade without any restrictions or barriers whatsoever and have no impact on the applicable Swiss product standards.
Last modification 20.10.2020