The market access provisions of the Switzerland-European Union (EU) free trade agreement and the Switzerland-EU Agreement on Agriculture have been adopted in the Switzerland-UK bilateral trade agreement. This means that existing preferential customs treatment will continue to apply in the Switzerland-UK relationship. This includes exemption from duty for manufactured products (originating products listed in HS chapters 25–97, with the exception of individual products listed in customs tariff chapters 35 and 38) and preferential treatment for processed and unprocessed agricultural products.
Trade in goods
Products originating in the UK according to the terms of the Switzerland-UK trade agreement continue to be given preferential treatment when imported into Switzerland. The tariffs applicable to the import of products originating in the UK will be published in the digital customs tariff Tares when the Switzerland-UK trade agreement comes into force.
Products originating in Switzerland according to the terms of the Switzerland-UK trade agreement continue to be given preferential treatment when imported into the UK. Information on the tariffs can be viewed here.
Please direct any further questions regarding customs and import formalities to the UK customs authorities’ enquiry team.
Rules of origin / cumulation
Protocol No 3 of the trade agreement provides for bilateral Switzerland-UK cumulation. Under certain circumstances, diagonal cumulation is possible with input materials from the EU and other parties to the Regional Convention on Pan-Euro-Mediterranean Preferential Rules of Origin (PEM Convention). For detailed information, please see this circular from the Federal Customs Administration (in German).
Information on the UK’s free trade agreements with the parties to the PEM Convention can be found here.
For input materials originating in the EU to be cumulated diagonally, a free trade agreement between the EU and the UK with identical rules of origin as those in the CH-UK trade agreement must exist or, at the least, a customs mutual assistance agreement must be temporarily in force.
If the EU and the UK conclude a free trade agreement with identical rules of origin as those in the CH-UK trade agreement or at least a temporary customs mutual assistance agreement, cumulation will be possible if the EU input material has undergone more than minimum processing in Switzerland. If goods originating in the EU are exported via Switzerland to the UK without processing (transit trade), no certificate of origin can be issued.
For cumulation to be possible with input material of Turkish origin, a free trade agreement must first be concluded between the UK and Turkey with identical rules of origin as those in the CH-UK trade agreement. More information can be found here: Existing UK trade agreements
For products originating in the Western Balkan countries to be exported unchanged to the UK, a free trade agreement must first be concluded between the UK and the Western Balkans with identical rules of origin as those in the CH-UK trade agreement. More information can be found here: Existing UK trade agreements.
No, the UK is considered as a third country for the purposes of the Switzerland-EU Free Trade Agreement and of FTAs with other parties to the PEM Convention. If input material of UK origin is used in production, the list rules of the PEM Convention laid down in the given FTA must be adhered to. Cumulation is not possible.
It is currently difficult to assess what delays are likely. It is advisable to handle the transit procedure in the UK using the NCTS. Unlike for land transport, direct imports from and exports to the UK via air freight will require a pre-entry declaration, because the UK has third country status. For further information on prior notifications in Switzerland, see here.
The contact details of the UK customs authorities’ enquiry team can be found here.
Until the UK and the EU conclude an agreement similar to the Switzerland-EU agreement on customs facilitation and security, the UK leaves the joint security area covering Switzerland, Norway and the EU and has third-country status. Reciprocal recognition of AEO status by Switzerland and the UK is no longer possible for the time being. However, Switzerland and the UK are currently negotiating a bilateral agreement on mutual recognition of AEO status.
Information on the UK’s import customs procedure can be found here.
For consignments via land from the UK to Switzerland, like those from other third countries, the EU requires a pre-entry declaration and carries out any security checks required. Since the goods are then already in the joint security area, no further customs security measures are necessary on entry into Switzerland.
For consignments transported by air from the UK to Switzerland, like those from other third countries, a pre-entry declaration will need to be made in advance to the Federal Customs Administration in line with the provisions of the Switzerland-EU agreement on customs facilitation and security. Any security checks required will take place after the arrival of the goods in Switzerland. However, there will be no further security checks if these goods are then sent on from an airport in Switzerland to the EU.
Information on EORI numbers can be found in the Border Operating Model (section 3.1.5).
The Switzerland-UK trade agreement includes provisions on preferential UK and Swiss market access but not national customs procedures. Please direct enquiries regarding the UK’s general national customs procedure to the UK customs authorities’ enquiries team.
Manufactured goods – regulatory requirements
Manufactured goods placed on the UK market after 1 January 2021 must meet the requirements of UK legislation. Detailed rules apply for different market sectors. From 1 Januar 2021, most sectors will require an authorised representative or responsible person based in the UK. The product marking UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) may be required; in some cases, a transition period applies.
Annex 1 of the Switzerland-UK Mutual Recognition Agreement contains a list of product sectors to which the Mutual Recognition Agreement applies. If a product is manufactured in line with the relevant legal provisions of Section I, the product is covered by the Mutual Recognition Agreement. The provisions of the UK’s unilateral statement on the import of certain products also apply.
For further information on the products covered by the Switzerland-EU Mutual Recognition Agreement, please see here.
Yes. UK rules apply from 1 January 2021.
The UK Government has published guidance on complying with REACH chemical regulations, which will help to answer any questions businesses and interested parties may have. Further questions regarding the UK legislation should be addressed to the British Embassy in Switzerland or the competent authorities in the UK.
REACH is not covered by Switzerland’s bilateral agreements with the EU, including the Mutual Recognition Agreement.
Products of animal and plant origin
The UK authorities are responsible for laying down the rules, regulations and import conditions to the UK for animals and products of animal origin from all countries including Switzerland. Exporters should therefore refer to the UK guidance on importing animals, animal products and high-risk food and feed not of animal origin available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/importing-animals-animal-products-and-high-risk-food-and-feed-not-of-animal-origin-after-eu-exit#new-notification-process.
The import into Switzerland of protected species of animals and plants remains unchanged after Brexit. Interested parties can find the relevant information on import procedures on the website of the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office https://www.blv.admin.ch/blv/en/home/import-und-export/import/importe-artengeschuetzte-tiere-pflanzen.html.
The UK authorities have issued guidance on trading and moving endangered species protected by CITES. See: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/trading-and-moving-endangered-species-protected-by-cites-if-theres-no-withdrawal-deal.
Since the European Patent Office is not an EU institution, the UK’s exit from the EU has no impact on the current European patent system. Nor are existing European patents covering the UK affected. The UK has stated that relevant EU legislation on SPCs (or its domestic implementation) will be retained in UK law under the EU Withdrawal Act 2018; they will continue to apply after 1 January 2021, as the UK legislation (Patents (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019) reflects to a large extent the existing EU SPC Regulation and provides for the same term of protection.
In its guidance Changes to SPC and patent law from 1 January 2021 the UK government states that, in order to obtain an SPC for Great Britain, authorisation for the British market is also required. Patent holders must check whether their marketing authorisation is valid for the whole of the UK or only for Northern Ireland or for Great Britain.
Since 1 January 2019, an SPC waiver for exports has applied in the EU. The UK government intends to maintain this waiver, but with some important changes.
For paediatric renewals, the requirements remain broadly the same. The main difference is that it is no longer necessary to prove that a product has marketing authorisation in all EEA member states; it is sufficient to demonstrate that there is marketing authorisation for the UK. The UK maintains a special regulatory regime for orphan drugs (drugs to treat rare diseases). This regime largely reflects the existing EU system.
For more information on SPCs and intellectual property in general, see: Intellectual property after 1 January
UK clinical trials are already managed nationally and UK clinical trial applications will continue to be authorised by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The UK is not making any changes to the term of data and market exclusivity.
The UK government has said that it will ensure that property rights to all existing registered EU trade marks and registered Community designs will continue to be protected and to be enforceable in the UK by providing an equivalent trade mark or design registered in the UK. Rights holders with an existing EU trade mark or registered Community design will automatically acquire a new UK equivalent right. See Guidance: Changes to EU and international designs and trade mark protection from 1 January 2021.
Last modification 14.12.2020