Trade facilitation is aimed at simplifying and speeding up the customs clearance of goods, thereby lowering costs for business. As part of its trade facilitation programmes, Switzerland seeks to achieve efficient frameworks for Swiss exporters and importers, as well as straightforward trade procedures coordinated with its trading partners.
Internationally, Switzerland advocates within the WTO and in its FTA negotiations for trade facilitation measures. Minimum standards were established at international level in 2017, in the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement. The corresponding provisions in free trade agreements place certain obligations on the contracting parties, such as having to publish the relevant legislation and tariff rates online, and to comply with international standards (such as those of the revised Kyoto Convention) when designing customs procedures.
At the national level, facilitation concerns the relationship between those involved in the customs process and the government. One of the objectives here is to offer Swiss exporters and importers straightforward, effective procedures to reduce the costs of cross-border trading.