Non-preferential rules of origin are applied where there are no trade preferences, i.e. trade follows the most-favoured-nation principle. They are used to determine the country of origin of goods in order to apply trade policy measures such as anti-dumping duties, trade embargoes or safeguard measures. Often they are also used to compile trade statistics, in public procurement and in the marking of origin.
In Switzerland, the non-preferential origin of goods is determined upon export using the criteria laid down in the Ordinance on the Certification of the Non-Preferential Origin of Goods (CGO, SR 946.31) and in the EAER Ordinance on the Certification of the Non-Preferential Origin of Goods (CGO-FDEA, SR 946.311). At the request of an exporter or a domestic supplier, the certifying body of the competent cantonal chamber of commerce and industry will issue proof of non-preferential origin. This is referred to as certification of origin. The certificate of non-preferential origin must be presented to the competent authority of the importing country upon request.
In many countries, namely those that apply trade policy measures such as the United States or the European Union, the importing country determines non-preferential origin according to its own rules of origin. The exporting country’s non-preferential certification of origin is not decisive in assessing whether such trade policy measures apply to imports to these countries. Switzerland does not currently apply any trade defence measures.
The rules of non-preferential origin should not be confused with those of preferential origin. The latter determine whether trade goods qualify as ‘originating products’ under the preferential system or under preferential agreements and whether they benefit from the tariff preferences of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) in favour of developing countries or those of free trade agreements.
Similarly, the rules of non-preferential origin should not be confused with those concerning ‘Swissness’. The legislation on ‘Swissness’ provides better protection for the designation ‘Switzerland’ and the use of the Swiss cross. It contains rules for the use of Swiss indications of source for advertising purposes, helps to prevent the misuse of Switzerland as a brand and preserves its value in the long term.