COVID-19: Optimising the movement of goods at the border
Bern, 29.04.2020 - The Federal Customs Administration (FCA) expects that the lockdown easing measures adopted by the Federal Council on 16 April will lead to a noticeable increase in the movement of goods. In dialogue with the business community, existing measures have been optimised and expanded, and the next steps outlined to ensure rapid processing of commercial goods traffic at the border. The Federal Council was informed of this at its meeting on 29 April 2020.
The measures adopted in Switzerland and around the world to contain the coronavirus pandemic are having a significant impact on the economy and the movement of goods. Compared to the previous year, the movement of goods in Switzerland in the period from 1 March to 23 April inclusive has fallen in terms of exports (down by around 21%), imports (down by around 4%) and transit (down by around 24%). With the gradual easing of protective measures, cross-border trade in goods will now increase again. An increase in smuggling activities can also be expected, which is why the FCA will continue to carry out targeted risk-based checks.
Proven measures maintained and extended
In order to manage the increasing volume of traffic, the FCA has optimised the measures already taken and discussed further improvement measures, with the involvement of business associations and based on the recommendations of the World Customs Organization and the European Union.
Accelerated border crossing for goods
The priority lanes (green lanes) for certain goods that serve the country's supply (such as food or medical goods) will remain in place.
The FCA wishes to remind customs declarants that they have the possibility of completing Swiss customs formalities before lorries arrive, so that consignments of goods need only be stopped at the border in certain necessary cases. The "Libero Export" procedure provides a fully electronic export process, so that over 95% of consignments can be handled by the transporter without additional Swiss customs formalities.
With its DaziT digitalisation and transformation programme, the FCA wants to move the processing of customs formalities from the border to the internet. Customs declarants should be able to submit all customs declaration documents (accompanying documents) and applications online from July 2020. Communication with the FCA will also be digital, eliminating the need for counters, courier trips and hardcopy forms. The Activ app, currently in pilot use, should be ready for use at all Swiss border customs offices by the end of 2020 and accelerate transit journeys through Switzerland. The payment of the performance-related heavy vehicle charge (PRHVC) at the border will be gradually replaced by the European Electronic Tolling Service (EETS) from the beginning of 2021. Building on these first interim results, the DaziT programme will fully digitalise the FCA processes.
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