Guidance

Trade with Switzerland

How you import from and export to Switzerland.

UK-Switzerland trade agreement

The UK has signed a trade agreement with Switzerland, which is in effect.

This guidance provides information on aspects of trade covered by the UK-Switzerland agreement. It is for UK businesses trading with Switzerland.

What the agreement includes

This trade agreement includes provisions on:

  • trade in goods – including provisions on preferential tariffs, tariff rate quotas, non-tariff measures including sanitary and phytosanitary measures
  • intellectual property, including geographical indications
  • government procurement

Tariff rates on goods

Tariff rates for bilateral trade in goods between the UK and Switzerland continue to apply as set out in the agreement. However, in some cases, the non-preferential applied rates may in fact be lower because of changes in the UK’s Most Favoured Nation tariff schedule.

You can use online tools trade with the UK and check how to export goods to check product-specific and country-specific information on tariffs and regulations that currently apply to UK trade in goods. These tools are regularly updated to reflect any changes.

Tariff rate quotas

Tariff rate quotas in the agreement have been tailored specifically to the UK.

To find out the tariff rate quotas, see tables 5 and 6 of the parliamentary report.

Trade in goods

Trade in agricultural goods

International systems can be used for agricultural goods when importing from, or exporting to Switzerland. This relates to goods covered by plant health, animal feed, seeds and animal health regulations.

Organic goods

Switzerland recognises imports of UK goods marketed as organic with a certificate of inspection from a UK control body.

The UK continues to accept Swiss organic imports.

Trade in processed agricultural products

If you export processed agricultural products to Switzerland from the UK, you will not be charged higher tariffs than the EU charge.

Rules of origin

Claiming preferential rates for your exports from the UK

Unless you are permitted to provide an origin declaration, you will need to fill in a certificate of origin to claim preferential treatment.

The UK continues to use the EUR1 and EUR-MED format for movement certificates with trade partners that have mutual FTAs with the EU, including Switzerland. These movement certificates are identical to those previously in use, but the place of origin on the certificate is now marked as the United Kingdom instead of the European Community. EUR1 and EUR-MED certificates of origin that have been updated to show the UK are now available from your usual provider, such as the chambers of commerce.

If you previously used the EUR1 form with a mutual EU trading partner, you can use the new EUR1 form that shows the UK as the place of origin. If you previously used an EUR-MED form with a mutual EU trading partner, you can use the new EUR-MED form that shows the UK as the place of origin.

Using EU materials and processing in your exports to Switzerland

You can use EU materials or processing in your exports to Switzerland. The UK and Switzerland must have fulfilled the necessary requirements set out in the Rules of Origin Protocol. You must also ensure the working or processing carried out in the UK goes beyond the minimal operations listed in the agreement and that the other relevant conditions are met.

For example, you cannot simply package or label a product from the EU and export it to Switzerland as a good originating in the UK.

See the list of minimal operations in Article 7 of the Rules of Origin Protocol in the UK-Switzerland trade agreement text.

The ability to consider materials from, or processing carried out in, another country as originating when incorporated into your product is called cumulation.

You should check with the appropriate customs authorities regarding your trade between the UK and Switzerland. In particular, the rules of origin agreed under the UK-Switzerland trade agreement are scheduled to be reviewed no later than 30 months from 1 January 2021.

Using materials and/or processing from other countries in your exports to Switzerland

If both the UK and Switzerland has an agreement with one of the other countries listed in the Rules of Origin Protocol, you can continue using materials, and in some cases, processing from that country in your exports to Switzerland.

You must ensure that the working or processing you do in the UK goes beyond the minimal operations listed in the agreement and that the other relevant conditions are fulfilled.

Sending your goods to Switzerland through the EU and other countries

Goods transited through the EU – and any other country with whom cumulation is applicable – are not subject to the same restrictions as those in transit through other third countries.

For example, you can split a consignment in the EU when exporting goods to Switzerland, provided the goods comprising the consignment have not cleared customs in the EU.

Transit through any other third country is possible provided your goods remain under customs surveillance and do not undergo operations other than unloading, reloading or any operation designed to preserve them in good condition.

Goods in transit and retrospective certificates of origin

If your goods were in transit when the EU-Switzerland trade agreements ceased to apply to the UK, you can obtain a retrospective certificate of origin. This shows that the goods originated in the UK and are eligible for preferential terms if your goods arrived on, or within 12 months after, the UK-Switzerland trade agreements started to apply.

You can get retrospective certificates of origin from your usual provider.

Goods originating in Liechtenstein

Goods originating in Liechtenstein are considered as originating in Switzerland. All the rules of origin relating to Switzerland also apply to Liechtenstein. References to Switzerland can be read as references to Switzerland including Liechtenstein.

Moving goods through the EU

The UK has signed a transport agreement with Switzerland. The agreement makes sure that UK hauliers can continue to drive in Switzerland using a Community Licence.

Customs security

If you are directly exporting products to, or importing products from Switzerland, your products may need to undergo additional checks at the border. This is because the continuity of the terms of the EU-Switzerland Customs Security Measures Agreement are subject to further discussion with Switzerland and the EU.

Geographical indications

Geographical indications (GIs) protect the geographical names of food, drink and agricultural products.

Both the UK and Switzerland’s existing GIs remain covered by this agreement. There are 45 UK GIs protected in this agreement.

Trade in services

The UK-Switzerland agreement does not cover trade in services. However, we have taken steps to ensure that services trade can continue between the UK and Switzerland.

If you’re a UK business providing services in Switzerland, you’ll need to follow Swiss regulations about:

  • getting an authorisation or licence to provide a service
  • complying with local business regulations
  • EEA nationality requirements which could prevent you from providing services in some sectors

Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement

You may benefit from the part of the Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement which deals with service provision. This would apply to service provision contracts that have been agreed and where implementation started before 1 January 2021.

Services Mobility Agreement

You may benefit from the Services Mobility Agreement (SMA) which allows UK professionals to provide services in Switzerland for up to 90 days without a work permit.

This would apply to service provision contracts that have been agreed and where implementation has started on or after 1 January 2021.

The SMA also establishes a working group, through which the UK and Switzerland aim to develop a comprehensive agreement on the recognition of professional qualifications for service suppliers working in each other’s markets.

Find out more about providing services to Switzerland.

Further information

Find further guidance on exporting.

Find out how the Northern Ireland Protocol could affect your business.

Freight forwarding may save you time and money if you’re exporting large volumes of goods or high value items by sea or air freight. Find out more about freight forwarders.

This guidance is for information only. You should consult your legal advisers if you wish to ensure you understand the legal implications of trading for your business.

Contact

If you have queries about trade, contact the Department for International Trade (DIT).

Should you wish to speak to someone directly, we have local trade offices based around the UK. Within each office, you can contact an international trade advisor. Find your local trade office.

Published 8 August 2019
Last updated 25 February 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated following a content review.

  2. Updated with information about the Services Mobility Agreement.

  3. Page updated to provide detailed guidance on how to trade with Switzerland from 1 January 2021. This includes information on import tariff rates and rules of origin.

  4. The previous change note was published in error – no significant updates have been made.

  5. Added details of how this agreement differs from the current EU agreement.

  6. First published.