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

From 1 September 2021, revised rules of origin between the UK and Switzerland came into effect.

Finding the correct rule of origin for export

Depending on the type of good you are seeking to export, in order to claim preferential treatment it will need to be either wholly obtained or sufficiently processed.

To be considered sufficiently processed your good will need to meet the relevant product specific rule (PSR). The PSRs for this agreement use the 2017 version of the Harmonised System (HS) nomenclature. You should apply the PSR for your good using the code in which it was classified under this nomenclature.

In a limited number of cases the code for your good may have changed during HS revisions. We are currently updating our online services to reflect these changes. In the interim correlation tables tracing these changes have been made available by the World Customs Organisation and the United Nations

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 so that your good can benefit from preferential treatment.

Under the revised rules of origin, the UK continues to use the EUR1 format for movement certificates with Switzerland. These certificates are available from your usual supplier, such as the chamber of commerce. The EUR-MED has now been discontinued as a proof of origin for trade with Switzerland.

Alternatively, you may be permitted to provide an origin declaration. Your declaration should appear by typing, stamping or printing on the invoice, the delivery note or another commercial document, the text below.

UK exporters should keep a copy of the EUR1 or Origin Declaration and any supporting documents for three years. You should also be prepared to provide the necessary information upon request.

As an importer, you must be prepared to make the proof of origin for your goods available to HMRC upon request.

Declaration on origin

The declaration on origin can be found in Annex III to the amended Protocol 3 to the UK-Switzerland FTA which is set out in Decision 2/2001 of the Joint Committee. The declaration on origin must use the following wording: 

The exporter of the products covered by this document (customs authorisation No … (1)) declares that, except where otherwise clearly indicated, these products are of … (2) preferential origin.

… (3) (Place and date)

… (4) (Signature of the exporter, in addition the name of the person signing the declaration has to be indicated in clear script).

Notes

(1) When the origin declaration is made out by an approved exporter, the authorisation number of the approved exporter must be entered in this space. When the origin declaration is not made out by an approved exporter, the words in brackets shall be omitted or the space left blank. 

(2) Origin of products to be indicated.

(3) These indications may be omitted if the information is contained on the document itself.

(4) In cases where the exporter is not required to sign, the exemption of signature also implies the exemption of the name of the signatory.

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 Annex on Rules of Origin to the FTA. You must also ensure the working or processing you do in the UK goes beyond the minimal operations listed in the FTA 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 6 of the Annex on Rules of Origin to the FTA.

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

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

If both the UK and Switzerland have a trade agreement with one of the other countries listed in Annex VIII to the Annex on the Rules of Origin in the FTA, you can use 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 FTA and that the other relevant conditions are fulfilled.

Sending your goods to Switzerland through other countries  

Transit through any third country is possible provided your goods remain under customs surveillance.

Goods must not be altered in any way on their journey. However, a limited number of operations such as the adding or affixing of marks, labels and seals may be undertaken provided this takes place under customs supervision. Consignments may also be split, again provided this takes place under customs supervision.

Goods in transit and retrospective certificates of origin  

If your goods were in transit when revised rules of origin between the UK and Switzerland took effect on 1 September 2021, you can obtain a retrospective certificate of origin. A proof of origin may be completed retrospectively up to two years after 1 September 2021.

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

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 about moving goods into, out of, or through Northern Ireland.

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 moving goods and using 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 adviser. Find your local trade office.

Published 8 August 2019
Last updated 1 January 2022 + show all updates
  1. Updated guidance on rule of origin.

  2. Updated following a content review.

  3. Updated with information about the Services Mobility Agreement.

  4. 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.

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

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

  7. First published.