Switzerland abolishes industrial tariffs
02 January 2024 11:17
As of January 1, 2024, industrial products imported to Switzerland are exempt from customs duties. After around a decade of preparatory work, the amendment to the Customs Tariff Act adopted by parliament in 2021 has now taken effect. “By removing customs barriers, Switzerland – as a small, highly integrated economy – is sending a clear signal in favor of maintaining and expanding unhindered trade flows in an increasingly protectionist global trading environment”, as the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) writes in a press release.
The abolition of industrial tariffs is intended to strengthen Switzerland as a location of business and industry by easing the financial burden on companies. This move makes it easier for Swiss industrial firms to procure competitive inputs, which promotes diversification and increases the productivity of Swiss businesses at home and abroad. According to SECO, consumers should also stand to benefit from cost savings and falling prices in this “competitive environment”.
Based on trade figures from 2016, the audit commission calculated an overall welfare gain of approximately 860 million Swiss francs. At this time, this figure consisted of direct tariff savings of around 490 million Swiss francs for businesses, in addition to savings of roughly 100 million Swiss francs generated on the basis of easing the administrative burden on businesses. Added to this are indirect effects such as productivity gains of around 270 million Swiss francs. According to SECO, the overall welfare gain is likely to be much higher in today’s figures, with direct tariff savings of some 600 million Swiss francs having already been calculated for 2022. ce/mm