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Old 14.09.2007, 01:56
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New Business...importing things, clothing, food, misc things from the USA

Hello,
I am planning to live in Basel soon and I am interested in information on "the rules" about bringing items clothing, food, misc items in from the USA to sell there in Basel/Switzerland. Is this legal? Do I need a permit of some sort?

I would sell these items on my website, at the local flohmarkets and maybe on ebay/ricardo too?

Does anyone know the "rules" or can you point me in the right direction?

Thanks a bunch!!
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Old 14.09.2007, 07:51
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Re: New Business...importing things, clothing, food, misc things from the USA

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Hello,
I am planning to live in Basel soon and I am interested in information on "the rules" about bringing items clothing, food, misc items in from the USA to sell there in Basel/Switzerland. Is this legal? Do I need a permit of some sort?

I would sell these items on my website, at the local flohmarkets and maybe on ebay/ricardo too?

Does anyone know the "rules" or can you point me in the right direction?

Thanks a bunch!!
If importing goods for supply was illegal we wouldn't have much in Switzerland would we ?

The normal business rules apply and depending on volume you will need to register for MwsT (Sales Tax) and of course you will pay import duties on everything you bring in - your shipping handler will normally handle this for you.

Just be aware the Swiss are not big online shoppers - not sure if that's because the services aren't there of because they are, well, Swiss.
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Old 14.09.2007, 08:40
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Re: New Business...importing things, clothing, food, misc things from the USA

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The normal business rules apply and depending on volume you will need to register for MwsT (Sales Tax) and of course you will pay import duties on everything you bring in - your shipping handler will normally handle this for you.

Just be aware the Swiss are not big online shoppers - not sure if that's because the services aren't there of because they are, well, Swiss.
It is well worth reading through the rules on import duties from non-EU countries as there are one or two surprises in there. It is also necessary to find out where the goods are actually produced. If you do not provide this information then your goods will take longer to get through customs and you are likely not going to be able to take advantage of special duty rates for goods made in 3rd world countries such as ... Chîna...

As for Swiss not being big online shoppers, while this is generally true, they do shop online from Swiss based people and companies and are not frightened to give good money out either, however you need to know your markets. You can use Ricardo as a good check for this ie if there are plenty of bids for similar items to those you intend to bring in then this is an active online market.
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Old 14.09.2007, 09:44
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Re: New Business...importing things, clothing, food, misc things from the USA

A good place to start is www.gruenden.ch. Some of the site is in English, but not all.

If you're going to import food, you must make yourself familiar with the Swiss foodstuff legislation (Lebensmittelverordnung). Some additives permitted in the US and even the EU are not permitted here, or only in certain amounts depending on the categories. There are also clear regulations on labelling food products, hygiene concepts, etc.

Good luck!
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Old 14.09.2007, 10:09
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Re: New Business...importing things, clothing, food, misc things from the USA

I live in Basel and look forward to buying some imported things from the U.S. Especially things that I cannot get here or are too expensive. Please keep me informed as to what and when you will be starting to sale. And last but not least welcome to Basel hope you find it a great place to live. Good luck try also www.swissclassifieds.ch the website is in English.
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Old 14.09.2007, 12:22
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Re: New Business...importing things, clothing, food, misc things from the USA

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It is well worth reading through the rules on import duties from non-EU countries as there are one or two surprises in there.
.. and if you give them any excuse you'll pay through the nose - often the storage and handling charges are higher than the duty .
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Old 17.09.2007, 11:46
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Re: New Business...importing things, clothing, food, misc things from the USA

Hi

I have been looking at this subject. For the moment i deal in highend audio and would be importing directly from japan.

I checked out the duties and of course there is 7% VAT to pay but also the 15% net weight duty. Can someone explain this 'net weight' thing?

In france the cost to import is large..near 20% VAT + duties is a killer for anyone wanting to start a company! Of course it is all reclaimable but....

I am a powerseller on ebay.

Thanks

Richard
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Old 22.09.2007, 02:24
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Re: New Business...importing things, clothing, food, misc things from the USA

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Hello,
I am planning to live in Basel soon and I am interested in information on "the rules" about bringing items clothing, food, misc items in from the USA to sell there in Basel/Switzerland. Is this legal? Do I need a permit of some sort?

I would sell these items on my website, at the local flohmarkets and maybe on ebay/ricardo too?

Does anyone know the "rules" or can you point me in the right direction?

Thanks a bunch!!
Swiss Customs, Basel will be able to give you info you need. The Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce in Zürich also provide advice, for members.
You will have to declare goods imported for commercial sale and pay duty (variable for category and quantity).
Note: Swiss Customs do not recognise the concept "goods of no commercial value" e.g samples for demo or display. For Swiss Customs everything imported has a commercial value and the potential to be sold. So don't bother to have NCV written on delivery notes for goods as samples. A monetary value has to be included on the import docs.
Country of Origin also has to be explicitly stated on the import docs. If this is incorrectly declared it not only holds up goods but goods may be refused. Import tax is higher for goods imported from a country which is not the country of origin of the goods.
Value added tax (MWST) on consumer goods and services in Switzerland is at present 7.6% Your online shop needs to make it clear. MWST is usually paid when the total income reaches 75'000 + (quarterly or half-yearly). You can also opt for paying it voluntarily. A local accountant will be able to help sort out what you will be expected to pay, when. For some businesses this has advantages. Info can be obtained from the Eidgenössische Steuerverwaltung (ESTV) in Bern or go to www.estv.admin.ch
Assuming you will be self-employed.
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Old 22.09.2007, 04:22
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Re: New Business...importing things, clothing, food, misc things from the USA

Thank you to everyone for all of the helpful information.
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Old 09.10.2007, 16:05
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Re: New Business...importing things, clothing, food, misc things from the USA

Hello

Can you let me know once you started your business? I live in Basel and love American products (I lived over there for 3.5 years and my American husband enjoys a Root Beer whenever he can find one here), so I would defenitely buy some things from you.
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