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Old 18.08.2011, 16:30
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Selling tea in Switzerland

Dear All,

I have tried to find answers to my doubts below across the forum, but have not been unable to see something that fits with what troubles me. I would be really grateful if you could offer me some aid.

I have a registered company in EU (Spain), which basically sells tea leaves and teaware to consumers online. So far, we have been selling mostly within Spain and across the European Union, but are looking to expand in Switzerland, mainly because I -one of the founders- happen to live here now.

To facilitate selling products to our Swiss customers (reducing delivery time and shipping costs), our aim is to store certain quantities of tea in a storage room, in Switzerland, and ship from within the country whenever someone in one of the cantons orders our products.

I paid import taxes in Spain when buying the leaves from its country of origin, and export taxes -in Spain as well- when sending them to Switzerland. As I send small quantities (less than 10kg), I use standard post.

I would really appreciate if you could give me some help with my following doubts:
  • Do I need to pay import taxes in Switzerland, when moving those goods to Switzerland?
  • Do they qualify as temporary goods?
  • Does the company need to be registered or certified in Switzerland?

Thanks a lot in advance!!

Old 18.08.2011, 16:35
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Re: Selling tea in Switzerland

I'm sorry I can't answer your questions myself but I'm sure if you contacted the Spanish embassy or consulate in Switzerland, they would be able to inform you?
Old 18.08.2011, 17:33
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Re: Selling tea in Switzerland

Welcome to the forum.

I'm really not sure what the import tax is on tea and if having already paid import tax into the EU it might be lower for CH. Visit the Swiss customs web site for details, or even better, pop into your local Zoll office and ask them. I have found them to generally be very friendly and helpful.
Old 02.09.2011, 13:25
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Re: Selling tea in Switzerland

If you are talking about customs, then the answer is yes, for all commercial transactions; The same applies to VAT.

If you have a storage centre in Spain, then I would suggest exporting it directly from Spain to the customer in CH. Quite a few online companies have set up shop in the EU, where the goods are packed and dispatched to CH. I am unaware of delivery times with Spanish postal companies, but unless you have inordinate delays, I would retain the dispatching centre in Spain. However, if you are adding some sort of added value to customers in CH, it may be preferable to retain your base in CH.
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