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Old 16.04.2014, 12:38
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Buying from China, Free Trade Agreement and Customs

Hie everyone,

I am in need of your help, advice and expertise for those that have done it before. BTW, I already spent hours searching previous threads on anything remotely related and haven't found any solutions, so please don't crucify me if it seems like repetition

Essentially, i need to import / buy products from China and want to know how badly i'll be hit with customs and taxes. I know that Switzerland and China have a free trade agreement but i'm not sure how far it extends to customs and duty fees on merchandise bought in China.

Can anyone help me find the most cost-effective solution to this? Has anyone bought from China goods in excess of 100 francs? Does the Free trade agreement mean no customs duty on products?

Please help and thank you in advance
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Old 16.04.2014, 12:42
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Re: Buying from China, Free Trade Agreement and Customs

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Hie everyone,

I am in need of your help, advice and expertise for those that have done it before. BTW, I already spent hours searching previous threads on anything remotely related and haven't found any solutions, so please don't crucify me if it seems like repetition

Essentially, i need to import / buy products from China and want to know how badly i'll be hit with customs and taxes. I know that Switzerland and China have a free trade agreement but i'm not sure how far it extends to customs and duty fees on merchandise bought in China.

Can anyone help me find the most cost-effective solution to this? Has anyone bought from China goods in excess of 100 francs? Does the Free trade agreement mean no customs duty on products?

Please help and thank you in advance
Customs duty in CH is very low as it's weight not value based. Many items are 0 vhf per 100 KG. It's VAT & admin fees that you will notice.
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Old 16.04.2014, 12:58
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Re: Buying from China, Free Trade Agreement and Customs

Thanks, i guess i should expand the question to VAT and admin fees. How much are they from China? Does this differ at all from the 62CHF max and 100CHF gift rules? Or because the import is from China, different costs apply?

Thanks again
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Old 16.04.2014, 13:23
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Re: Buying from China, Free Trade Agreement and Customs

Contact your local Swiss Customs office and tell them exactly what it is you want to import and they will tell you how much duty, if any, you will have to pay.

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Thanks, i guess i should expand the question to VAT and admin fees. How much are they from China? Does this differ at all from the 62CHF max and 100CHF gift rules? Or because the import is from China, different costs apply?

Thanks again
If you are importing commercially, the figures you have quoted do not apply. You will have to pay MwsT but if you are registered for MwsT you can of course claim that back as part of your return.
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Old 16.04.2014, 13:41
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Re: Buying from China, Free Trade Agreement and Customs

All the duty:
http://xtares.admin.ch

VAT is always 8% expect:

Art. 25 Swiss Value Added Tax Act
Quote:
2 The reduced tax rate of 2.5 per cent applies to:

a.the supply of the following goods:
1.tap water,
2.food and additives under the Foodstuffs Act of 9 October 1992,
3.cattle, poultry, fish,
4.grains,
5.seeds, planting roots and bulbs, living plants, cuttings, scions and cut flowers and branches, including those used in arrangements bouquets, wreaths, etc.; if invoiced separately, the supply of these goods is also subject to the reduced tax rate, even if it is made in combination with a supply taxable at the normal rate,
6.animal feed, silage acids, scatterings for animals,
7.fertilisers, pesticides, mulch and other vegetation used as covering material,
8.medication,
9.newspapers, magazines, books and other printed matter without advertising character of the kinds to be stipulated by the Federal Council;

b.the supply of services of radio and television companies, with the exception of services of a commercial nature;

c.the supplies under Article 21 paragraph 2 numbers 14-16;

d.agricultural supplies that consist of land cultivation directly related to initial production or cultivation of initial production products connected with the land.
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Old 16.04.2014, 13:46
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Re: Buying from China, Free Trade Agreement and Customs

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Thanks, i guess i should expand the question to VAT and admin fees. How much are they from China? Does this differ at all from the 62CHF max and 100CHF gift rules? Or because the import is from China, different costs apply?
They are the same as from anywhere else.

I regularly get stuff from there, under the magic CHF 62, of course

Tom
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Old 16.04.2014, 16:17
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Re: Buying from China, Free Trade Agreement and Customs

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All the duty:
http://xtares.admin.ch

VAT is always 8% expect:

Art. 25 Swiss Value Added Tax Act
Thank you for the link. It is very useful and just what i need to make things explicit. I'm not yet ready for the MwsT like grumpy suggested but i definitely want to know what to expect so i maximize what i can get versus VAT and fees.

st2lemans, Thanks for the advice. I was thinking of using the 62 CHF to my advantage but not having experience i didn't want it to come bite me in the behind. So i am happy to take your experience as proof it works

Thanks again y'all
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Old 18.04.2014, 01:03
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Re: Buying from China, Free Trade Agreement and Customs

My suggestion is not to import, but to put your mind into action and bring something innovative, something that you have created and you are proud of.

The doors are always open for creators wherever you are.

You must understand that people are connected in a social-internet enviroment after all now days. Social presence is always evolving and has almost come to a mature level.

Are you ready?

Last edited by Antonios; 18.04.2014 at 01:14. Reason: more information
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Old 18.04.2014, 09:04
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Re: Buying from China, Free Trade Agreement and Customs

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My suggestion is not to import, but to put your mind into action and bring something innovative, something that you have created and you are proud of.

The doors are always open for creators wherever you are.

You must understand that people are connected in a social-internet enviroment after all now days. Social presence is always evolving and has almost come to a mature level.

Are you ready?
Thank you for your suggestion however not knowing what I am trying to buy, you can not possibly understand why i decided to import versus creating it from Swiss materials. I need components and materials for a few prototypes but the Swiss suppliers that I have researched, mostly import what I need from China anyway or the cost is ridiculous on my budget. I might as well cut out the middle man until I have a grasp of where I'm headed with my ideas. So no, I'm in a startup and product design stage and I'd be an idiot to spend more than I should while I know that I'll be leaking money like a sieve for months to come
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Old 18.04.2014, 10:06
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Re: Buying from China, Free Trade Agreement and Customs

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Does the Free trade agreement mean no customs duty on products?
It's a simplification for business-to-business transactions - not business-to-consumer (you).

So the rules are exactly the same for any mail-order purchase from abroad as explained in the thread.
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Old 19.04.2014, 22:11
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Re: Buying from China, Free Trade Agreement and Customs

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Thank you for your suggestion however not knowing what I am trying to buy, you can not possibly understand why i decided to import versus creating it from Swiss materials. I need components and materials for a few prototypes but the Swiss suppliers that I have researched, mostly import what I need from China anyway or the cost is ridiculous on my budget. I might as well cut out the middle man until I have a grasp of where I'm headed with my ideas. So no, I'm in a startup and product design stage and I'd be an idiot to spend more than I should while I know that I'll be leaking money like a sieve for months to come
Avoiding the middle man gives always a better profit . It seems you have thought about it all . Wish you the best for your business
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Old 26.04.2014, 19:01
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Re: Buying from China, Free Trade Agreement and Customs

Just an update to say, I went ahead and bought the stuff I needed and had 2 packages shipped via DHL. I got an email from the customs clearing agent to show proof of Payment which I did. Thankfully there was no customs on the first purchase. However for the second package, I have to pay 34chf which is fine given the cost of the stuff.


Thanks grumpygrapefruit for suggesting that I contact the customs office for an assessment. Because of the assessment, I was not surprised by the 34chf and did not have a mini meltdown lol.


Thanks again y'all
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Old 12.08.2016, 06:52
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Re: Buying from China, Free Trade Agreement and Customs

There's another option to import over 65 chf hassle free if you live close to the border. Order things to be shipped into post office (ask for "poste restande" in France) or pick-up box. You are allowed to bring things up to 300 chf hassle free when crossing the border.
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Old 12.08.2016, 09:54
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Re: Buying from China, Free Trade Agreement and Customs

When Swiss customs are calculating the tax, the cost of the postage is added to the value of an imported product, and so the magic MWSt SFr 65,-- tax free limit is not just for the value of the item imported.

There is another pitfall. Most Chinese companies ship stuff here via China Post who have extremely low price sea shipping rates. And they almost never declare the cost of the shipping, nor the true cost of the goods.

Most of the stuff I buy from China is valued at US$ 5,-- which is ridiculous, and if Swiss customs opened the package the true value would be seen to be much more. Up to now the items have never been challenged.

Elsewhere on the Forum are stories of Swiss customs calculating the value of the goods and including the cost of normal shipping from China, and this can tip the value over the tax free limit. The Chinese never declare the cost of the shipping, there is no postage stamp.

Another thing that has happened, is that Swiss Post have charged a fee to open and inspect an item, and the fee has to be paid, even if the item is free of tax!

So it all comes down to a matter of luck, if the item is selected for scrutiny, then there will almost certainly be a charge, and then will come handling fees from DHL or the Swiss Post, on top of the customs charge.
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Old 12.08.2016, 10:12
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Re: Buying from China, Free Trade Agreement and Customs

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Another thing that has happened, is that Swiss Post have charged a fee to open and inspect an item, and the fee has to be paid, even if the item is free of tax!
This is false, it only is to be paid if tax is due.

Tom
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Old 12.08.2016, 10:13
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Re: Buying from China, Free Trade Agreement and Customs

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There's another option to import over 65 chf hassle free if you live close to the border. Order things to be shipped into post office (ask for "poste restande" in France) or pick-up box. You are allowed to bring things up to 300 chf hassle free when crossing the border.
Yes, but then you have to pay the 20%+ French VAT!

Tom
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Old 12.08.2016, 10:35
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Re: Buying from China, Free Trade Agreement and Customs

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This is false, it only is to be paid if tax is due.

Tom
Wrong,

read Post number 17,

Swiss Post just tried to charge me 25 CHF in customs for something worth 60CHF
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Old 12.08.2016, 10:39
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Re: Buying from China, Free Trade Agreement and Customs

I've certainly had stuff opened many times, and have only had to pay if tax was due.

Tom
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Old 12.08.2016, 10:42
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Re: Buying from China, Free Trade Agreement and Customs

There was a second person complaining but I cannot find her post.

You were lucky then, but everything is different in Tessin, probably due to the inter-marriage.
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Old 14.09.2016, 14:22
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Re: Buying from China, Free Trade Agreement and Customs

Is somebody there that bought a smartphone from China or Hong-Kong? I'm really thinking on that. Phone is around $130USD with free shipping. Full package should be around 500g I guess (phone + cables + manual).
Just want to know how much customs tax should I expect for this?
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