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Switzerland: Stricter requirements for goods descriptions in customs clearance

Each customs declaration is based on the correct description of the goods to be imported or exported. Accordingly, a correct customs declaration must always describe the goods as accurately as possible. In 2019, Swiss customs registered a large number of transit procedures with inadequate goods descriptions and will therefore now pay increased attention to the analysis of goods descriptions. This was recently announced by the Federal Customs Administration in a circular.

The main reason for the complaints on the part of the Swiss authorities is the inadequate, unclear description of goods. It is therefore imperative to ensure that the description of the goods is clear.

As a reminder, the description of the goods must enable the customs authorities to identify the goods unambiguously. This can be achieved by the following means:

  • Detailed description of goods (quantity, type)
  • Specification of special features such as serial numbers
  • Include an invoice / consignment note if this contains the description of the goods

Since in the future we can expect increased or more frequent checks on the description of goods in transit, attention should always be paid to the correct customs declaration. This is the only way to avoid potential problems due to rejections and the delays that may result.

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