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News: customs law / VAT / international trade law

Framework for protectionism on the move

Like any other country, Switzerland applies an economic policy to its relations with foreign countries, which in this case is aimed at promoting Swiss interests. Nature, content, effectiveness and development of Swiss foreign economic policy must be understood in the light of Switzerland's history, form of state and government, as well as Swiss domestic socio-political relations.

Foreign companies doing or wanting to do business in Switzerland should understand that from a Swiss perspective, they are and will remain competitors of Swiss resident companies. In other words, foreign companies will not be treated 100% the same as Swiss resident companies at all times. Foreign companies wishing to do business in Switzerland would do well to first ask themselves whether they are willing to undergo such "second-tier" treatment, and should know what restrictions, if any, apply to them.

In accordance with international law, and within the limits thereof, Switzerland is entitled to determine the economic policy towards its own resident and non-resident companies to the extent that they are subject to Swiss law. Anyone who takes the trouble to track down -when applying the same legal provisions- the differences in treatment between Swiss and foreign companies will get an insight into where (and how) Switzerland puts the emphasis when it comes to protectionism.

Foreign companies doing or wishing to do business in Switzerland will need to assess developments in regulations or case law on the extent to which they, as a foreign company, are affected by those developments, as well as the extent to which their treatment may possibly differ from one in a purely domestic situation.

harbour hub

customs law

Changes 2024

From 2024, Switzerland will no longer levy import duties on most industrial goods.

pile of fire wood

value added tax

Changes 2024

From 1 January 2024, Swiss VAT rates will be increased, affecting invoicing. See also change regarding the security requirement.

lark wood acorns

value added tax

Changes 2025

Several amendments to the Swiss VAT Act will come into force in 2025.

mountain projected on Bundeshaus

labour law

Posting workers

Swiss regulations on posting workers to Switzerland are constantly evolving.