International Affairs Division (IAD)

Switzerland


LABELING REQUIREMENTS

For Wine:

Please note that it is required that a label contain a Swiss contact who is responsible for the wine.

  • Name and address of producer
  • Product designation
  • Geographical indication
  • Alcohol content
  • Volume (in metric quantities only)
  • Country of origin
  • Net content
  • Allergen labeling for wines containing sulfites (beginning in June 2006)

For Spirits:

  • Name of product
  • “Importer:” or “Imported by”, along with the importer’s name and address (at least post code and location)
  • Net content
  • Quantitative Ingredients Declaration (QUID) – list of ingredients
  • Actual alcoholic strength (this applies to drinks with an alcohol content of more than 0.5 per cent by volume, with the symbol “% vol.”; the tolerance margin should not be more than 0.5 per cent by volume.)
  • Lot identification number
  • Special storage conditions (if applicable)

According to the Swiss Alcohol Board, “Labels must be made such that they are easily destroyed if any attempt is made to remove them from bottles or containers” (See SAB’s leaflet on Bottle Labels/Regulations, as well as other useful leaflets, at: http://www.eav.admin.ch/dokumentation/00440/00535/index.html?lang=en).

GM (Genetically Modified) Food Labeling:

Labeling of products (including substances utilized as processing aids) containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is mandatory.

Foods and food additives derived from GMOs, regardless of whether traces of the GMO itself exist, must be adequately indicated, according to Swiss regulations.

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REQUIRED DOCUMENTS

The following is a list of the documents that are needed for importing into Switzerland:

  • Bill of Lading and/or Airway Bill
  • Commercial Invoice
  • Certificate of Origin, established or recognized by the country of origin's competent authorities
  • Packing List (not mandatory, but may facilitate clearance of goods)
  • Pro-Forma Invoice
  • Certificate of Analysis (for wine)

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LICENSING

Wine:

Importers must first obtain a number from the Federal Commission for Control in Trade of Wine. They must also obtain a license from the Import and Export Section of the Federal Office for Agriculture (but not before having obtained the previously mentioned number).  A license will not be issued if the importer does not supply this number.   Please note that the license is non-transferable.

Spirits:

Retailers within a Canton (or “state” of Switzerland) must obtain a permit by the cantonal authorities.  Those trading beyond cantonal boundaries must also possess a Federal Retail trade permit (obtained from the Swiss Alcohol Board).

Those interested in selling quantities of more than 400 liters of effective strength alcohol to resellers must obtain a Federal Wholesale Trade Permit from the Swiss Alcohol Board.

More detailed information can be found in Articles 39 to 42b of the Federal Law on Alcohol (Alcohol Law), and in Articles 41 to 45 of the Ordinance on Alcohol and Home Distillery Law (Alcohol Ordinance).

NOTE: The Swiss Alcohol Board is in charge of implementing the Alcohol Law, which concerns spirits, brandies, and high-grade alcoholBeer, Wine, and cider do not fall under this law, and most of the regulations for those products fall under the supervision of other bodies, such as the Federal Commission for Control in Trade of Wine and/or the Federal Office for Agriculture.

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IMPORT PROCEDURES

Import procedures are to be done electronically, through a system called “Model 90.”  While this is an electronic process, a waybill and a commercial invoice are still required for all goods.

The importer must also provide an import license number in the request for release from the Swiss Customs offices.  The information in the declaration is the responsibility of the declarer.

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IMPORT QUOTA

Please note that Switzerland has an import quota of 1,700,000 HL per year for certain red and white wines.  The quota is allocated at the border according on a first come, first served basis (order of arrival of merchandise at customs).  The import quota tariff is available as long as the quota is not filled.  As soon as the quota is filled, the “Model 90” system automatically blocks importation so that further imports can only be made with an “out of quota” tariff rate.  For more information, contact Swiss Customs authorities.

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TAXES/TARIFFS

For specific information on taxes placed on spirits and “alcopops,” please see the Swiss Alcohol Board’s leaflets titled “Import of Spirits” and “Import and Export of Alcopops” at: http://www.eav.admin.ch/dokumentation/00440/00535/index.html?lang=en
Also, visit the Import/Export section of their website at:
http://www.eav.admin.ch/themen/00514/index.html?lang=en.

For the most current tariffs and taxes applied to imported products for this country, please visit the Online Tariff Database provided by Tariffic.  Please ensure you have a 10-digit HS classification code in order to obtain tariff information.  Also see the Census Bureau’s Schedule B search function ( https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/schedules/b/index.html), which allows you to classify your product according to United States export codes. Simply click "Search" and enter the keyword (i.e. beer) that best describes your product.

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CONTACTS

USDA Foreign Agricultural Service
Office of Agricultural Affairs
11 Route de Pregny
1292 Chambesy-Geneva
Switzerland
Tel: (011-41-22) 749-5247
Fax: (011-41-22) 749-5333
Email: aggeneva@usda.gov

Swiss Federal Office of Public Health
Bundesamt fur Gesundheit
CH-3003 Bern
Switzerland
Tel. +41 (0)31 322 63 00,
Fax: +41 (0)31 322 95 74
E-mail: info@bag.admin.ch
Website: http://www.bag.admin.ch

Swiss Customs
(Schweizer Zoll/Douane Suisse)
Monbijoustrasse 40
3003 Bern
Switzerland
Tel: +41 (0)31 322 65 11
Fax: +41 (0)31 322 78 72
Email: ozd.zentrale@ezv.admin.ch
Website: http://www.ezv.admin.ch

Federal Commission for Control in Trade of Wine
(Eidgenössische Weinhandelskontrollkommission)
Burglistrasse 17, case postale 177
8027 Zurich
Switzerland
Tel: 043 305 0909
Fax: 043 305 09 00
Email: info@cfcv.ch

Swiss Alcohol Board
Länggassstrasse 35
CH-3000 Bern 9
Switzerland
Tel. +41 (0)31 309 12 11
Fax: +41 (0)31 309 15 00
Email: info@eav.admin.ch
Website: http://www.eav.admin.ch

Embassy of Switzerland
2900 Cathedral Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: (202) 745-7900
Fax: (202) 387-2564
Email: trade@was.rep.admin.ch

 

Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture
Mattenhofstrasse 5
3003 Bern
Switzerland
Tel: + 41 (0)31 322 25 11
Fax: + 41 (0)31 322 26 34
Email: info@blw.admin.ch
Website: http://www.blw.admin.ch

 

The information in this guide was obtained from external sources, including the websites of various governmental agencies and organizations, direct contact with those agencies and organizations, and from Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Attaché reports.  Consequently, the accuracy of this information depends upon the accuracy of the sources.

TTB is not responsible for the content of external websites.

This page was last reviewed on August 17, 2010.

Page last reviewed/updated: 01/30/2015

TTB
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