How to Import from China to Switzerland: Your Comprehensive Guide

For over a decade, Import from China to Switzerland trade has increased to more than double and is still growing. As the third biggest trading partner of Switzerland globally, China is the only Asian country to have a free trade agreement with Switzerland. Switzerland’s free trade agreement with the People’s Republic of China creates a more advantageous trading environment. Over 95% of the time, customs taxes are eliminated or radically reduced. The agreement includes rules on trade in commodities, services, non-tariff trade barriers, and viable trade and development.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through every aspect of importing from China to Switzerland. From choosing the right products to understanding customs clearance, we’ve got you covered. Let’s dive in!

What Products You Want to Import from China?

Switzerland is importing a variety of products from China valued at US$17.67 Billion in 2020. Some of the key imports include:

  • Electrical and electronic equipment
  • Computers and accessories
  • Organic chemicals
  • Various machinery
  • Boilers and nuclear substances
  • Textiles and apparel
  • Jewelry, precious stones, and metals
  • Sports accessories, toys, and games

Nowadays, Switzerland’s main imports from China also include Railway Freight Containers, Nitrogen Heterocyclic Compounds, Jewelry, Unspecified Commodities, and Computers.

How to Find Reliable China Suppliers for Your Import Business?

When it comes to finding reliable suppliers in China, there are a few methods you can explore:

  1. Connect with Online Suppliers Directly: Using internet supplier directories can be a safe and efficient way to find suppliers. It reduces risk, simplifies searches, and speeds up research.
  2. Attend Trade Shows/Trade Fairs: Visiting trade exhibitions allows you to meet potential suppliers face to face. This offers valuable insights into their corporate values, product quality, and manufacturing capacity.
  3. Outsource to a Sourcing Agency: While sourcing agencies can vary in reliability, Ningqu is a highly reputable option you can consider.

3 Different Methods When Importing from China to Switzerland

  1. Sea Freight: Switzerland’s landlocked location necessitates the use of sea freight. Ports in the Netherlands (Hamburg, Rotterdam, and Antwerp) support shipping from China. The Rhine River port in Basel plays a crucial role in distributing goods across Switzerland.
  2. Air Freight: If you need to transport goods quickly, air freight is a superior option. Switzerland has multiple international airports, with Zurich, Geneva, and Basel being key choices for freight planes.
  3. Rail Freight: Rail transit is faster than sea freight and more cost-effective than air freight. The Trans-Eurasian Highway connects China and Europe, providing rail options for shipping to Switzerland.
  4. Door-to-Door Delivery: This method simplifies the shipping process, freeing you from paperwork and worries.

Customs Clearance of Importing Goods from China

Customs clearance for importing goods from China to Switzerland involves several criteria and principles. Switzerland’s unique position within the European Union means goods often pass through EU nations, which have tightly controlled transportation regulations.

  1. Switzerland Customs Value: Consider customs costs, VAT, transit clearance, and other taxes when importing products. Switzerland uses the CIF (Cost, Insurance, Freight) valuation method to determine customs duties.
  2. VAT in Switzerland: Switzerland has different VAT rates for various products and services. Understanding these rates is essential for calculating VAT on your imports.
  3. Custom Duties: Importers need to determine the HS code for their products, which determines customs duties. It’s important to verify this code with your supplier.
  4. Doc Shipper’s Services and Custom Duty Fees: Doc Shipper doesn’t charge fees for customs clearance, and their professionals handle the paperwork for you, ensuring the government collects taxes and duties.

More Things You Need to Know When Importing from China to Switzerland

  1. Cargo Ship Cost: The total shipping cost depends on factors like the type of goods, transportation method, cargo weight, distance, and service type. Ocean freight is cost-effective for goods weighing over 100 kg.
  2. Cargo Ship Time Frame: Air shipment is faster than sea freight, with goods often reaching their destination in a few days. Sea freight can take 20 days or more.
  3. China-Switzerland Free Trade Agreement: This agreement eliminates tariffs on many items, fostering economic relations between the two countries and reducing trade barriers.

Switzerland Product Safety Regulations

Switzerland has unique product safety regulations that differ from the European Union. Understanding these regulations is crucial, especially in cases where CE labeling is not required.



  1. What products are most commonly imported from China to Switzerland?
    • Electrical and electronic equipment
    • Computers and accessories
    • Organic chemicals
    • Various machinery
    • Boilers and nuclear substances
    • Textiles and apparel
    • Jewelry, precious stones, and metals
    • Sports accessories, toys, and games
  2. How can I find reliable suppliers in China for my import business?
    • You can connect with online suppliers directly.
    • Attend trade shows and trade fairs to meet potential suppliers in person.
    • Consider outsourcing to a reputable sourcing agency like Ningqu.
  3. What are the main methods for importing from China to Switzerland?
    • Sea Freight
    • Air Freight
    • Rail Freight
    • Door-to-Door Delivery
  4. How does customs clearance work for importing goods from China to Switzerland?
    • Customs clearance involves determining customs value, calculating VAT, and understanding custom duties. You can also use services like Doc Shipper for assistance.
  5. What is the China-Switzerland Free Trade Agreement, and how does it benefit importers?
    • The Free Trade Agreement eliminates tariffs on many items, reducing trade barriers and fostering economic relations between the two countries.

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