Open customs warehouse (OCW)

The customs warehousing procedure for open customs warehouses (OCW) is a customs procedure pursuant to Article 47 (2) of the Customs Act and is used by the warehouse keeper to store his own or foreign goods not in free circulation (duty unpaid goods). The procedure does not involve the levying and securing of duties. Neither the application of commercial policy measures (in particular surveillance and protective measures, quantitative restrictions, etc.). The federal non-customs legislative instruments are, however, applied.
Open customs warehouses are places in the customs territory which are approved by the Federal Customs Administration (FCA), are under customs supervision and where the goods are stored during the open customs warehouse procedure. The goods do not have to be presented to a customs office before storage and existing infrastructures can be used for handling and storage of the goods.
Goods may only be placed under the open customs warehousing procedure OCW if another customs procedure has been applied. The customs warehousing procedure is completed when the goods are placed under a new customs procedure. The preceding and subsequent customs procedures are carried out by authorised consignees or authorised consignors who are domiciled at the relevant OCW.

Open customs warehouses offer the following possibilities for a certain period of time, usually not limited in time

  • to store transit goods in the customs territory duty unpaid
  • to store goods intended for sale in the customs territory, but for which import duties are payable only after the end of the storage period.
  • to place stored goods under another customs procedure

The places authorised by the customs administration may be premises under customs supervision or other places, e.g. silos, tanks, etc.

The operation of an OCW is subject to an authorisation issued by the customs administration on the basis of an application and subject to certain conditions. After receiving the authorisation, the warehouse keeper may, under the terms of this authorisation, place goods under the customs warehousing procedure, store them and discontinue the procedure for these goods. He is obligated to keep records of stock movements and to take stock inventories.

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