Customs Tariffs and Harmonised System (HS)

Goods must be declared and classified in accordance with the Swiss customs tariff when imported or exported. This does not apply to private traffic.

The Harmonised System (HS) for the description and coding of all goods came into force in 1988 and is now used by over 200 states. The Harmonised System is the international basis for establishing customs tariffs.

In addition, it is now also used as a commodity coding system for international economic and transport statistics. The HS is based on 6-digit commodity codes and is divided into 21 sections and 97 chapters. It consists of about 5,000 tariff numbers to which a tariff rate can be assigned. The HS is regularly updated every 4 to 6 years.

Customs Tariff in Switzerland

The Swiss customs tariff is based on the internationally valid Harmonised System (HS). It is used for the description and coding of goods in international customs traffic.

All tariff information can be called up in Tares

Structure of the tariff lines in Switzerland

9506.7020/011 Ice skates
95 Chapter
95 06 Position
9506. 70 Subheading according to HS
9506.70 20 Subheading Switzerland
011 Swiss static key

Therefore, the tariff numbers differ in detail in each country (also within the EU).

Swiss customs tariff classification

The determination of the tariff item number is one of the most important tasks before a customs declaration can be made. The tariff item number determines both the duties and the and further processing instructions such as permits, documents, etc.

Since a tariff heading classification cannot always be clearly determined according to the intended use or material nature of the goods, there are general rules for the interpretation of the harmonised system which can be used to determine the tariff heading.

In addition, there are goods which are not clearly identified in the HS nomenclature and therefore allow different interpretations of the classification. Therefore, customs authorities issue instructions in circulars as well as in D.4 (Decisions) and D.6 (Explanations) on how to classify these goo.

For goods that are not clearly identifiable, written tariff information can be requested from customs authorities using form 40.10. The request must be made by e-mail and no samples may be sent.

Only written tariff information is binding. Verbal (telephone, customs counter) and email answers are not binding.


Tares is the web-based customs tariff of the FCA and is available at The list currently includes over 8’600 customs numbers.

  • Distinction is made between import (blue) and export (green)
  • You can search for:
    • Tariff number
    • Text
    • Text/tariff number in decisions or explanatory notes
    • Chemical elements and their compounds
      • CAS (Chemical Abstract Service)
      • CUS (European Customs Inventory of Chemical Products – customs Union and statistics)
      • Term

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