Some of the largest international trading and transit companies are based in Switzerland. They operate a network of bonded warehouses and other relevant facilities offering any kind of services needed in international trade.
Suppliers of consumer goods may deal with an importer/wholesaler, engage the services of a representative, or sell directly to buying offices of large retail chains, especially if dealing with mass-produced goods. Often a representative or agent, who usually specializes in one or more product groups, is responsible for distribution in the whole country
Swiss duties are generally "specific" rather than "ad valorem”. Duty varies according to the item imported, and the Swiss customs tariff uses the Harmonized System (HS) for the classification of goods. Customs duties are levied per 100 kilograms of gross weight, unless some other method of calculation is specified in the tariff (e.g. per unit, per meter, per liter). The gross dutiable weight includes the actual weight of the goods and their packaging, including the weight of any fixing material and supports on which the goods are placed. Although Switzerland has one of the highest applied average MFN tariff rates for agricultural products (almost 30%), its tariff rates for non-agricultural or manufactured exports are quite low, in fact one of the lowest (at roughly 2% or half the average U.S. rates). Hence, with some exceptions, import tariffs for U.S. exporters of manufactured goods to Switzerland tend to be negligible.
Imported goods and services are also subject to a Swiss value added tax (VAT). The standard VAT rate is 8.0%, although there is a reduced rate of 2.4% for certain goods and services, including the following: foodstuffs; agricultural products (meats, cereals, plants, seed and flowers); medicine and drugs; newspapers; magazines; books and other printed materials; and radio and TV services. Domestically produced goods are subject to the same VAT rates