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Switzerland

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On 29 April 2020, the Federal Council announced that the Federal Customs Administration (FCA) expects that the lockdown easing measures adopted by the Federal Council on 16 April will lead to a noticeable increase in the movement of goods. In dialogue with the business community, existing measures have been optimised and expanded, and the next steps outlined to ensure rapid processing of commercial goods traffic at the border. The Federal Council was informed of this…

Following the adoption by the European Commission of Regulation (EU) 2020/402 on 15 March 2020, as amended on 20 March 2020, introducing a prior licensing requirement for exports of medical protective equipment from EU Member States to third countries (except for exports to EFTA Member States, namely including Switzerland), the Swiss Government has on 25 March 2020, as part of its COVID-19 regulatory framework, adopted a Regulation, taking effect on March 26, 12:00am, requiring a prior license…

On March 17, 2020, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) published in the Federal Register a document notifying the public of certain arrival restrictions. The document announces the decision of the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) to direct all flights to the United States carrying persons who have recently traveled from, or were otherwise present within, the countries of the Schengen Area to arrive at one of the United…

On January 27, 2020, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued a new Counter Terrorism and Iran-related General License No. 8 (“GL 8”) together with new frequently asked questions (“FAQs”) about the general license and the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement (“SHTA”). New GL 8 authorizes US Persons and non-US entities owned or controlled by US Persons to engage in Iran-related humanitarian transactions even if the CBI is directly or indirectly involved. Although the US Government…

On February 18, 2019, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”), pursuant to Executive Order (“EO”) 13850, designated Rosneft Trading S.A., the Swiss-incorporated, Russian-controlled oil brokerage firm, as a Specially Designated National (“SDN”) for operating in the oil sector of the Venezuelan economy. OFAC also designated the President and Chairman of Rosneft Trading S.A., Didier Casimiro, as an SDN for purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or…

On 30 January 2020, the Swiss Federal Council announced the first successful pilot transaction under the proposed Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement (SHTA), a payment mechanism designed to enable the delivery of humanitarian goods to Iran. The SHTA was developed by Switzerland since autumn 2018 with the cooperation of relevant US and Iranian authorities, along with selected Swiss and interested banks. Once finally agreed and implemented, it will become the first US OFAC-consented humanitarian trade arrangement, and will…

On January 24, 2020, 17 WTO members issued a statement agreeing to establish a temporary system for appealing WTO disputes. They reached an agreement during the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The WTO members include Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, the European Union, Guatemala, South Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Singapore, Switzerland and Uruguay. Canada and the EU had earlier established a separate interim appeals procedure. The statement indicated…

On 15 January 2020, the Federal Council opened a public consultation on the introduction of a simplified procedure for the Federal Customs Administration (FCA) to destroy fake products in small consignments. A new procedure aims to reduce the administrative effort by giving the authorities more leeway for their checks. These checks are essential – the importation of small consignments from Asia into Switzerland increased six-fold between 2014 and 2018. Swiss companies are particularly affected by…

On January 13, 2020, the US Department of the Treasury announced that it had delivered to Congress the semiannual Report on Macroeconomic and Foreign Exchange Policies of Major Trading Partners of the United States. In this Report, Treasury reviewed and assessed the policies of 20 major US trading partners. Treasury also assessed developments over the last several months with China and its currency practices. The announcement said: The Report concluded that while the currency practices…

On 27 September 2019, theFederal Council announced the opening of consultation proceedings on amendments to the Embargo Act. The changes are intended to ensure that the ban on imports of firearms, weapon components, ammunition and other goods from Russia and Ukraine can continue. In addition, the Federal Council will no longer have to rely on provisions of the Federal Constitution in order to deal with similar cases. According to the announcement: The Ordinance on Measures…