The rules applying to import-export

If the company trades with a country which has signed a free trade agreement, the entrepreneur may benefit from various types of tax relief.

Who creates what?

The entrepreneur establishes an import-export firm.

Scope of activity

The import-export firm is involved in the marketing of electro-mechanical and mechanical components.

Chosen legal form/financing

The chosen legal form is that of the public limited company (SA). The entrepreneur finances the firm exclusively with his/her own funds.

The entrepreneur must particularly take the following points into consideration:

Legal form

The entrepreneur obtains practical assistance and financial support from family members. They are involved in the firm as shareholders. Given that several parties will be involved, it is advisable to clarify relationships by means of a shareholders' agreement.

This type of contract governs relationships between shareholders outside the context of the Articles of Association and is therefore not stipulated by law. There are no “standard contracts” as the terms and conditions differ from one company to the next.

The shareholders’ agreement should, however, contain the following points:

  • Right of refusal, right of preemption, purchase obligation, etc.
  • Right to repossess
  • Type of agreement (e.g. per head rather than per share)
  • Agreement on the composition of the administrative board
  • Veto rights, clause in case of deadlock situation
  • Replacement

Social insurance

The entrepreneur employs two more people in addition to two family members. The entrepreneur must register him/herself and the two employees with the AVS compensation fund, the accident insurance fund and the pension fund. One family member acts as both shareholder and employee. Given that this person receives a salary like the other employees, he/she is considered to be an employee for social insurance purposes. The second shareholder is also a member of the board of directors. He/she does not receive a salary and therefore does not have to be registered for social insurance purposes. 

Value Added Tax

All taxable services provided abroad are systematically exempt from VAT. The entrepreneur must, however, notify the Swiss Federal Tax Administration (FTA) as soon as his/her annual turnover stemming from the delivery of items abroad exceeds CHF 100,000 (Art. 10 LTVA).

Economic promotion

Entrepreneurs who are active in export markets may request support for economic promotion in the following areas:

Tax measures

Support from chambers of commerce and the Swiss competence center for external economic promotion (Switzerland Global Enterprise).

Swiss Export Risk Insurance (SERV) covers the export transactions of Swiss firms against economic and political risks.


The entrepreneur has concluded an important contract with a Moroccan commercial partner. Since Morocco has signed a free trade agreement with EFTA (European Free Trade Association), the entrepreneur is eligible for various types of tax relief (relief or exemption from customs duties) providing the contract complies with the terms and conditions set forth in the free trade agreement and the goods are provided with a certificate of origin.

The entrepreneur benefits from simplified provisions and an accelerated customs procedure. He/she must fulfill two conditions:

  • Presentation of regular export volumes
  • Provision of data and documents to the Federal Customs Administration (FCA) for statistical purposes

The entrepreneur may purchase a special program from the FCA to simplify proceedings and deal with customs formalities directly by digital means.



If you wish to establish an import-export firm, simply follow the "Nine Steps to Setting up Your Own Business":

Last modification 27.04.2021

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