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With the entry into force of the Federal Act on the Purchase of Goods in Airport Duty-Free Shops on 1 June 2011, the legal basis will be in place also for passengers arriving in Switzerland to be able to make tax-free purchases in duty-free shops in future. According to current law, goods purchased in duty-free shops must be exported from the Swiss customs territory in order to be exempt from duties. After amendments to customs, VAT, spirit tax and tobacco duty legislation in the shape of a blanket framework (Federal Act on the Purchase of Goods in Airport Duty-Free Shops), this is no longer essential. This allows duty-free shopping even after arrival from a foreign customs territory. In addition, the new legal provisions have made it necessary to amend two implementing ordinances. These are the Customs Ordinance and the Tobacco Duty Ordinance.
By introducing duty-free shopping when arriving in Switzerland from a foreign customs territory, it is anticipated that approximately 60-80 new jobs will be created in Switzerland. Additional turnover in duty-free shops is estimated at CHF 50-60 million per annum, of which approximately CHF 20-23 million will benefit the sales-dependent rental income of airport operators. A noteworthy adverse affect on Swiss retail trade is not expected. There will primarily be a shift in purchases from foreign customs territories to Switzerland. In addition there will be no changes in the limits for imports of spirits and tobacco, two of the most important tax-free products, and there will be a duty-free limit of CHF 300 for all other products.
It is currently possible to make duty-free purchases upon landing in 58 countries worldwide. Five of these countries are in Europe (Gibraltar, Iceland, Norway, Serbia and Turkey). Duty-free purchases will be possible at the airports in Zurich, Geneva, Basel, Lugano and Bern.