Logistic and forwarding services in China


Capital City

1.35 Mrd.

National languages
Chinese (Mandarin)

Renminbi (RMB) / Yuan (CNY)

Gross national product (GNP)
USD 9’240.27 Mrd. (Quelle: Weltbank)

GNP per person
USD 6’807 (Quelle: Weltbank)

Financial exports to Switzerland
CHF 8’758.46 Mio.

Financial imports from Switzerland
CHF 11’428.86 Mio.

Bilateral relations Switzerland–China

Switzerland and the People’s Republic of China have maintained bilateral relations since 1950. Relations between the two countries have intensified in recent years, as evidenced by regular high-level visits between the two countries. Since 2010 China has been Switzerland’s most important trading partner in Asia. The two countries also maintain dialogue in the areas of the environment and sustainable development, human rights and migration, education and science, and finance.

Economic relations

Since 2010 China has been Switzerland’s most important trading partner in Asia (trade volume in 2013: CHF 20.2 billion) and the third-largest globally after the EU and the United States. Following negotiations launched in 2011, a bilateral free-trade agreement was signed in Beijing in July 2013. Having been approved by the National Council and the Council of States, the free trade agreement between the People’s Republic of China and Switzerland came into effect on 1 July 2014.
The agreement contains provisions on trade in goods (industrial and agricultural products), non-tariff barriers (e.g. technical rules), trade in services, the protection of intellectual property, and trade and sustainable development.
A parallel agreement on labour and employment-related matters was also concluded. The preamble refers to the principles, values and basic instruments of international relations and international law.
On the occasion of the official visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to Bern in May 2013, a memorandum of understanding was signed to mark the start of a bilateral dialogue on financial matters between the People’s Bank of China and the State Secretariat for Financial Matters (SIF).


Business language

Chinese, English.

Dimensions and weights

Metric system but also Chinese measurement units.


Renminbi Yuan (RMB) = 10 Jiao = 100 Fen.
ISO code: CNY

Customs tariff

Harmonised system, customs clearance based on the CIF value.

Import control

There is no longer a weapons embargo in the sense of Article 4 paragraph 2 EC Dual Use Regulation.
Foreign trade has been extensively liberalised and the number of goods items for which a licence is required has been decreased. A list of goods which are subject to import licence obligations is published by the Chinese Ministry of Economics (MOFCOM) at the start of each year. There restrictions on imports in the form of import bans, import quotas, licences, authorisations, registration provisions and notifications. A pre-shipment inspection is required for certain goods (e.g. scrap metal, used electric goods). Asbestos, secondary raw materials, junk/scrap (certain chemicals, rubber, leather, textiles) are subject to an import ban. The “Quota and Licence Administrative Bureau” issued import quotas and licences. Import licences are divided into two groups: general licences (valid for 1 year) and automatic licences (valid for 6 months, for example for meat, foods and raw materials in the plastic industry). The former is limited to substances which reduce the ozone layer. In the case of food imports, both the exporter and the importer are required to register with the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine – AQSIQ.
The Renminbi is convertible for international transactions. Restrictions still apply to transactions in the capital market. The import of foreign currencies up to a value of 20.000 RMB is permitted. A foreign currency declaration is required from a value equivalent to 5.000 USD.
The Chinese customs administration has introduced a system for categorising customs traders. Importers, exporters and customs agents with headquarters in the PR China are divided into five categories: AA, A, B, C and D. Companies allocated to AA and A can expect simplifications. The regular customs procedure applies to companies in group B. More careful checks should be assumed for companies in groups C and D. An application to be allocated to a group must be submitted to the local competent customs office. In addition to this there is a partnership programme with the USA (“VEU”). More information is available from
Standard VAT rate: 17%


The General Administration of Quality Supervision and Quarantine is responsible for central quality supervision. Listed products can no longer be exported without a certificate, contact: Bureaux of China Quality Certification Centre (CQC), Section 9, No. 128, Nansihuan (the South Fourth Ring Road) Xilu, 100070 China, Tel.: (0086) 10 8562 2233, Fax: (0086) 10 6599 4298, Internet: un Certification and Accreditation Administration of the People’s Republic of China, No. 9, Madian Donglu, Haidian District, Beijing 100088, Tel.: (0086) 1082260777, Fax: (0086) 1082260799, Internet:

Terms of payment and tenders

Imports are almost exclusively paid for on the basis of letters of credit. Letters of credit opened with the Bank of China are fundamentally payable against documents in the PR Chine (so mostly not abstract). They are mostly opened approx. 6 weeks before loading. Correspondence bank: Bank of China. When buying assets payment terms also apply. Transport insurance is agreed between suppliers and Chinese foreign trade agencies. Payment in EUR or Renminbi is standard. Tenders mostly on a CIF/FOB basis in USD. Spot transactions and forward transactions in RMB are only possible for direct transactions.

Designations of origin

Designation of origin required on commercial invoices.


Standard marking on packages including an indication of the sender, recipient and country of origin.
Labelling must be in Chinese. Special regulations apply to foods, alcohol, fertilisers, electrical devices, textiles, leather goods and veterinary medicine. “Made in …” marking generally required.


Robust, weatherproof packaging. Use of the IPPC standard ISPM no. 15.

Product samples

Samples with no retail value under 400 RMB can be imported duty free. Samples which have a retail value but are intended to be re-exported can be temporarily imported without customs duties being paid for a duration of 6 months on provision of a security. This period can be extended if necessary. ATA Carnet permitted for exhibitions and trade fairs. More information can be provided by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce.

Shipping and accompanying documents

The designation “China” is not sufficient. Goods must be labelled “People’s Republic of China”. Electronic signatures are legally binding.

Standard and

a) Commercial invoices, generally 1 copy in English; signed, all standard information and the CIF value and country of origin. It is advisable to include the declaration “We guarantee that the invoice shows the total value of goods, and no additional billing” at the end of the invoice. Certification not required.

b) Bills of lading uncertified.

c) Packing list in English must be attached.

d) Postal packages up to 31.5 kg: 1 international dispatch note, 2 customs declarations in Chinese, English or French, postcodes (Arabic numbers) must always be placed on the packages.