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Customs in 2021: more product piracy and non-compliant animal imports

Bern, 03.10.2022 – The figures for the year 2021 from the Federal Office for Customs and Border Security (OFDF) are again marked by the COVID pandemic. Due to the boom in e-commerce, the number of shipments seized for product piracy has once again increased significantly. Cases in the field of animal protection have also increased sharply. In addition, the number of records of migrants who entered Switzerland irregularly was higher than in 2020. Receipts increased slightly compared to the previous year.

The sharp increase in the number of cases in the field of animal protection (2021: 2560 / 2020: 654) is due, at least in part, to the pandemic. The importation of pets, especially dogs, has increased, as has the number of non-compliant imported animals.

Most often, the animals were not imported through a busy border post with immediate declaration to customs, as required by the legislation. In most of these cases, there were also violations of the Epizootics Act or the Animal Welfare Act. For example, the puppies had not yet reached the required minimum age of 56 days when imported, or wrung or docked dogs were imported, which is prohibited in Switzerland.

Piracy of products

In 2021, the OFDF again secured significantly more counterfeits in commercial goods traffic than in the previous year (2021: 5,959 / 2020: 4,433). The reason for this is primarily the continued boom in online commerce, which the pandemic has further accentuated. At the same time, it was possible to travel with fewer restrictions than in the previous year, which led to a further increase in the security of counterfeits in tourist traffic (2021: 2881 / 2020: 2246).

Migration irregular

In 2021, the number of people who resided illegally in Switzerland is significantly higher than in the two previous years (2021: 18,858 / 2020: 11,010 / 2019: 12,919). The main cause is the increase in the number of Afghan migrants who entered Switzerland irregularly from Austria during the second half of the year. They were mostly young men and teenagers who had often lived for a long time in Europe or Turkey.

Drugs and falsified documents

In the field of narcotics, the strongest quantitative growth was recorded for marihuana (2021: 777 kg / 2020: 655 kg). In particular, various discoveries took place at the end of the year in postal transit traffic at Zurich airport. Parcels were still being sent from South Africa and most were destined for recipients in Britain.

The increase in falsified documents secured (2021: 1761 / 2020: 1398) is likely due prima facie to the increase in travel activity compared to 2020. The number of secured documents is however lower than that of the year before the pandemic (2019: 1938). Revenue of 23.5 billion francs Compared to the previous year, AFD’s overall revenue increased in 2021, from CHF 21.8 billion to CHF 23.5 billion.

They are therefore also higher than the value for 2019 (23.0 billion francs). The increase is mainly due to additional revenue from value added tax (VAT), as more goods were imported compared to the exceptional year 2020. OFDF’s revenue mainly comes from VAT, mineral oil tax, tobacco tax, heavy vehicle traffic charge and import duties. As in the previous year, VAT again accounted for almost half of the OFDF’s revenue in 2021 (2021: 11.3 billion francs / 2020: 10.2 billion francs).

Customs declarations in commercial goods traffic increased very slightly compared to the previous year (2021: 50.7 million / 2020: 50.0 million).

QuickZoll increasingly popular

The QuickZoll application is increasingly used. The number of declarations by travelers (2021: 31,835 / 2020: 20,177 / 2019: 19,972) and turnover (2021: 2,901,507 francs / 2020: 1,744,538 francs / 2019: 1,672,957 francs ) have increased significantly compared to the previous year and 2019. The QuickZoll app on the mobile phone allows travelers to digitally declare goods for customs clearance and pay the required fees even before crossing the border.

DaziT continues its momentum

The Digital Transformation of Customs (DaziT) continues to progress. Around 20 basic IT applications and services are now in service. Among other things, they allow the digital collection of the beer tax (Biera), the automatic collection of the fee on the traffic of weights

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