Swiss customs revenues get boost from high Swiss franc

Photo: Swiss Federal Customs Office

BASEL / GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Lower prices across the border in France thanks to the high Swiss franc don’t always mean the Swiss lose out: the Swiss Customs Office says that in 2011 its revenues rose thanks to import declarations, from CHF28.7 million to CHF39.8m.

Imported border goods remain nevertheless a small part of customs revenues, only 0.2 percent of the CHF23.47 billion, which is more than one-third of all Swiss federal revenues.

The 30 percent increase in declared goods was accompanied by revenues from those who couldn’t resist the temptation to buy more without declaring the goods, as the number of contraband merchandise cases rose by 36 percent.

Customs offices and border guards say that while contraband goods are brought in by amateurs and professionals, they focused on the second group last year and uncovered 5,800 cases, some 400 more than in 2010.

They delivered 2,960 people to the police and discovered 1,477 falsified or illegally used documents and 1,308 illegal arms.

They seized, among other drugs, 208 litres of KO drops, more than triple the quantity found in 2010 and equal to 100,000 doses. It has no smell or taste and is “regularly used in kidnappings and sexual crimes”, notes the federal office.

Seized in Bardonnex, 2011

The most popularly imported illegal drop was Viagra-type erection drugs and the most popular source country was India.

Foods remain high on the list of illegal imports: fruits and vegetables (818 tons), cereal for human consumption (41 T), spirits (32 T), Wine (24 T), Meat and meat products (28.5 T), Olive and other consumable oils (20 T), Milk and cheese products (3 T).