NEW AND FULL NOTIFICATION PURSUANT TO ARTICLE XVII:4(A) OF THE
GATT 1994 AND PARAGRAPH 1 OF THE UNDERSTANDING ON
THE INTERPRETATION OF ARTICLE XVII
The following communication, dated 10 September 2020, is being circulated at the request of the delegation of Switzerland.
Pursuant to Article XVII:4(a) of the GATT 1994 and paragraph 1 of the Understanding on the Interpretation of Article XVII, and in response to the call for notifications set forth in document G/STR/N/18, Switzerland submits the following new and full notification of its state trading enterprises for the years 2018 and 2019.
I. ENUMERATION OF STATE TRADING ENTERPRISES
Until 31 December 2018: Swiss Alcohol Board, through its profit centre "alcosuisse"; Federal Department of Finance.
"Alcosuisse" has been acquired by "Thommen Furler" and thus privatized as of 30 June 2018. The import monopoly of ethanol containing over 80% by volume was lifted on 31 December 2018.
II. REASON AND PURPOSE
The Alcohol Legislation, which is concerned with the manufacture, rectification and import of spirits and ethanol, was established in Switzerland for public health reasons.
It is based on Article 105 of the Federal Constitution, which gives the Federation the sole right to legislate in this field. Pursuant to that constitutional basis, the Federal Assembly promulgated the Federal Law on Alcohol of 21 June 1932. This legislation aims at reducing the production and consumption of spirits.
III. DESCRIPTION OF THE FUNCTIONING OF THE STATE TRADING ENTERPRISE
The private sector is allowed to import ethanol and spirits containing not more than 80 per cent by volume without restriction and without any permit. The taxes, fixed by the Federal Council, have to be paid on imported goods as well as on the domestic production.
For control reasons, the Swiss Confederation, through "alcosuisse", a profit centre of the Alcohol Board, is entitled to import ethanol whose alcohol content exceeds 80% by volume. However, imports by the private sector are possible subject to prior authorization by the Alcohol Board.