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Customs: Update Import Control System 2 (ICS2)


The Customs Facilitation and Security Agreement between Switzerland and the EU is currently being updated. In order to implement the resulting innovations for imports, Switzerland has decided to participate in the EU's Import Control System 2 (ICS2). 

The ICS2 is an advance cargo information system. This system collects data on all goods imported into the common security area of Switzerland, the EU and Norway before they reach the external border of the security area. It replaces the existing IT systems for this purpose.

Will does this mean for your business?

In case you have an international business setup or global supply dealing with third countries, additional security data is/will be required for the import customs procedures under ICS2. The operators will have to provide advance electronic data in the format of the electronic Entry Summary Declaration (ENS) to the ICS2 for all goods they are responsible for bringing into the common security area of the EU, Switzerland and Norway. The electronic Entry Summary Declaration (ENS) in the end will be mandatory for all goods destined to enter the security area.

What does the common security area consist of?

Since the events of 11 September 2001 and other terrorist attacks in Europe and around the world, security has been a top priority for customs authorities globally. In order to minimise the significant impact of the implemented security provisions on the cross-border movement of goods between Switzerland and the EU member states, the Agreement on the simplification of customs formalities and on customs security measures (in German “ZESA”) was concluded between Switzerland and the EU in 2009.

Based on the ZESA, Switzerland and the EU form a common customs security area. In this security area, the parties apply equivalent security regulations and waive corresponding security measures among themselves as they apply to third countries. The Agreement enables a smooth exchange of goods in central Europe and contributes to the common security. It was agreed that the relevant further developments of EU law, in the drafting of which Switzerland can participate without voting rights, must be adopted equivalently.

The current update of the Agreement will increase security in the international movement of goods and advance the digitization of customs processes. It also ensures that the level of security between Switzerland and the EU is maintained and that the facilitation of goods traffic between Switzerland and the EU can thus continue. The parties have agreed to adapt Chapter III and Annexes I and II of the ZESA. The corresponding decision of the Joint Committee of 12 March 2021 will be provisionally applied as from that day.

In order to implement the innovations resulting from the current update of the ZESA, Switzerland has decided to participate in the Import Control System 2 of the EU (ICS2). ICS2 is being implemented by the Federal Customs Administration as part of the DaziT digitization and transformation program.

What is the Import Control System 2?

The new advance cargo information system ICS2 supports the implementation of this new customs safety and security regulatory regime aimed to better protect the single market and the European citizens. 

It will collect data about all goods entering the common security area prior to their arrival. Economic Operators (EOs) will have to declare safety and security data to ICS2, through the Entry Summary Declaration (ENS). 

The obligation to start filing such declarations will not be the same for all EOs. It will depend on the type of services that they provide in the international movement of goods and is linked to the three release dates of ICS2 (15 March 2021, 1 March 2023, and 1 March 2024). Currently, the first stage of ICS2 is being introduced in the area of postal traffic.

Our suggestion in case you are affected

We recommend you  check your supply chain and how ICS2 will affect it and update your customs procedures as well as your customs authorisations accordingly. Be ready in time to be able to supply the additionally required advanced security data.

Contact us

Simeon L. Probst

Simeon L. Probst

Partner Customs & International Trade, PwC Switzerland

Tel: +41 58 792 53 51

Claudia Buysing Damsté

Claudia Buysing Damsté

Partner, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)65 103 04 63

Dr. Michael Tervooren

Dr. Michael Tervooren

Partner, PwC Germany

Tel: +49 211 981-7641

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