The foreign trade statistics collects the data starting from the goods declaration, which is to be filled out according to the Swiss customs tariff. Consequently, the customs tariff defines the structure of the foreign trade statistics. The grouping of the individual tariff numbers permit to build various list of products (= nomenclatures).

In order to satisfy the different wishes of the users, the data about the foreign trade are available in the following five nomenclatures:

Customs tariff

All imported and exported goods are given an eight-digit code (tariff number) when they are declared (Tares). This coding is based on the international classification (nomenclature) set out in the Harmonized System (HS). Searches for products can be performed under this nomenclature in the Swiss-Impex database using common, everyday language (thesaurus search function).

Standard International Trade Classification (SITC)

The SITC (Standard International Trade Classification) is an internationally valid list of goods for representing foreign statistics. The five-tier nomenclature closely follows the customs tariff nomenclature at the most detailed level of classification. 

The version of the foreign trade figures based on the SITC Rev. 4 has been available since 1 January 2006. The SITC Rev. 3 was used between 1988 and 2005. Hence, the results by individual product groups from before and after 1 January 2006 cannot be compared with each other. Looking at the results over a longer time series necessarily involves working with the two different nomenclatures.

Nature of goods

The list by type of goods contains the results for foreign trade by economic sector. It is a national nomenclature covering 14 main groups and 272 subgroups.

Broad economic categories

The national list by broad economic categories classifies individual goods under groups according to their common use (e.g. as consumer goods). The six main groups are broken down into 131 subgroups.

Standard goods classification for transport statistics (NST)

The foreign trade statistics by mean of transport are published based on the standard goods classification for transport statistics (NST 2007). This nomenclature has two tiers and covers 81 product groups. Goods are allocated to the individual groups taking account of the associated economic activities. 

Until 2006, the foreign trade figures for transport statistics were available according to the NST/R. This was a three-tiered nomenclature and covered 227 product headings.