Cross-border pizza trade cut into pieces

A pizza to go - but not across the border Keystone

Switzerland’s frugal pizza lovers have had their hopes dashed for a special rule that would have allowed them to keep ordering cheaper pizza delivery from neighbouring Germany. 

This content was published on January 12, 2015 - 18:33 and agencies

Pizzas delivered from Germany must pass full customs inspections, Swiss customs authorities have decided, drawing ire from German business representatives.

The regional chamber of commerce for the Swiss-German border region in Germany‘s Baden-Württemberg state last week announced that talks with Swiss authorities on finding an unbureaucratic solution to this problem had failed.

The previous system had prompted businesses across the border to offer deals targeting Swiss customers, a spokesman for the customs office said. 

The strong Swiss franc has prompted Swiss bargain hunters to cross the border in search of cheaper goods in neighbouring Germany and France. 

The Chamber of Industry and Commerce for Hochrhein-Bodensee, a German region that borders Switzerland, had lobbied for an exception in the case of pizza delivery, but the Swiss customs administration decided against such a move for the time being. 

“[We are] disappointed with this information and will, in the interests of our member companies, continue to work to find a solution,” Uwe Böhm, the business chamber’s chief executive, said in a statement.

"Considering that the demand for pizza is biggest in the evening hours, when the customs office is closed, this amounts to an export ban."

Pizza regime

Prices for pizza deliveries and other goods are much lower in Germany than in Switzerland, leading many Swiss living near the border to spend their money in Germany.

Switzerland‘s top customs official, Rudolf Dietrich, argued that the bureaucratic pizza regime was in place not only because of duty regulations, but also because of rules on food and agricultural products.

If Switzerland agreed on a special deal on pizzas, German bakers, pharmacists, caterers and couriers would raise similar demands, he argued.

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