Swiss customers react to 1kg meat import limit
Butchers in Italian border towns have seen a 25 to 30 percent reduction in trade after a Swiss law limiting the importation of meat to one kilogramme came into force on July 1st.
According to local newspaper Le Regione, the law has impacted on Italian small businesses bordering the Swiss canton of Ticino in the regions of Como, Varese and Sondrio.
The new regulations apply to all meat, including charcuterie, bought over the border and imported into Switzerland.
Any surplus to the one kilogramme limit is taxed at 17 francs ($19) per kilo.
But the law has not deterred meat-lovers in Romandie.
“We haven’t noticed any difference yet,” the manager of a supermarket in French border town Collonges-sous-Salève told newspaper 20 Minutes.
“But we need to wait until the end of the holidays and the return to school to know for definite.”
However in his opinion nothing is likely to change.
“The difference in price is too great between the two countries. Customers will simply come and shop two or three times instead of one.”
Or they will just try their luck, as customers seem unafraid of customs officers, said the supermarket manager.
“One customer was caught a few months ago. He said to me ‘I played, I lost, but I will do it again.’ Because the number of people stopped at customs is ridiculous.”
No additional customs officers have been employed at border controls since the law came into effect on July 1st.
“Our goal isn’t to chase them home,” Michel Bachar, a spokesperson for the area’s border guards, told 20 Minutes.
“But if people break the law we will act.”