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Fiscal Restrictions

SWITZERLAND

Reported in 2017

Chapter Public Procurement  |  Sub-chapter Preferential purchase schemes covering digital products and services
Limits to foreign participation
The OECD reports that in Switzerland, access to the public procurement market on equal terms is limited to firms from countries with which Switzerland has a mutual agreement.
Coverage Horizontal
Fiscal Restrictions

SWITZERLAND

Since 2009
Since January 2018

Chapter Taxation & Subsidies  |  Sub-chapter Discriminatory tax regime on online services
Swiss VAT Act

Revision to Swiss VAT Act
Foreign companies without any permanent establishment in Switzerland are liable to VAT if they provide telecommunication services or electronic services (such as web-hosting, remote software or hardware maintenance, and software-as-a-service) to customers in Switzerland that are not liable for VAT.

Previously, EU businesses providing services to Switzerland had to register for VAT in Switzerland if their annual turnover in Switzerland is above the threshold of CHF 100,000. The Federal Council revised the Swiss VAT Act to change the reference from turnover in Switzerland to worldwide turnover, effective in January 2018. As a result, most EU businesses providing cross-border services in Switzerland would be required to register for and pay VAT.
Coverage Foreign entities
Fiscal Restrictions

SWITZERLAND

Last revised in 2008

Chapter Taxation & Subsidies  |  Sub-chapter Discriminatory tax regime on digital goods and products
Swiss Copyright Code of 1992
Switzerland applies copyright levies for private copying. According to the law, a private copy is any copy made for personal use, even from illegal sources. The following levy rates apply:
- CD-R/RW data: EUR 0.040 per 60 minutes / 525 MB.
- DVD-R/+R: EUR 0.249 per 4.7 GB.
- DVD-RW/+RW/RAM: EUR 0.708 per 4.7 GB.
- DVD R Blu-ray/HD: EUR 0.266 per 25 GB.
- DVD RW Blu-ray/HD: EUR 0.749 per 25 GB.

On flash media and HD in audio devices and all portable devices other than mobiles and tablet PCs, e.g. MP3-player, the following rates apply:
- From EUR 0.563 per 4 GB < 4 GB to EUR 0.241 per GB > 32 GB.
- Flash media and HD in audiovisual devices other than mobiles, tablet PCs and personal computers, e.g. digital video recorder: from EUR 0.081 per GB ≤ 250 GB to EUR 20.113 plus 0.064 for 250 GB per GB > 250 GB.
- Flash Media and HD in Tablets: from EUR 0.141 per GB ≤ 16 GB to EUR 0.093 per GB > 32 GB.

The rate levied on mobile phones is still pending.
Coverage Blank media
Trading restrictions

SOUTH AFRICA

Since 2004
Amended in 2008

Chapter Online sales and transactions  |  Sub-chapter Online sales
Section 11 of the National Gambling Act
Online betting is legal whereas online gambling is illegal. According to the National Gambling Act "a person must not engage in or make available an interactive game except as authorised in terms of this Act or any other national law" and South Africans are not allowed to gamble on international sites.
Coverage Online gambling
Trading restrictions

SOUTH AFRICA

Reported in March 2018

Chapter Online sales and transactions  |  Sub-chapter Barriers to fulfillment
No de minimis rule
South Africa has no de minimis rule, which means that there is no minimum value below which a good is exempted from duties and taxes collected by customs.
Coverage Horizontal
Trading restrictions

SOUTH AFRICA

Since 2002

Chapter Online sales and transactions  |  Sub-chapter Barriers to fulfillment
Electronic Communications and Transactions Act 2002 - Section 13
The Electronic Communications and Transactions Act regulates electronic signatures, and electronic documents valid in court with the intention of facilitating for e-commerce. A report by the US Trade Representative, however, criticized the law for imposing burdensome regulations, such as government accreditation for certain electronic signatures and requirements of disclosures that retailers have to state on their website.
Coverage Horizontal
Trading restrictions

SOUTH AFRICA

Reported in 2018

Chapter Standards  |  Sub-chapter Product safety certification (EMC/EMI, radio transmission)
Certification requirement
South Africa's National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) requires a Letter of Authority for product safety and Certificate of Conformity for Electromagnetic Compatibility for some telecommunications equipment, some radio equipment and information technology equipment.

Approval is typically issued based on foreign standard test reports that demonstrate compliance with South African technical standards.Telecommunication line terminal equipment (TLTE) is subject to type approval by ICASA (the regulator for the South African communications sector.)
Coverage Certain telecommunications equipment, radio equipment and information technology equipment.
Restrictions on data

SOUTH AFRICA

Reported in March 2018, due to come into force soon

Chapter Content access  |  Sub-chapter Bandwidth, net neutrality
Films and Publications Amendment Bill
A bill amending South Africa's Films and Publications Act would extend its application to online content. It has been reported that the bill could be used as a means of censorship for online content, in that it will allow South Africa's Film and Publication Board (FPB) to regulate user-generated content, and possibly even block non-compliant online distributors at an ISP level. Its applications is broad, and extends to all forms of social media. With regards to user-generated content, the FPB will have the discretion to regulate specific instances, based on how harmful the content is, provided someone lodges a complaint.

The bill passed in Parliament and will now be transmitted to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence, following which it is set to be signed off by the president and will officially come into law.
Coverage Online content
Restrictions on data

SOUTH AFRICA


Chapter Content access  |  Sub-chapter Censorship and filtering of web content
2013 Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment Act

Electronic Communications and Transactions Act of 2002
All licensees in the telecommunication sector must be either South African citizens, or entities registered in South Africa with their principal place of business located in South Africa.

Section 9(2)(b) of the Electronic Communications Act requires the telecommunication regulator ICASA to prescribe Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) shareholding thresholds for applicants for new individual licenses, which must be set at a minimum of 30%t.
Coverage Telecommunication sector
Restrictions on data

SOUTH AFRICA

Reported in August 2018

Chapter Content access  |  Sub-chapter Censorship and filtering of web content
Films and Publications Amendment Bill
A bill amending South Africa's Films and Publications Act would extend its application to online content. It has been reported that the bill could be used as a means of censorship for online content, in that it will allow South Africa's Film and Publication Board (FPB) to regulate user-generated content, and possibly even block non-compliant online distributors at an ISP level. Its applications will be very broad, ranging from Youtube videos, pictures and music, to online periodicals, posts on social media, and software. With regards to user-generated content, the FPB will have the discretion to regulate specific instances, based on how harmful the content is, provided someone lodges a complaint.

The bill passed in Parliament and has been transmitted to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence in August 2018, following which it is set to be signed off by the president and will officially come into law.
Coverage Online content
Restrictions on data

SOUTH AFRICA

Since July 2002

Chapter Intermediary liability  |  Sub-chapter Lack of safe harbor for intermediary liability
Electronic Communications and Transactions Act (Act No. 25/2002)
The most distinctive feature of South African safe harbor regime for intermediaries is the conditioning of any liability limitation to the membership of an industry representative body recognized by the Minister of Communications. Membership is subject to specific criteria, which are reported to be quite lengthy and burdensome. At the same time, the representative body should assess compliance over all members.
Coverage Internet intermediaries
Restrictions on data

SOUTH AFRICA

Since April 2014

Chapter Data policies  |  Sub-chapter Sanctions for non-compliance
Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013
Failure to comply with that Enforcement Notice by the Information Regulator is a criminal offence, punishable by a term of imprisonment not exceeding 10 years, or unlimited fines, or both. Administrative fines may go up to 10 million ZAR (approximately 600,000 USD).
Coverage Horizontal
Restrictions on data

SOUTH AFRICA

Since April 2014

Chapter Data policies  |  Sub-chapter Administrative requirements on data privacy
Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013
A responsible party is obliged to notify both the Information Regulator and data subjects where there are reasonable grounds to believe that personal information has been accessed or acquired by any unauthorised person.
Coverage Horizontal
Restrictions on data

SOUTH AFRICA

Since April 2014

Chapter Data policies  |  Sub-chapter Administrative requirements on data privacy
Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013
Companies may designate and must register with the Information Regulator an information officer and a number of deputy information officers as is necessary to perform the duties and responsibilities of the information officer. The role of information officer is covered by default by the head of a company.
Coverage Horizontal
Restrictions on data

SOUTH AFRICA

Since April 2014

Chapter Data policies  |  Sub-chapter Restrictions on cross-border data flows
Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013
Consent is needed for the data transfer to third countries. Otherwise, the transfer can happen if:
- the third party is subject to a law, binding corporate rules or binding agreement that provide for an adequate level of protection;
- the transfer is necessary for the performance of a contract between the data subject and the responsible party, or
- the transfer is necessary for the implementation of pre-contractual measures taken in response to the data subject's request.
Coverage Horizontal