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Understanding Gold Trade Regulation and Licensing in Switzerland

Understanding Gold Trade Regulation and Licensing in Switzerland

Switzerland has a long history of being a hub for the gold trade, and its regulations and licensing requirements reflect the importance of the sector to the Swiss economy. Gold is one of Switzerland's largest exports, with a significant amount of the world's gold passing through Swiss refineries. In this article, we will explore the gold trade regulations and licensing requirements in Switzerland.

Regulation of the Gold Trade in Switzerland

The Swiss Federal Act on the Control of Precious Metals and Precious Stones, also known as the Precious Metals Control Act (PMCA), regulates the trade of gold in Switzerland. The PMCA requires all precious metals dealers to be licensed by the Swiss Federal Customs Administration. The licensing process includes a review of the dealer's financial situation, management, and security measures.

The PMCA requires that licensed dealers keep records of all transactions, including the identity of the buyer and seller, the type and quantity of precious metals involved, and the date of the transaction. The records must be kept for at least ten years and made available to authorities upon request.

The Swiss Federal Customs Administration is responsible for ensuring compliance with the PMCA and conducts regular inspections of licensed dealers. The administration also monitors the import and export of gold and other precious metals, and requires licensed dealers to report any suspicious or unusual transactions.

Licensing Requirements for Gold Refineries

Switzerland is home to several of the world's largest gold refineries, and the country has strict licensing requirements for these facilities. The refineries must meet stringent environmental, safety, and health standards, and they must comply with Swiss labor laws.

The Swiss Federal Office for the Environment is responsible for granting licenses to gold refineries, and the process includes an environmental impact assessment. The refineries must also obtain permits from local authorities, which include the canton, commune, and federal authorities.

Gold refineries in Switzerland must adhere to the principles of responsible sourcing and sustainability. This includes ensuring that the gold they process does not come from conflict zones, and that it is sourced from responsible producers who respect human rights and environmental standards.


The regulation and licensing of the gold trade in Switzerland reflects the importance of the sector to the Swiss economy. The country's stringent regulations and licensing requirements help to ensure that the gold trade is conducted in a responsible and sustainable manner. Licensed dealers must keep detailed records of transactions, and refineries must meet strict environmental, safety, and health standards.

As a specialist in the gold and banking sectors, it is important to recognize the significance of gold trade regulation and licensing in Switzerland, and to ensure that all operations in the sector are conducted in a responsible and sustainable manner. With a strong regulatory framework in place, the Swiss gold trade can continue to be a vital part of the global gold market.

Author: Pooyan Ghamari, Economist and Specialist in Gold and Banking



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