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Import/Export Procedures of Singapore

Trade policy

Singapore is a key trading hub and two-thirds of its GDP is derived from external demand. Developing and strengthening international ties is therefore a focus of the Singaporean government, with deepening and diversifying international connections one of the seven economic strategies of Singapore (see Report of the Committee on Future Economy: Pioneers of the Next Generation (2017)).

Singapore already has had 20 regional and bilateral FTAs with 31 trading partners, covering the majority of its trade.

•    Six regional FTAs signed under the auspices of ASEAN with six countries individually, including China, Japan, Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand

•    Three regional FTAs with EFTA and GCC and Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership

•    11 bilateral FTAs with China, the US, India, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Panama, Peru, Australia, Costa Rica and Jordan

In addition, Singapore has ongoing FTA negotiations with Canada, Mexico, Pakistan and Ukraine and is looking to further strengthen regional integration. For a full analysis on trade policy see the Singapore Market Profile on the HKTDC website.


Singapore Customs, under the MOF, is the lead agency for trade facilitation. Imports and exports are regulated under the Customs Act, Regulation of Imports and Exports Act and other legislation by the relevant authorities (e.g. tax legislation). See the Acts and Subsidiary Legislation webpage on the Singapore Customs website.

Import and Export Requirements

To import or export Hong Kong companies must complete the following steps:

1.    Activate Customs Account. This will be established when registering a company through ACRA as detailed in Section 2.

2.    Register for Inter Bank Giro account for the payment of GST and custom duties.

3.    Apply for a Customs Import Permit or Customs Export Permit. All permit applications must be submitted via TradeNet and costs around S$2.88 (US$2.1). Approved permits are issued with a validity period.

4.    Provide supporting documents which include invoice, packing list and Bill of Lading/Air Waybill.

5.    Retain the relevant supporting documents relating to the purchase, import, sale or export of the goods for a period of five years from the date of the customs permit approval.

Further information is available on the Singapore Customs website for Imports and Exports.

Prohibited Items

A list of prohibited and controlled items (require authorisation) can be found on the Singapore Customs website for Imports and Exports.

Tariff Classification and Import/Export Duties

Singapore adopts the Harmonised System (HS) and more than 99% of imports are duty free. However, goods may be liable for Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Import Duties

There are four categories of dutiable goods:

•    Intoxicating liquors

•    Tobacco products

•    Motor vehicles

•    Petroleum products and biodiesel blends

The applicable rates can be found on the Singapore Customs website. Dutiable goods can be exempt or receive preferential tariff treatment rates applicable under the trade agreements that Singapore has in place.

Export Duties

GST and duties are not levied on goods exported from Singapore.

Product Standards and Labelling Requirements

The Consumer Protection (Safety Requirements) Regulations (CGSR) protects consumers from unsafe products.

Labels are required on all food products, medicines and cosmetics and must specify the country of origin. For guidelines on food labelling contact the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) and for guidelines on medicines and cosmetics contact the Health Sciences Authority (HAS) for information on medicines and cosmetics.


A Practical Guide to Doing Business in Singapore

  1. Regulatory Environment
  2. Establishing a Presence
  3. Intellectual Property Protection
  4. Staff Recruitment
  5. Tax Considerations
  6. Import/Export Procedures
  7. Further information


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Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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