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I. Overview of Singapore
Singapore is a high-income economy with a gross national income of US$54,530 per capita, as of 2017. The country provides one of the world’s most business-friendly regulatory environment for local entrepreneurs and is ranked among the world’s most competitive economies.
In the decades after independence, Singapore rapidly developed from a low-income country to a high-income country. GDP growth in the city-state has been amongst the world’s highest, at an average of 7.7% since independence and topping 9.2% in the first 25 years.
The overall growth of the Singapore economy was 3.2% in 2018. Value-added manufacturing, particularly in the electronics and precision engineering sectors, remain key drivers of growth, as are the services sector, particularly the information and communications industries, which grew 6.0% year-on-year, and the finance & insurance industries, which grew 5.9% year-on-year. 
II. Starting a business in Singapore
Information on starting a business in Singapore, including a list of Singapore government agencies who can help employers.
1. Advantages of doing business in Singapore
Singapore is an ideal location for global businesses to site their headquarters. Strong trade and investment make Singapore the most competitive Asian country and the world’s easiest place to do business.
By situating your international HQ here, your company benefits from:
Singapore’s network of over 50 comprehensive Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements.
Singapore’s many free trade agreements and the Investment Guarantee Agreements.
Protection for your ideas and innovations thanks to Singapore's strict enforcement of its strong intellectual property laws.
2. Registering your business
You can easily register your business, including foreign branch offices, online at Bizfile by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority.
Foreign businesses that wish to set up a representative office in Singapore may approach these government agencies:
Banking, finance and insurance – Monetary Authority of Singapore.
Legal – Legal Services Regulatory Authority.
All other industries – Enterprise Singapore.
SMEPortal.sg provides a useful summary.
3. Finding premises
Singapore provides a wide choice of premises for businesses. Whether situated in the heart of the civic district or in a suburban estate, housed in modern luxury or a flatted factory, businesses are assured of premium facilities and infrastructure.
4. Recruiting manpower
Singapore attracts businesses with its strong pool of local and international talent. Employees are easy to find through the many online recruitment portals and head-hunting agencies.
III. Import & Export
1. Import
An import refers to goods brought into customs territory from an entry point or a free trade zone (FTZ), or overseas goods brought into a free trade zone for storage and pending re-export.
To import goods into Singapore, you are required to make a declaration to Singapore Customs. Goods and Services Tax (GST) is payable on non-dutiable goods. Both GST and duty are payable for dutiable goods if these goods are imported for local consumption.
1) How to Import Your Goods?
As an importer, you will need to first determine if duty and/or GST payment should be made when your goods enter Singapore:
Duty and/or GST are suspended when goods remain inside an FTZ
Duty and/or GST are payable if goods are released directly for local circulation
When goods are moved from an FTZ or entry point into a Customs licensed premises (such as zero-GST warehouses or licensed warehouses), duty and/or GST will be suspended as long as the goods are stored in the licensed premises
Duty and/or GST are not payable for goods granted duty exemption or GST relief or those imported under the Temporary Import Scheme under Singapore Customs or the relevant Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) schemes:
Major Exporter Scheme (MES)
Approved Import GST Suspension Scheme (AISS)
Import GST Deferment Scheme (IGDS)
To account for the entry of your goods, please follow the steps below to obtain the relevant import permits and authorisation (if the goods are subject to control) from the relevant Competent Authorities.
Step 1: Register for UEN and Activate Customs Account
Step 2: Check if Your Goods are Controlled
Step 3: Apply for Inter-Bank GIRO
Step 4: Furnish Security
Step 5: Apply for Customs Import Permit
Step 6: Prepare Documents for Cargo Clearance
Step 7: Retain your Trade Documents
2) Controlled & Prohibited Goods for Import
Controlled goods require proper authorisation (advance notification, licence or certificate approval) from Competent Authorities (CA) before they may be imported into Singapore. You are advised to check if the goods are controlled using the description of the goods, Harmonized System (HS) code or CA product code in the portal of Singapore Customs. If the item is subject to control, you may check directly with the respective CAs on their licensing requirements.
3) List of Prohibited Goods for Imports

Prohibited Goods

Competent Authority

Chewing gum (excluding Health Sciences Authority approved oral dental and medicinal chewing gum)

Singapore Customs

Pistol or revolver - shaped cigarette lighters

Arms & Explosives Division, General Licensing Division, Police Licensing & Regulatory Department, Singapore Police Force

Fire crackers

Arms & Explosives Division, General Licensing Division, Police Licensing & Regulatory Department, Singapore Police Force

1. Rhinoceros horn (worked, unworked or prepared and the any part, power or waste of such horn)

2. Endangered species of wildlife and products derived from the body of such animals

National Parks Board

Telecommunication equipment

1. Scanning receivers

2. Military communication equipment

3. Telephone voice changing equipment

4. Radio-communication equipment operating in frequency bands 880-915 MHz, 925-960 MHz, 1900-1980 MHz and 2110-2170 MHz except cellular mobile phones or such other equipment approved by Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore

5. Radio-communication jamming devices operating in any frequency band

6. Obscene articles, publications and video tapes or discs

7. Seditious and treasonable materials

Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore

1. Chewing tobacco (loose leaf chewing tobacco, plug chewing tobacco, twist chewing tobacco, tobacco bits intended for chewing)

2. Imitation tobacco products (electronic cigarettes, vaporisers) and components of imitation tobacco products

3. Shisha

4. Smokeless cigars, smokeless cigarillos or smokeless cigarettes

5. Dissolvable tobacco or nicotine

6. Any product containing nicotine or tobacco that may be used topically for application, by implant or injected into any parts of the body

7. Any solution or substance, of which tobacco or nicotine is a constituent, that is intended to be used with an electronic nicotine delivery system or vaporizers

8. Nasal snuff

9. Oral snuff

10. Gutkha, khaini and zarda

Tobacco Regulation Branch, Health Sciences Authority

Controlled drugs listed under 4th Schedule of Misuse of Drugs Regulation

Health Products Regulation Group, Health Sciences Authority


2. Exports in General
Goods exported from Singapore are regulated under the Customs Act, the Regulation of Imports and Exports Act, the Strategic Goods (Control) Act, and other legislation by the relevant Competent Authorities (CAs).
To export goods from Singapore, you are required to declare the goods to Singapore Customs. Goods and Services Tax (GST) and duty are not levied on goods exported from Singapore.
How to Export Your Goods?
3. Duties & Dutiable Goods
All dutiable goods imported into or manufactured in Singapore are subject to customs duty and/or excise duty.
Customs duty is duty levied on goods imported into Singapore, excluding excise duty. Excise duty is duty levied on goods manufactured in, or imported into, Singapore.
The duties are based on ad valorem or specific rates. An ad valorem rate is a percentage of the goods’ customs value (for example, 20% of the customs value). A specific rate is a specified amount per unit of weight or other quantity (for example, S$388.00 per kilogramme).
There are 4 categories of dutiable goods:
Intoxicating liquors
Tobacco products
Motor vehicles
Petroleum products and biodiesel blends
Please refer to the list of dutiable goods for their respective duty rates. All other products are non-dutiable.
4. Goods and Services Tax (GST)
Goods and Services Tax (GST) is levied on all goods imported into Singapore. It is calculated based on:
Customs value of the goods, plus all duties, or
Value of the last selling price plus all duties, if there has been more than one sale (when the last buyer is the party declaring the payment permit)
The current GST rate is 7%.
Source: 1. World Bank Group
2. Ministry of Manpower
3. Singapore Customs
2020-10-26 08:33:08