Customs Procedures in Singapore

Every time a company purchases an imported product it must fulfill with the regulations established by the Customs Regime of that country, in this sense we will talk about the customs procedures in Singapore in this article.

Firstly, it is important to know that Singapore does not belong to any customs union. Rather, it’s a member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC) and applies the Harmonized Customs System.

According to the World Trade Organization, it is defined as the nomenclature based on a classification of goods according to a 6-digit code system accepted by all participating countries. They may establish their own sub-classifications with more than 6 digits for tariff or other purposes.

It consists on a six-digit combination that identifies the products based on their characteristics.

More than 200 countries and 98% of global trade use this product nomenclature system known as the Harmonized System which is regulated by the World Customs Organization.

Therefore, one of the points that any PYME or company should take into account when trying to trade their products in the international market is that it’s not enough to know the current name of the goods that they sell, but also it will be necessary to indicate the “code” That identifies it.

This “code” will appear frequently in the export and import documentation, and will be essential in determining the applicable tariffs for each product.

The legal regulations that rule the entire area of customs procedures in Singapore are:

  • Customs law
  • Goods and Services Tax Law

Both laws are responsible for regulating all merchandise that enters the country through import.

However, the import process in Singapore is quite open, most products can enter the country without further restriction, exceptions include products with chewing gum and weapons.

Regarding the tariffs and taxes corresponding to the import activity, the country is free of taxes except for products such as automobiles, gasoline, tobacco and alcohol.

However, every good that enters the country through importation is submit to the laws, and requires a customs permit to consider the activity and order the payment of corresponding taxes.

In Singapore, there is a licensing system that is required for 6% of total imports, related to fresh fruit and vegetables, plants, meat, animals, medicines, diffusion products (automatic licenses), and also a series of products that may represent a risk to health or to the State (without automatic licenses).

These licenses are issued by the Singapore International Company, another body that can also take part is the Ministry of Health.

Incomes of small businesses registered a fall of 13.3 percent

The Statistic Department of Singapore reported that the incomes of small businesses decreased by 13.3 percent as a direct consequence of the confinement measures applied in the country due to the spread of Covid-19.

In its most recent report, the Statistics Department indicated that this is the lowest level of income facing the sector in the last two decades. The same source stated that the income from retail trade reached two thousand 330 million dollars of which the online sale occupies 8.5 percent.

The decrease in domestic consumption and the paralysis of tourist activities are some of the keys to this phenomenon that affects the smallest businesses in the country; according to the source the income of small merchants reached 2,330 million dollars of which online sales figures stands at 8.5 percent.

In these evaluations made by the agency, the value of food and beverage services was also affected by up to 23.3 percent compared to the same stage last year, and 9.6 percent compared to the previous month.

According to recent macroeconomic evaluations carried out by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the country’s economy will fall into recession this year due to the effects of the epidemic as unemployment and low-wage situations intensify as well as difficulties in production and business. 

In addition, it forecasted that Singapore’s economy could contract further in the second quarter of the year.

As of this date, the pandemic has claimed the lives of 20 people in Singapore, the latest official report from the Ministry of Health indicates that the figure has crossed the 20,000 mark and now stands at 20,198 cases.