Essential Information for Importers

Additional Info

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The importation of goods into Singapore is regulated under the Customs Act, the Regulation of
Imports and Exports Act, the Goods and Services Tax Act, the Chemical Weapons (Prohibition) Act and their related subsidiary legislations.

In general, the importation of non-dutiable goods into Singapore is subject to Goods and Services Tax (GST) while the importation of dutiable goods is subject to both duty and GST. There are four broad categories of dutiable goods in Singapore, and they are intoxicating liquors, tobacco products, motor vehicles as well as petroleum products and natural gas used as motor fuel.

Duties and GST Payment
The importer is the entity who is responsible for the payment of any duties, GST and other miscellaneous taxes and fees to the Singapore Customs upon the importation of their goods. For easy payment of taxes and fees, the importer may apply for an inter-bank GIRO account with Singapore Customs. Alternatively, they may appoint a forwarding agent to make payments for the related taxes.

The prevailing GST rate is 7 per cent, and is calculated based on the CIF (Costs, Insurance and Freight) value plus all duties and other chargeable costs, whether or not shown on the invoice, at the point of importation. Duty, however, is calculated based on the ad valorem or specific duty rates.

Duties and GST may be suspended up to the point of consumption if they are imported or manufactured under the various Customs schemes. For more information on the Customs schemes, refer to http://www.customs.gov.sg/leftNav/trad/Customs+Schemes+and+Licences.htm.

Duties and GST may be exempted if they are imported for use or consumption by persons who are entitled to GST relief and/or duty exemption provided under the GST (Imports Relief) Order and Customs (Duties) (Exemption) Order respectively.

Requirements
For goods that are subject to import control, a license or other forms of approval has to be obtained from the relevant Competent Authorities (CAs) prior their importation into Singapore. To view a list of controlled goods, go to http://www.customs.gov.sg/leftNav/trad/TradeNet/List+Of+Controlled+Goods+-+Imports.htm.

Certain goods imported from other countries may also have trade prohibitions sanctioned by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). For cases like these, the importer is advised to refer to the relevant UNSC Resolutions to ensure that the goods are allowed to be imported to Singapore from the sanctioned countries. You may view the complete list of the UNSC Sanctions at http://www.customs.gov.sg/stgc/leftNav/san/.

There are specific high-technology items that are subject to export control by the exporting country. For cases like these, the exporter in the exporting country may ask the importer from Singapore to provide an Import Certificate Delivery Verification (ICDV), commonly known as the International Import Certificate (IIC). Singapore importers can get an ICDV from Singapore Customs. This certificate will allow the exporter to seek approval for the export of the high-technology items from his government authorities. The items covered by an ICDV must be imported directly into Singapore.

Procedures
In general, a permit has to be applied through TradeNet® prior to the importation of goods into Singapore. More information on permit requirement and exemption can be found at http://www.customs.gov.sg/leftNav/trad/TradeNet/Imports+and+Exports+Information.htm.

Temporary Import Scheme
All goods, except for liquor and tobacco, are allowed to be temporarily imported for six months for approved purposes such as exhibitions, auctions, fairs, repairs, demonstrations, testing and stage performance.

Some examples of goods that can be imported under the Temporary Import Scheme (TIS) include:

  • Professional equipment
  • Teaching and scientific equipment
  • Live animals for dressage, training or breeding purposes
  • Motor vehicles that will be used for demonstration, training or racing in Singapore
  • Medical supplies and stores for disaster relief
  • Stage effects, equipment and paraphernalia and live animals required for certain performances
  • Goods, excluding dutiable liquor for display or usage at exhibitions, fairs or any other similar events
  • Horses, private or recreational boats or aircraft and vehicles that will be used for sports, racing or any other similar events
  • Conveyance for temporary private usage
  • Scientific and technical goods subjected to approval by the Director-General

Re-importation of Goods
GST relief may be granted on the re-importation of goods, specifically goods which were exported subject to the following conditions:

  • If the goods were intended to be re-imported at the time of export;
  • An appropriate permit to cover the temporary export movement is obtained; and
  • The ownership of the goods has not been transferred to a person outside Singapore during the time of exportation or during the time while the goods were abroad.

GST relief may also be granted on the re-importation of exported goods which were rejected or returned, subject to the following conditions:

  • The goods were exported by the trader;
  • There was no change in the ownership of the goods; and
  • The goods were re-imported in the same state without any alteration, manipulation or processing while abroad.

GST is required at the point of re-importation if re-imported goods were altered, manipulated or processed while abroad. GST will be calculated based on the increase in value resulting from the alteration, manipulation or processing.

Singapore Customs offers traders and businesses a comprehensive guide of Singapore import procedures. You can visit the Singapore Customs website at http://www.customs.gov.sg.

ABOUT SINGAPORE CUSTOMS

Singapore Customs was re-constituted on 1 April 2003 to bring together revenue collection and enforcement, trade documentation, trade facilitation and security functions under one agency. As
Singapore’s single authority on customs and trade regulatory matters, Singapore Customs upholds customs and trade laws to build trust in Singapore’s external trading system, facilitate trade, and protect revenue.

Singapore Customs is at the crossroads of international trade and plays a proactive role in balancing the intricate requirements of trade facilitation, security, and regulatory compliance to support Singapore as a global trade hub. As the single trade regulator, Singapore Customs is well placed to collaborate with multiple stakeholders in trade, both from the public and private sectors. In performing our work, we firmly believe in facilitating legitimate trade, while simultaneously ensuring that Singapore’s trading system is not being exploited for illicit purposes. This guiding philosophy is encapsulated in Singapore Customs’ Vision, Mission and Motto, and is core to our strategic planning.

Trade Facilitation
Since 1989, Singapore Customs has been administering the TradeNet system, the world’s first national single window for trade declaration. This has facilitated trade and documentation processes, making them easy and seamless. Singapore Customs administers preferential tariffs arising from the many free trade agreements signed by Singapore for the benefit of the trading community. Singapore Customs consults and engages the trade and industry to understand customers’ needs, and offers customised solutions to the business community. We aim to lower their business compliance costs, enhance efficiency and promote business growth in Singapore.

Trade Security
Singapore Customs is the lead agency in promoting trade security and secure trade supply chains. Asia’s first supply chain security programme, the Secure Trade Partnership (STP) was launched in 2007 by Singapore Customs. We put in place a voluntary certification programme for companies that seek to adopt robust security measures in their trading operations, thereby contributing to the security of the global supply chain. We are also the lead agency for developing the APEC and World Customs Organisation (WCO) Trade Recovery Guidelines to help economies resume normal trading functions quickly in the event that supply chains are disrupted.

Trade Regulation
Singapore Customs maintains an effective and robust regulatory regime that is able to adapt quickly to the ever-changing business landscape. As a key revenue collection agency for Singapore, Singapore Customs safeguards Government revenue, ensures a level playing field for traders, and takes firm enforcement action against those who attempt to evade duties and taxes, bring in contraband goods or make fraudulent declarations. By adopting principles of risk management, Singapore Customs enables legitimate traders to trade easily and securely in Singapore. To learn more, visit www.customs.gov.sg.

Singapore Customs
55 Newton Road #10-01
Revenue House
Singapore 307987
Customs Call Centre: +65 6355 2000
Fax: +65 6250 8663

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