An import is any good (e.g. a commodity) or service brought into one country from another country in a legitimate fashion, typically for use in trade. It is a good that is brought in from another country for sale. Singapore uses the revenue generated from its exports to purchase natural resources and raw goods which are scarce in Singapore.
Procedure for Importing Goods Into Singapore
- Non Controlled goods can be imported into Singapore without the need for a license.
- The import of certain goods is subject to control by the relevant Competent Authorities ("controlled goods") while the import of certain other goods is strictly prohibited.
- Traders of controlled goods must have the necessary licenses & permits before they can import the goods.
- Controlled goods include drugs, chemicals, animals and food products.
- When you apply for the licenses & permits, be aware of the different requirements involved in the import of controlled goods.
- Some controlled goods can be imported and distributed here, but are subject to censorship e.g. films and videos.
Trade X change was launched in October 2007, Trade X change provides seamless inter connectivity among commercial and regulatory systems for the Singapore trade and logistics community. It also offers a single electronic window for integrated workflow, submissions and enquiries to the Sea Ports, Airports, Maritime Authorities, Customs and Controlling Agencies.
Trade X change® is a multi-agency initiative led by Singapore Customs, Economic Development Board and Info comm Development Authority of Singapore.
Permits Required for Imports
For each shipment of goods, one must apply for an Import Permit through either Trade Net, the freight forwarder or cargo agent.
For any import of controlled goods, the Import permit must be routed to the Competent Authorities (CAs) for approval. CAs are Government agencies that regulate controlled goods.
Under certain circumstances, you do not need to apply for an Import Permit, e.g. importing trade samples that are worth less than S$400. A full list of these exemption scenarios is available on Trade Net® - Import/Export Procedures.
For further information please visit: Goods That Do Not Require Import Permits
Singapore Customs is the Government Agency under the Ministry of Finance, constituted on 1 April 2003 to regulate the customs procedure. Other than customs regulation, it is also responsible for implementation of revenue and trade enforcement measures, including those related to Free Trade Agreements and strategic goods.
Does the Country Being Imported from Need More Paperwork
- Import of high-tech products requires one to apply for an Import Certificate and Delivery Verification (ICDV) from Singapore Customs.
- Most often, the exporter in the exporting country will ask the Singapore importer for an ICDV from Singapore.
How to Clear the Goods When They Arrive
- All the relevant duties and taxes have to be paid before the goods at customs can be cleared.
- Once they have been paid, the logistics company can be asked to collect the goods from the Free Trade Zones (FTZs) for customs clearance.
Paperless Clearance for Containerized Cargo
- The entire process of clearing the goods from customs is paperless, if they are containerized cargo.
- One does not need to produce the Import Permit or supporting documents at the time of clearance, but one must have already obtained approval for the Import Permit.
What are the Taxes and Fees to Be Paid
- One has to pay customs and excise duties on dutiable goods imported into Singapore. Dutiable goods are intoxicating liquors, petroleum products, tobacco products and motor vehicles.
- The moment goods are imported into Singapore, they are subject to Goods and Services Tax (GST). GST on imports is levied at 7% of the goods’ CIF value (Cost, Insurance and Freight) plus Customs duty, commission and other incidental charges if applicable.
- One has to pay fees to Singapore Customs for supervision and inspection of the goods.