Singapore 2017-11-28T16:36:00+00:00


Country Facts
5.8 Million (2016)*
Mandarin Chinese, English
Eastern Asia
Singapore Dollar (SGD)

*Source: The CIA World Factbook

Trade Indicators
2nd easiest place to do business in the world (according to World Bank)
7th largest U.S. goods export market worldwide
U.S.’ 13th largest export market
U.S.’ 19th largest trading partner
99% of all imports enter Singapore duty free

Top Industry Export Opportunities


Due to scarce agricultural land and resources, Singapore imports nearly 90% of its food products from abroad and this, in turn, generates a vibrant and diverse retail foods market with an assorted range of food products, from basic to high-end organic foods. U.S. products have gained traction in recent years, but competition is fierce. The United States was the fourth largest supplier at US$872 million in 2016 and with a market share of 8%, behind Malaysia, Indonesia, China, and Australia at number five. Opportunities in the market include:  dairy products, breakfast cereals, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, snacks, wine, and pork.


Singapore ranks second in our list of top markets for U.S. aircraft parts exports due to the country’s status as a major aircraft maintenance hub. Singapore’s favorable customs regime and its location in a rapidly growing regional aviation market have attracted many firms from the United States and Europe to set up subsidiaries in Singapore. Demand for commercial and business aviation is expected to grow, fueled by Singapore’s growth as a global city and the exponential travel trends in the Asia Pacific region. To support the long-term growth of the logistics and aerospace industries, an industrial zone will also be developed for airfreight and air express operators as well as MRO activities. These developments will offer great opportunities for U.S. businesses to supply the aerospace sector in Singapore.

Industrial Automation

Manufacturing is a key engine of the Singapore economy where precision engineering is the crucial enabler for industries as diverse as aerospace, electronics, chemicals, logistics, pharmaceutical, telecommunications, and offshore engineering. According to the Singapore Government, it is the essential ingredient in the fabrication of the smallest semiconductor chips, to the most cutting-edge of medical devices, and the largest oil and gas drill bits. In 2014, the U.S. held 19.1% of Singapore’s market share for automation equipment making it the largest partner that year. This was even larger than China or Japan. From 2009 – 2015, U.S. exports in this sector grew at an average annual rate of 11%. Opportunities in the market include: electric motors and actuators, electrical relays and industrial controls, industrial robots, material handling, and sensors and instruments.

Trade Regulations & Customs Information

Import Tariffs: Singapore levies a 7% Goods and Services Tax (GST). For dutiable goods, the taxable value for GST is calculated based on the CIF (Cost, Insurance, and Freight) value, plus all duties and other charges. In the case of non-dutiable goods, GST will be based on the CIF value plus any commission and other incidental charges whether or not shown on the invoice. If the goods are dutiable, the GST will be collected simultaneously with the duties.  Special provisions pertain to goods stored in licensed warehouses and free trade zones.

Import Duty: Singapore is generally a free port and an open economy.  More than 99% of all imports into Singapore enter the country duty-free.  For social and/or environmental reasons, Singapore levies high excise taxes on distilled spirits and wine, tobacco products, motor vehicles and petroleum products.

Import Requirements and Documentation: Companies must make an inward declaration for all goods imported into Singapore.  All imports require an import permit although this is largely a statistical requirement for most goods. The import of trade samples that is below US$275 is not subject to payment of duty and/or GST.  In addition, no permit is required for their import.  Bona fide trade samples (excluding liquors and tobacco) may be imported for the following purposes: solely for the purpose of soliciting orders for goods to be supplied from abroad; for demonstration in Singapore to enable manufacturers in Singapore to produce such articles to fulfill orders from abroad or by a manufacturer for the purpose of copying; and for testing or experimenting before producing such articles in Singapore.

Customs Regulations: In Singapore, valuation for customs purposes is based on the Customs Valuation Code (CVC). The primary basis for customs value is the transaction value of the imported goods when sold for export to Singapore. Where goods are dutiable, ad valorem or specific rates may be applied. An ad valorem rate, which is most commonly applied, is a percentage of the customs value of the imported goods. A specific rate is a specified amount per unit of weight of other quantity. Cost, insurance, freight, handling charges and all other charges incidental to the sale and delivery of the goods are taken into account when the duty is assessed. Exporters are required to ensure that the declared values of goods have not been undervalued or the Customs and Excise Department will increase the values declared. Severe penalties may be imposed on traders attempting to evade duty. Singapore has three Free Trade Zone (FTZ) authorities that provide a wide range of facilities and services for storage and re-export of dutiable and controlled goods.  Goods can be stored within the zones without any customs documentation until they are released in the market and they can also be processed and re-exported with minimum customs formalities.

U.S. Export Controls: The United States imposes export controls to protect national security interests and promote foreign policy objectives. The United States also participates in various multilateral export control regimes to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and prevent destabilizing accumulations of conventional weapons and related material.  The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) administers U.S. laws, regulations and policies governing the export and re-export of commodities, software, and technology (collectively “items”) falling under the jurisdiction of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). U.S. exporters should consult the EAR for information on how export license requirements may apply to the sale of their goods. If necessary, a commodity classification request may be submitted in order to obtain BIS assistance in determining how an item is controlled (i.e., the item’s classification) and the applicable licensing policy. Exporters may also request a written advisory opinion from BIS about application of the EAR to a specific situation.

Source: The International Trade Administration (ITA), U.S. Department of Commerce

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