Singapore's trading companies facilitate international business trade through their import and export service procedures. There are also requirements for either an IN Permit or an OUT Permit; either may be obtained via TradeNet.
A Trading Company is a business that connects buyers and sellers, either within the same country or on the international trading market. It is otherwise known as an import/export company or business. Whether you are Starting a business in Singapore or expanding your company to Asia, a Trading Company does not own the merchandise involved in the commercial exchange, and it only has them on a temporary basis.
Are There Any Perks to Start a Singapore Trading Company?
Singapore is a big player in the import/export trade market – with its strategic position in Southeast Asia, many view it as connecting both the eastern and western worlds in terms of trade. This dominance is clearly reflected in Singapore’s many state-of-the-art import/export services and procedures, as well as its connections to hundreds of ports all around the world.
Before you can import/export any goods in and out of the country, you’ll need to first activate your account with Singapore Customs. Your account will be activated within 1-2 business days after you submit your application. You will then be issued an approval letter from Customs, valid for as long as your company exists.
You will need to obtain a Permit through TradeNet® before you can import or export goods. Using Singapore’s TradeNet®, you can submit your permit applications electronically to the relevant government bodies for processing. You’ll need to apply for a permit in order to import goods, and another one for exporting goods.
We offer Singapore company incorporation, consultancy services, auditing, taxation, immigration work visas & annual compliance services.
Requirements to Start a Singapore Trading Company
What you will need for the Import/Export of All Goods
Before you can import any goods (which include controlled and non-controlled goods) into Singapore, you’ll have to apply for an IN Permit through TradeNet®, and you’ll have to do it before the goods are imported into Singapore.
Before you can export any goods (which include controlled and non-controlled goods) into Singapore, you’ll have to apply for an OUT Permit through TradeNet®, and you’ll have to do it:
before the goods are exported out of Singapore (if the goods are controlled and/or being transported via road or rail);
within 3 days of exports (if the goods are non-controlled or transported via air or sea);
before exporting any goods that were previously imported under the Temporary Import Scheme; or
before exporting any goods under the Temporary Export Scheme.
There are some scenarios in which the goods may be imported/exported without requiring a permit. Example: Importing/exporting trade samples of uncontrolled items which have a total value that does not exceed SGD 400 based on CIF (Costs, Insurance and Freight) value.
What you will need for the Import/Export of Controlled Goods
There are some goods that are labeled as ‘controlled goods’ and the import/export of these goods come under the control of the Controlling Agencies. Examples of controlled goods: cigarettes or any tobacco product, animals, food products, petrochemicals and drugs.
If you want to import/export controlled goods, you’ll need a permit, which is in addition to the IN and OUT permits mentioned above. Permit applications for the import/export of controlled goods can be submitted to your freight forwarder/cargo agent or relevant Controlling Agencies (through the TradeNet® system) for processing and approval.
What you will need for the Import of High-Technology Goods
There are certain high-technology goods on the market which the exporting country subjects to special export control. In this case, the importer in Singapore might be asked to present an ICDV – Import Certificate and Delivery Verification – by the exporter. You can apply for an ICDV from Singapore Customs. Any item covered by this ICDV has to be imported into Singapore directly, without diverting it to any other countries.
What you will need for the Export/Trans-shipment/Transit of Strategic Goods
Strategic goods include goods and technology which have, as their main use, or intended to be used as weapons of mass destruction. Such goods are regulated by the Strategic Goods (Control) Act. If you’re going to be exporting, trans-shipping or bringing-in-for-transit these Strategic Goods, you must obtain a SGC (Strategic Goods Control) TradeNet® Permit.
What you will need for the Export of Local Goods
If you’re a Singaporean exporter, be aware that there are certain buyers who may require to present them with a CO – Certificate of Origin. This Certificate of Origin is proof that the goods you are exporting are made in Singapore.
Certificates of Origin can be divided into 2 types:
Ordinary Certificate of Origin – Certifies that the products being exported are wholly obtained, produced or manufactured in Singapore.
Preferential Certificate of Origin – With a Preferential Certificate of Origin, you can get a competitive edge when it comes to your exports. Why is that so? Because a Preferential Certificate of Origin enables your buyer(s) to claim preferential tariff treatment when they import your goods under one of the Free Trade Agreements or Schemes of Preference; it’s a win-win situation for both parties!
Application for a CO can be done through your freight forwarder/cargo agent or through TradeNet®.
Start A Singapore Trading Company FAQs
What you will need to clear Import goods, carried in Conventional and Containerized Cargos?Tiwi2020-06-25T10:22:40+08:00
To clear import for conventional cargo at the entry checkpoint, you’ll have to present the following to ICA officers: Customs IN Permit (or an import authorization) along with any supporting documents (bill of lading, invoice, etc). For those goods that are imported for Singaporean consumption, you’ll have to pay the duties and/or GST before the goods can be released.
If your imports come in containerized cargo, the import clearance will depend on what sort of containerized cargo it is. You’ll have to obtain the relevant Customs Permits before you can remove these containers out of an FTZ (Free Trade Zone, mentioned above.)
FCLs -Full Container Loads. These are containers which contain goods for either one consignee or from one consignor.
The norm is that FCL containers are not emptied in the FTZ. FCL containers that require Customs to examine it will be sealed at the respective FTZ outgates. Once the sealed FCL containers have left the FTZ, consignees or their transport agents should arrange with Singapore Customs to have them supervised the unpacking of the FCL containers.
You should not break any Custom seals placed on the containers at the time of import, not without supervision or written permission from Singapore Customs. FCL containers that don’t need to go through any Customs examination will be given the SNR – Sealing Not Required – facilitation. ICA officers will release it without sealing it. These FCL containers can then be unpacked at any time, without the need for any supervision from Singapore Customs.
LCL – Less Than Full Container Load. These are containers with goods for either more than one consignee or from more than one consignor. LCL Containers can be emptied out in an FTZ and then cleared through the FTZ outgate as conventional cargo. Customs does not need to come and supervise the emptying out of LCL containers in the FTZ.