Singapore is well-known for the trading facilities it offers and according to the latest reports issued by the World Trade Organization the city-state is the 14th largest exporter in the world with a trade to GDP (Gross Domestic Product) ratio of 404.9. Singapore is home to almost 3000 international and domestic logistics and supply chain management companies that benefit from very well-established import and export procedures.
The first step to take when establishing a trading company is to register the company with the Trade Register in Singapore. The second step will be to register the company with the Singapore Customs. In Singapore, all importers and exporters must activate an account with the Customs authorities before starting their trading operations. The activation of an account takes about one or two days.
You can rely on our Singapore consultants in company formation for the registration procedure of trading companies in the city-state. The video below also presents the main steps to follow when opening a trading company in Singapore:
After the Singapore company formation process is completed, the second step is to set up an account with the Customs Authorities as seen above. The registration consists in appointing a declaring agent who will be contact person between the Singapore trading company and the Customs Authority and creating and activating the account.
While newly-registered trading companies can activate their account once the company registration process is completed with ACRA, existing companies are required to complete and file an application with the Customs Authorities.
It should also be noted that the trading company must open an Inter-Bank Giro account (IBG) in order to be able to pay the GST, the customs duties and other fees related to the transactions they make.
Our company formation consultants in Singapore can offer more information on how to register with the Customs Authorities.
As mentioned above, opening a trading company in Singapore implies having a contact person who will be authorized to carry out any activities or complete any procedure related to transactions involving the customs authorities, including operating the IBG account. The declaring agent can be one of the company’s managers or directors or can be an independent entity. However, it must be appointed by someone in the management of the trading company.
The appointment of the declaring agents consists in filing the following information with the Customs Authority:
It must be noted that the declaring agent can be replaced every one, two or three years depending on their qualifications. Declaring agents are accepted by the Customs Authorities based on an assessment of their qualifications and on the activities of the Singapore trading company.
In order to be able to import and export goods into and out of Singapore, trading companies must obtain an IN Permit, respectively an OUT Permit with the TradeNet. The OUT Permit is necessary for:
Imported or exported uncontrolled goods of a total value below 400 S$ on the CIF (Cost, Insurance, Freight) may benefit from special circumstances and not be required any license or permit in Singapore.
Certain imported or exported goods traded by Singapore trading companies are subject to the control of the Controlling Agencies. These goods are known as controlled goods and require a special permit additionally to the IN or OUT Permit. Controlled goods include cigarettes, tobacco products, animals, foodstuff and pharmaceuticals.
Singapore trading companies involved in importing high-technology products may be required to provide an Import Certificate and Delivery Verification (ICDV) permit. The Singapore Customs Office will issue this type of license for importers. ICDV products must be imported in Singapore and not be exported in other countries.
Another type of license a trading company in Singapore must obtain is the Strategic Good Control (SGC) TradeNet Permit. The SGC permit is required for exporting, transshipping or bringing Strategic Goods that are used for weapons. Singapore trading companies may also be required for a Certificate of Origin (CO) when exporting locally produced goods.
If you want to set up a trading company and need details about all required licenses and permits, please contact our specialists in company incorporation in Singapore.