Singapore is a small, but wealthy city-state with an open and trade driven economy. It’s a leading global business hub, located where the major east and west shipping lanes converge.

Singapore has a stable government, strong rule of law and effective regulatory system. It is ranked by the World Bank as the easiest place in the world to start, run and do business. You can set up a new business in a matter of hours.

It’s a financial, shipping and trade hub for the Asia Pacific region, and the government has a pro-business economic and trade policy. Over 1,000 British companies have a presence in Singapore, and 30,000 British residents live there.

Benefits to UK businesses exporting to Singapore include:

•    free flow of goods and capital
•    current exchange rate makes UK products and services attractive
•    common language and strong historical ties
•    similar business and legal practices
•    similar technical standards
•    close to major Asia Pacific economies
•    UK’s largest trade partner in south east 

Strengths of the Singapore market include:

•    50% of the world’s population within 6 hours flight
•    fourth largest global financial centre
•    Asia’s only AAA credit rating from all 3 agencies
•    Asia’s strongest Intellectual Property (IP) protection
•    highly skilled and educated local population
•    low corruption and strong rule of law
•    excellent infrastructure and transport connectivity

The main challenges of doing business in Singapore are due to the size of the country and population.
•    8 hour time difference with the UK
•    can be expensive place to do business
•    widening income inequality has led to some anti-foreigner sentiment
•    tighter foreign worker restrictions including quotas
•    very open economy which makes it vulnerable to global economic downturns
•    restrictions on expansion in retail banking and licences for the legal sector

Economic Growth:
As one of the world’s most open economies Singapore is a indicator of global trade. Growth slowed in 2015 to 2% from 2.9% in 2014 mainly due to sluggish trade with China.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts growth of 2.9% in 2016. Challenging conditions are likely to persist and growth of 1 to 3% annually is forecast over the medium term.

Singapore is the second most densely populated country in the world with one-third of the population made up of foreign workers and residents. It’s economy:

•    is the 36th largest in the world
•    is vulnerable to external shocks
•    has per capita income of USD 56,000, the highest in Asia Pacific and higher than most developed countries including the UK

Singapore is currently restructuring its economy to:

•    reduce its dependence on imported labour
•    improve productivity
This move towards knowledge-driven, high-value and creative businesses offers huge opportunities for UK businesses with expertise in these areas.

Essential Customs Information:
Singapore’s General Sales Tax rate is based on 7% of commercial invoice value for all shipments with a Cost Insurance Freight (CIF) value exceeding SGD 400. Import duty only applies to intoxicating liqueurs, tobacco products, motor vehicles and petroleum products. Excise duty applies on excisable goods, i.e. alcohol and tabacco. 

Document shipments weighing over 30 kg and printed materials with a commercial value or meant for mass distribution must be shipped as goods. 
Certain items will be subject to inspection by and/or require approval from the following Singapore government bodies/agencies: Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA), Health Sciences Authority (HSA), Infocomm Development Authority (IDA), Media Development Authority (MDA) 


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