Exporting to Singapore

Singapore is a small, but wealthy city-state with an open and trade-driven economy. It’s a leading financial, shipping and trade hub for the Asia Pacific region, and the government has a pro-business economic and trade policy. In the year to March 2019, the UK exported £8.8bn of goods and services to Singapore (ONS, 2019).

Ease of doing business

It is ranked by the World Bank as the second easiest place in the world to start, run and do business (World Bank, 2019). You can set up a new business in a matter of hours. Singapore has a stable government, strong rule of law and effective regulatory system.

Common business environment with the UK

The UK and Singapore share a common language and have strong historical ties. Both economies have similar business and legal practices and share similar technical standards.

Gateway to Asia Pacific

Singapore’s location makes it a gateway to South East Asia and Asia Pacific. It is the UK’s largest trading partner in South East Asia (ONS, 2019), making it a good place from which to seek business opportunities in the wider region.

Ease of doing business

2nd

out of 190 countries (World Bank, 2019)

Currency

Singapore Dollar

Business language

English

GDP per capita

$64,041

UK is $42,558 (IMF, 2018)

Economic growth

3.2%

(IMF, 2018)

Time zone

GMT +8

Opportunities for exporters

There are opportunities for UK companies across a broad range of industries. Our trade advisers in Singapore have identified particular opportunities for UK businesses in the following sectors.

Doing business in Singapore

Preparing to export

Taxation

The UK and Singapore have signed a double taxation agreement.

UK companies operating in Singapore will be subject to local taxation requirements. The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) provides more information on tax in Singapore.

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) in Singapore is 7%. Find out more about Singapore’s Goods and Services Tax.

VAT

You can zero-rate the sale of goods exported to Singapore. You must get evidence that the goods were exported and keep it as part of your records.

Regulatory bodies

Enterprise Singapore is the national standards and accreditation body in Singapore. It acts to ensure the safety of 45 categories of household electrical, electronic and gas products.

Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority (HSA) regulates medicines, medical devices and health related products.

Find out which products are controlled

These products are classed as controlled goods and suppliers must register them with Enterprise Singapore before putting them up for sale. This is done through the Consumer Protection (Consumer Goods Safety Requirements) Regulations. Find out which consumer goods are regulated.

Operating in Singapore

Intellectual Property

The Intellectual Property (IP) regime is administered by the national IP office, Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), and covers key IP rights such as:

  • patents
  • trade marks
  • designs
  • geographical indications
  • plant varieties
  • copyright
  • confidential information

IP registrations are generally processed quickly and businesses can find helpful IP information in English on IPOS’s website.

Next steps

DIT can advise you on doing business abroad, and help put you in touch with other people who can help such as lawyers and distributors.