Singapore Industry Guides

Information You Need to Succeed

Setting Up an Import Export Trading Company in Singapore

Legal Requirements

Register Your Business on ACRA

The first step in any business venture is registering the company with ACRA, the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority of Singapore. Once approved, your company will receive a business licence with a Unique Entity Number (UEN), which is required for the application of other licences and permits.

Import Export Trading Company Licensing Requirements

Importing and exporting goods into and out of Singapore requires activating an account with Singapore Customs using the company UEN. Account activation, which is free, is generally completed in less than 48 hours. As long as business entities remain registered on ACRA, their Customs Account will remain valid.

Import/Export Trading Companies, depending on their business model, must apply and acquire additional licences and permits when required.

      • IN Permit and OUT Permit, for importing and exporting both Controlled and Non-controlled goods into and out of Singapore. For Controlled Goods, an additional permit must be obtained from the relevant Controlling Agencies.
      • Import Certificate and Delivery Verification (ICDV), from Singapore Customs, for the import of High-technology Goods.
      • Strategic Goods Control (SGC) TradeNet Permit, for exporting, transshipping or bringing in transit Strategic Goods (which include all goods and technology that are intended or likely to be used for weapons of mass destruction).
      • Certificate of Origin (CO), for exporting locally produced goods. CO is divided into two categories: Ordinary and Preferential.

Rank & Category of the Most Traded Goods Globally

#1 Cars
#2 Refined Petroleum
#3 Integrated Circuits
#4 Vehicle Parts
#5 Computers
#6 Pharmaceuticals
#7 Gold
#8 Crude Petroleum
#9 Telephones
#10 Broadcasting Equipment
#11 Diamonds
#12 Petroleum Gas
#13 Human or Animal Blood
#14 Aircraft
#15 Delivery Trucks
#16 Medical Instruments
#17 Insulated Wires
#18 Jewelry

Knowledgeability in Import/Export Processes & Regulations is Key to Succeeding in the Trading Business

Transportation Documents: Bill of Lading, Airway Bill, certificate of inspection, carrier certificate and packing list

Shipping Terms: Containers, weights, intermodal, carriers, less than container loads

Government Documents: Certificate of Origin, Consular Invoice, license requirements

Customs Requirements: Valuation, classification using the Harmonized Tariff Schedule, marking, other agency requirements, Custom House Brokers

Insurance Requirements: Insured value, all risk, free of a particular average, claims

Payment Mechanisms: Payment options including advance payment, open account, consignment, documentary collection and letter of credit

Financing Options: Trade finance, short/medium/long term financing, government loan guarantee programs, private lenders, angel financiers

Distribution Channels: Agents, distributors, export management companies, direct and indirect channel, trading companies, wholesalers and retailers

Product Pricing: Landed cost, cost plus, skimming, predatory, incremental, discounts and allowances, price cuts and increases

Product Promotion: Types of advertising, sale promotion, events, public relations, direct marketing, personal selling, medium to use

Countertrading Options: Barter, counter-purchase, offset, switch trading, compensation or buybacks

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