A General Guide for Singapore Exporters

The Customs Act deals with regulations concerning exports from Singapore. Other important legislations that impact export activities from Singapore are the Strategic Goods (Control) Act and various other Acts enforced by respective CAs (Competent Authorities).

All goods exported from Singapore are free of any GST (Goods and Service Tax) and have no duty applied to them.

The procedure for exporting products from Singapore

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to acquire the appropriate permits and authorizations from the Custom Authorities and other CAs. Procedures can differ based on several factors, such as if your products are being exported from a licensed or non-GST warehouse, from Customs territory, from exit checkpoints, or  under the Major Exporter Scheme.

Step One: Apply for the UEN (Unique Entity Number), and then Activate your Customs Account

This enables an individual or an organization to:

  • be involved in the export and import business in Singapore
  • apply for CA licenses

You have two options; you can either register through the appropriate agency which issues Unique Entity Number (UEN), or apply through the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) .

Step Two: Check if you’re exporting controlled goods.

It is important to check if your goods have restrictions imposed upon them by Singapore’s Competent Authorities.

Firstly, you’ll have to look-up if your products are subject to a restriction with the appropriate Competent Authorities on how to obtain the relevant permit. You can do this through the use of the CA product code, the Harmonized System (HS) code, or even through the item description itself.

You can also appeal for an official classification ruling if you need help with the products’ eight-figure Singapore HS code. Keep in mind; this application has a small processing fee, and the classification rulings only apply inside Singapore’s jurisdiction.

Step Three: Apply for the Custom’s Export Permit.

The entity can either:

  • Delegate the application procedure to some declaring agent, and he/she will take care of the process, or
  • Just apply for the permit themselves, either on their behalf, or their clients’, for this they are required to file as a declaring agent and submit an application for TradeNet’s User-ID.

Every Single application for acquiring a permit are entertained electronically through TradeNet, which can be accessed through:

  • a licensed solution provider of the TradeNet’s front-to-end solution, or
  • government Front-to-End Application.

There are small standard application fees for permits that need to be paid. In case you’ve already appointed some declaring agent, we advise on checking for the charges with them.

Step Four: Make sure you’ve got complete documentation for the clearance of cargo.

Permits that got approved for cargo clearance have an expiration date, so it is important for a trader to always check the validity period of an approved permit.

Documents needed for a Cargo Carrying Container

If you are shipping cargo through a container, and the freight is either restricted by Customs or some other CA, you may have to provide checkpoint officers with the export permit issued by Customs and the cargo’s supporting documents like transportation receipts, packing lists, or invoices as specified by the terms of the granted permit. Ensure that you are in possession of the permit number in order to verify export where you’re lodging the products.

Permit conditions may depict special requirements such as:

  1. For the purpose of Customs clearance and endorsement through the ‘Out’ gate of a FTZ (Free Trade Zone), the presentation of the permit is mandatory alongside its invoices, BL/AWB, etc. However, it isn’t necessary if the goods are going to pass through the “Green lane”.
  2. For clearance or endorsement at the Tuas or the Woodland checkpoint, the presentation of the permit is mandatory alongside its invoices, BL/AWB, etc.
  3. For clearance or endorsement at a selected customs office, a station, and the Custom checkpoint of an Airport, the presentation of the permit is mandatory alongside its invoices, BL/AWB, etc.

A Customs export permit is required for almost all types of exports including:

  • Export products from the licensed warehouses that have an applicable duty.
  • Export products from bonded warehouses.
  • Export products which fall under the Scheme of Temporary Export.
  • Re-export of products that were an import through the Scheme of Temporary Export

Keep in mind that Singapore does not allow partial clearance if the products are awaiting exportation at the Tuas, or the Woodland Checkpoint. Every single vehicle or container of cargo must be declared on the permit.

Step Five: Preservation of your Trade Documents is compulsory.

Under usual circumstances, you need to preserve regarding the sale, purchase, import, or export up until five years of the time of endorsement of the Permit from Customs.

Two of the common ways to store these documents are; as hard copies, or as a softcopy or an image. You’re obligated to exhibit these documents to the Custom Authority of Singapore when requested.

Do you have questions relating to import/export procedures?
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