Starting an Import and Export Business in Singapore

Starting an Import and Export Business in Singapore

Singapore is a dominant country in Asia when it comes to business, and the import and export segment of Singapore’s industry is no different. With the well-defined procedures in place, strategic location and world-class infrastructure in place, starting an import and export business in Singapore is a sound investment for investors who are looking to venture into this segment of the market.


How to Start an Import and Export Business in Singapore

Starting a business in Singapore is going to require that you familiarize yourself with several different aspects, including the incorporation procedure, how to open a customs account, what licenses and permits you will need to apply for, the taxes involved, the trade financing options, what procedures are involved for cargo clearance and the type of goods which can be imported or exported in and out of the country.

The following is the list of key points you need to know about starting an import and export business in Singapore:

  • Get Your Company Incorporated by registering with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) Singapore.
  • Get Your Company Registered with Singapore Customs, which is a requirement for all importers and exporters. Your Singapore customs account must be activated before business activities can commence. The account should be activated within 1-2 working days upon submission of the request.
  • Know the Licenses and Permits You Need to Apply For and make the necessary arrangements to get those done. Local freight forwarders can be engaged to arrange for licenses and permits, cargo clearance procedures, goods storage, taxes, fees and more for the export and import of your items.
  • Know the Taxes and Fees which will be imposed upon your import and export business in Singapore. Customs and excise duties, Singapore customs fees and goods and services tax are among the applicable charges for those who intend to operate an import and export business in Singapore.
  • Trade Financing options are available for businesses who need it, and this includes loans, insurance and letters of credit to help cover any potential risks which may be involved in this business. However, do note that your business will need to have a minimum of 1-2 years of good business track record before you can be eligible for trade financing in Singapore. Most banks in Singapore will offer financing options which include term loans, transaction loans, overdrafts, revolving line of credit, inventory financing and even factoring loans. You would need to check with your local bank which option your business would be eligible for.
  • You May Store Your Goods at Singapore’s Free Trade Zones and licensed and zero-GST warehouses. Free Trade Zones are the designated areas in Singapore’s sea and air ports where GST will be temporarily be placed on hold for imported goods. Licensed warehouses are another option, and your GST and duties will be suspended until the goods have been removed from the premises and brought to the local market for consumption.
  • All Clearance of Goods will be done by Singapore’s Immigration and Checkpoint Authority (ICA).
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If you are interested to start an import and export business in Singapore, read more from local corporate service provider in Singapore who can assist you along the way.