Singapore - Export Britain

Export Britain


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Ease of trading across borders

Importing a standard container of goods into Singapore requires:



Singapore is the world’s fourthleading financial centre. The country has a highly developed market-based economy, which depends heavily on exports and refining imported goods. The Singaporean economy is known as being innovative, competitive and business-friendly. Singapore is the 14th largest exporter and the 15th largest importer in the world. The country is currently the only Asian country to have AAA credit ratings from all three major credit rating agencies.

Economic snapshot (% annual growth rate)

GDP 2.9 2.1 2.9
Export of goods and services 2.1 2.9 4.4
Import of goods and services 1.4 2.0 5.3
Inflation 1.0 4.6 1.6
Exchange rate (per £) 1.3 1.4 1.4
Population 1.4 1.3 1.3
Source: Oxford Economics

Economic outlook

As China continues to rebalance the economy away from a reliance on credit, growth in countries – such as Thailand – that have come to rely heavily on trade with China will be affected. After the rebound in 2012, economic growth is expected to moderate to about 5% this year and next, the pace seen in the 3 years leading up to the global financial crisis.

Trade outlook

Singapore’s bilateral trade partners will continue to be dominated by emerging Asia, with exports to India, Vietnam and China growing. Malaysia and Indonesia will also become increasingly important trading partners. Exports to some Middle East and North Africa countries will also pick up in the years ahead, especially to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE. Imports will also be increasingly driven by Asian countries, with Vietnam, India, China and Bangladesh.

Cultural tips

Essential Customs tips

Singapore applies a Goods and Services Tax (GST) to all shipments where CIF (Cost of goods, insurance & freight) is above SGD400. The current GST rate is 7% of the commercial invoice value. Import Duty is also applicable for the following commodities: intoxicating liquors; tobacco products; motor vehicles and petroleum products.

If sending to a business address, the company registration number must be provided to Customs. It is also a requirement to state the terms of trade (Incoterm) on the commercial invoice. Cosmetics shipped to Singapore are subject to approval from HSA and a product licence must be provided by the consignee. The invoice must state the name of medicine, brand name, reason for import, product composition, quantity per bottle and weight of each item.

SWOT analysis

Strong consumption ability
Good business environment
Lack of Natural Resources
Limited Land to Build
Biotechnology Hub Investments
Incomplete supply-chains

Singapore's trade with the UK

Sector segmentation growth

Sectors to watch:
  • electronic components & boards, 
  • pharmaceuticals 
  • computers & office equipment


  • machine tools, 
  • agricultural machinery 
  • other special purpose machinery.

Fastest-growing exporters into Singapore

1 Mexico
2 India
3 Bangladesh
4 Korea
5 Indonesia
6 France
8 Egypt
9 China
10 Poland

Total merchandise trade - Leading import partners

Total merchandise trade - leading import partners
Opportunities for UK businesses

Singapore offers opportunities in the following sectors: ICT, creative, fintech, tourism, biomedical, food and drinks, retail, financial services and business services as well as major projects including: drainage improvement projects; construction of public hospitals and new rail lines.

Find support in this market.

Your local Chamber provides a range of export services and links to overseas markets.
Find your local Chamber here.

View the Cathay Pacific partner page View the Control Risks partner page View the DHL Express partner page View the Experian partner page View the UK Export Finance partner page