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Trade Profile

In this page: Foreign Trade in Figures | Trade Compliance | Standards

 

Foreign Trade in Figures

As a real warehouse and crossroads of trade, Singapore is highly dependent on international trade, which represents 326% of the GDP (WTO, 2015 average). The country ranks amongst the fifteen top importers and exporters of the world. The strategy adopted by the country is to promote exports, while being careful to minimise barriers to imports. Singapore has signed the Asian Free Trade Area agreements (AFTA in the ASEAN context), European Union Free Trade Agreement-Singapore free trade agreement (EUSFTA), Trans - Pacific Partnership (TPP) and several bilateral agreements.

Singapore imports machinery and equipment, mineral fuels, chemical products, food commodities and consumption goods from China, Malaysia, the U.S., South Korea, Japan, Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates. Singapore exports machinery and equipment (electronics), mineral fuels, consumption goods and pharmaceutical products to China, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, the U.S., Japan and South Korea.

The trade balance of Singapore is structurally very positive, a trend that is expected to continue in the upcoming years. In 2016, the country reached a record surplus of USD 78.1 billion, due to the reduction of its energy expenditure as a consequence of the drop in oil prices.

The Government of Singapore supported the creation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multilateral free-trade agreement negotiated between the Asia-Pacific and North American countries. The treaty was signed in October 2015 by Singapore and eleven other nations, including the U.S., Japan, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico and Malaysia. The agreement has been in jeopardy since the withdrawal of the U.S. announced by President Donald Trump in January 2017.

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20112012201320142015
Imports of Goods (million USD) 365,770379,723373,016366,247296,745
Exports of Goods (million USD) 409,503408,393410,250409,787350,506
Imports of Services (million USD) 118,006129,548146,260155,248143,268
Exports of Services (million USD) 118,649127,475139,955150,449139,335
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 4.03.04.53.92.1
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 5.61.84.84.32.5
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 173.8171.7169.2167.7149.6
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 200.9195.4192.4192.1176.5
Trade Balance (million USD) 73,36771,23175,02481,71282,848
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 374.7367.1361.6359.8326.1

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) - 2016; World Bank - 2016

 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2015
China 13.8%
Hong Kong 11.4%
Malaysia 10.9%
Indonesia 8.2%
United States 6.7%
Japan 4.4%
South Korea 4.2%
Thailand 4.0%
Vietnam 3.5%
Australia 3.3%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2015
China 14.2%
United States 11.2%
Malaysia 11.1%
Japan 6.3%
South Korea 6.1%
Indonesia 4.8%
Germany 3.0%
United Arab Emirates 2.8%
Saudi Arabia 2.7%
Thailand 2.6%

Source: Comtrade, 2015

 

Main Products

346.6 bn USD of products exported in 2015
Electronic integrated circuits and microassemblies 21.9%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 12.1%
Automatic data processing machines and units thereof; magnetic or optical readers, machines for transcribing data onto data media in coded form and machines for processing such data, n.e.s. 3.2%
Diodes, transistors and similar semiconductor devices; photosensitive semiconductor devices, incl. photovoltaic cells whether or not assembled in modules or made-up into panels (excl. photovotaic generators); light emitting diodes; mounted piezo-electric crystals; parts thereof 2.4%
Transmission apparatus for radio-telephony, radio-telegraphy, radio-broadcasting or television, whether or not incorporating reception apparatus or sound recording or reproducing apparatus; television cameras; still image video cameras and other video camera recorders; digital cameras 2.0%
Parts of aircraft and spacecraft of heading 8801 or 8802, n.e.s. 1.7%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses incl. those in the form of transdermal administration or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 1.5%
Turbo-jets, turbo-propellers and other gas turbines 1.4%
Parts and accessories (other than covers, carrying cases and the like) suitable for use solely or principally with machines of heading 8469 to 8472, n.e.s. 1.4%
Printing machinery used for printing by means of the printing type, blocks, plates, cylinders and other printing components of heading 8442 and ink-jet printing machines (excl. hectograph or stencil duplicating machines, addressing machines and other office printing machines of heading 8469 to 8472); machines for uses ancillary to printing, for the feeding, carriage or further processing of sheets or webs of paper; parts thereof 1.4%
296.7 bn USD of products imported in 2015
Electronic integrated circuits and microassemblies 17.9%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 14.3%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 6.1%
Automatic data processing machines and units thereof; magnetic or optical readers, machines for transcribing data onto data media in coded form and machines for processing such data, n.e.s. 2.4%
Turbo-jets, turbo-propellers and other gas turbines 2.1%
Transmission apparatus for radio-telephony, radio-telegraphy, radio-broadcasting or television, whether or not incorporating reception apparatus or sound recording or reproducing apparatus; television cameras; still image video cameras and other video camera recorders; digital cameras 2.0%
Diodes, transistors and similar semiconductor devices; photosensitive semiconductor devices, incl. photovoltaic cells whether or not assembled in modules or made-up into panels (excl. photovotaic generators); light emitting diodes; mounted piezo-electric crystals; parts thereof 1.7%
Parts and accessories (other than covers, carrying cases and the like) suitable for use solely or principally with machines of heading 8469 to 8472, n.e.s. 1.6%
Parts of aircraft and spacecraft of heading 8801 or 8802, n.e.s. 1.6%
Parts suitable for use solely or principally with the machinery of heading 8425 to 8430, n.e.s. 1.3%

Source: Comtrade, 2015

 
 
 

Main Services

128.4 bn USD of services exported in 2015
Transportation
36.93%
Other business services
26.43%
Financial services
15.84%
Travel
13.09%
Insurance services
3.60%
Royalties and license fees
2.58%
Construction services
0.90%
Cultural and recreational services
0.42%
Government services
0.22%
135.4 bn USD of services imported in 2015
Transportation
32.70%
Other business services
30.65%
Travel
16.35%
Royalties and license fees
12.81%
Insurance services
3.33%
Financial services
3.31%
Construction services
0.35%
Cultural and recreational services
0.35%
Government services
0.15%

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Last Available Data

 

Exchange Rate System

Local Currency
Singapore Dollar (SGD)
Exchange Rate Regime
Managed floating with no pre-determined path for the exchange rate. 
Level of Currency Instability
Low
 
 
Monetary Indicators 20112012201320142015
Singapore Dollar (SGD) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD 1.261.251.251.271.37

Source: World Bank - 2016.

 
 

Trade Compliance

International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
Party to the Kyoto Protocol
Party to the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer
Main International Economic Cooperation
Singapore does not belong to any Customs Union. It is a member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Organisation (APEC).

It is a member of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), AFTA and the ASEAN - China Free Trade Area.

It is a member of the ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting)

It is a member of the SEAT (Six East Asian Traders)

Singapore is a signatory to multilateral and bilateral agreements with many countries. Visit: IESinggapore.

Party of the ATA Convention on Temporary Admissions and Use of the Carnets
Yes

As a Reminder, the ATA is a System Allowing the Free Movement of Goods Across Frontiers and Their Temporary Admission Into a Customs Territory With Relief From Duties and Taxes. The Goods Are Covered By a Single Document Known as the ATA Carnet That is Secured By an International Guarantee System.
Look Up the Other Member Countries And Read the Web Pages of the World Customs Organization Devoted to the ATA Carnet.
Party of the TIR Convention
No

As a Reminder, the TIR Convention and its Transit Regime Contribute to the Facilitation of International Transport, Especially International Road Transport, Not Only in Europe and the Middle East, But Also in Other Parts of the World, Such as Africa and Latin America.
The UNCTAD Website Allows You to Read the TIR Convention, See the List of Member Countries And to Find Further Information.
Accompanying Documents For Imports
The following documents need to be presented at the Singapore customs: Bill of Lading/Airway Bill, Certificate of Origin, Commercial Invoice and Customs Valuation.
Free Zones
Singapore has five free trade zones, out of which, four are for seaborne cargo and one for airfreight.
For Further Information
Singapore Customs , Ministry of Finance
Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI)
Non Tariff Barriers
Import procedures in Singapore are very liberal. Most goods can enter the territory without any restriction. Only a few products, such as chewing gum and weapons, are banned. There is a licence system required for about 6% of the total amount of imports, which concerns fresh fruits and vegetables, plants, meat, animals, medicines, broadcasting products (automatic licences) and also some sensitive products likely to represent a risk to health or the State (non automatic licences). These licences are generally issued by International Enterprise Singapore. Some other institutions may be involved such as the Ministry of Health.
Sectors or Products For Which Commercial Disagreements Have Been Registered With the WTO
Polyethylene and polypropylene, shrimp and shrimp products, and certain computer equipment.

For more details, visit: WTO.

Assessment of Commercial Policy
Country's commercial policy, as seen by the WTO
Barriers to exchanges, inventoried by the United States
Barriers to exchanges, inventoried by the EU
Sanitary and phytosanitary barriers, inventoried by the EU

Learn more about How to Export to Singapore on Globaltrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

 

Standards

National Standards Organisations
Singapore Standards, Productivity and Innovation Board (SPRING SG)
Integration in the International Standards Network
SPRING represents Singapore in regional and international standards activities. Singapore is a member of :
International Standards Organisation (ISO)
International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)
Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation
(APEC) Sub-Committee on Standards & Conformance (SCSC)
ASEAN Consultative Committee for Standards & Quality
(ACCSQ)
Pacific Area Standards Congress
(PASC)
International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
Obligation to Use Standards
Compliance to Singapore Standards is voluntary in Singapore.

However, obliging to these standards becomes mandatory when used by government bodies in regulations or administrative requirements for safety, environmental and health issues.

Classification of Standards
Visit: The SPRING Singapore: Standardisation Division, operated by SPRING Singapore.
Assessment of the System of Standardization
SPRING Singapore manages the Singapore Accreditation Council (SAC). SAC's primary function is to accredit conformity assessment bodies based on international standards. SAC mark is highly appreciated in Singapore and could lead to better business opportunities.

For more details, visit: Sac Accreditation.

Online Consultation of Standards
Refer to "e-services" provided by SPRING Singapore.
Certification Organisations
Singapore Accreditation Council (SAC)
Associations of Standards Users
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA)
The Singapore Standardization Program

 

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Last Updates: June 2017