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Singapore derives the majority of its revenue from foreign trade, and it's no wonder why the little island has become Australia’s largest trade and investment partner in South-East Asia in recent years. With highly lucrative trades such as Australian chocolate and wines driving Singapore export markets, Australian businesses can better leverage on these global trade opportunities to expand internationally.
However, before you start sourcing for a global express delivery provider to ship your products, you must first know what requirements you need to meet when shipping internationally.
If you are an Australian business looking to tap into the Singapore market to reach your customers beyond domestic borders and wondering what Australian businesses usually export to Singapore, this article is for you. The list is long, but below are the 10 main export products of Australia from the year 2021:
Mineral fuels, oils and distillation products
Pearls, precious stones, metals and coins
Animal, vegetable fats and oils, and cleavage products
Meat and edible meat offal
Machinery, nuclear reactors and boilers
Electrical and electronic equipment
Dairy products, eggs, honey and edible products
Beverages, spirits and vinegar
Aircraft and spacecraft
Optical, photo, technical and medical apparatus
Before you start shipping from Australia to Singapore, there are several steps to complete such as clearing customs in both countries, obtaining import permits, preparing essential documents and paying duties and taxes. To help you out, here are some useful pointers to get you started on the export process.
When it comes to international shipping, businesses must comply with international trade laws. These laws govern everything, including what products can be sold where, how goods must be labelled, and what packaging materials are acceptable. Companies must also adhere to local regulations regarding product safety, environmental protection and labour conditions, among other things.
Singapore has strict laws against importing or exporting drugs, firearms, ammunition, tobacco, alcohol and certain other items. Importing these things into the country carries heavy penalties, so checking if you need any licences or permits for the items that you want to ship is extremely crucial.
Due to Singapore being a well-regulated country, some items that you don’t expect to be banned as they seem harmless may be restricted due to health or environmental risks. For instance, the ban on importing chewing gum into Singapore was implemented to eradicate the problem of littering in public places, as it can be hard to remove and clean. However, an exception was made in 2004 for therapeutic, dental and nicotine chewing gum. Therefore, before you import such controlled goods into Singapore, it is recommended that you seek proper authorisation from Competent Authorities (CA) on the necessary licensing requirements.
To make things easier for you, we have compiled a list of the prohibited and restricted goods that you cannot bring into Singapore, according to Singapore Customs:
Chewing gum (except medicated and dental gum)
Chewing tobacco and imitation tobacco products
Cigarette lighters in the shape of dangerous weapons such as guns
Controlled drugs and psychotropic substances
Obscene articles, publications, videotapes, videodiscs and software
Reproductions of copyright publications, videotapes, videodiscs, laser discs, records and cassettes
Seditious and treasonable materials
Endangered species of wildlife and products derived from the body of such animals
Telecommunication equipment such as scanning receivers
Animals, birds and their by-products
Endangered species or wildlife and their by-products
Meat and meat products
Fish and seafood products
Fruits and vegetables
Arms and explosives
Toy guns, pistols and revolvers
Weapons, spears and swords
Films, video and video games
Publications and audio records
Pharmaceuticals and medicines
Telecommunication and radio communication equipment
Australian companies can benefit from the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) and enjoy free tax savings on all exports. Apart from the termination of import tariffs, the agreement also sees other key benefits. These include the increased facilitation of paperless trading to reduce business transaction costs, and the easing of residency requirements for the short-term entry of Australian business owners into Singapore.
While Australian products are able to enter Singapore duty-free, the only standing government taxes and charges that are still payable on Australian goods imported into Singapore are excise duties, and Goods and Services Tax (GST). Excise duties are charged on four categories of products: alcohol, tobacco, petroleum products as well as motor vehicles, and Singapore levies a flat 5% GST on most goods and services. Under Singapore’s laws, arriving travellers are required to declare and pay the duty and GST to bring in dutiable and taxable goods exceeding their duty-free concession and GST relief at the Customs Examination Area. As the conditions of the SAFTA can change at any given time, it is important to stay updated on the must-knows surrounding Singapore import tax.
When you ship anything overseas, there are essential shipping documents that you need to prepare ahead of time in order to ensure that your shipments get to their final destination safely. Singapore has always taken tough measures against counterfeit items entering its borders. Hence, there is an increased need for Australian exporters to ensure that their shipment documents are compliant with Singapore regulations.
These include transit permits, customs invoices, export declarations and certificates. They also consist of numerous forms that need to be filled and stamped by the importer. Even though some of these documents are optional, it is better to have them ready and organised beforehand. If you don’t have those documents, you will likely face delays at the border and additional charges for handling fees and processing time. This could delay receiving payments to your company or even result in penalties.
While the exact documents you need to provide varies depending on where you’re shipping your goods to, the products you’re exporting as well as export controls, the common documents are usually as follows:
Certificate of origin
If you’re planning on expanding your business into Singapore, choosing the right logistics partner is imperative for ensuring your shipments reach their destination in the most optimal conditions. DHL Express is an international delivery provider that offers door-to-door delivery services across 200 countries worldwide. With our high-quality express shipping options, you can ship from Australia to Singapore effortlessly and with confidence. Partner with us today to get started.
Any regulatory information contained herein is for informational purposes only and DHL assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of the information. DHL does not provide specific regulatory or legal advice to the public and you are encouraged to seek your own legal or compliance counsel.