How to ship from Hong Kong to Singapore

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Shipping from Hong Kong to Singapore can be a seamless process when you have the right logistics partner by your side. Whether you're an e-commerce entrepreneur or a business owner looking to expand your reach, understanding the ins and outs of how to ship from Hong Kong to Singapore is essential. 

Our goal is to ensure a smooth, express delivery process to Singapore, one of Hong Kong’s most significant trading partners. In this guide, we'll provide you with valuable tips, insights, and technical details necessary to streamline your shipping. With the right information and support, international shipping becomes less a challenge and more a strategic step towards business growth.

Customs duties and taxes in Singapore

When shipping goods from Hong Kong to Singapore, it's essential to be aware of the import duties, taxes, and fees that may apply. This will help determine how much it costs to ship to Singapore and ensure your business can remain cost-efficient.

There are three types of duties and taxes for imported shipments: excise tax, customs duties, and goods and services tax (GST). However, only GST is universally applied to all imported goods in the country, regardless of their value.

Goods and Services Tax (GST) 

Singapore imposes Goods and Services Tax (GST) on almost all goods imported into the country. The current GST rate in Singapore (as of March 2024) is 9% and is calculated based on your shipment’s latest selling price or inclusive of customs duties if your shipment falls under the dutiable goods category, as below. Businesses planning to sell their goods to consumers in Singapore are required to charge GST on all products valued at S$400 and below if they meet the prescribed conditions for mandatory GST registration.

Certain goods exempted from GST in Singapore include:

  • Investment precious metals
  • Items that do not enter Singapore customs or are in a free trade zone
  • Goods that belong to an importer of record who has been approved for a GST scheme in Singapore

Excise Tax

Singapore imposes Excise Tax on four main categories:  intoxicating liquor, tobacco products, motor vehicles, and petroleum products. Goods falling into these categories are subject to customs duties that vary from item to item.

Custom duties

Customs duties, collected by Singapore Customs, are specifically imposed on selected alcoholic beverages including stout, porter, ale, and samsu.

The customs duty rates in Singapore fluctuate between SGD 8 and SGD 16 per litre, depending on the alcohol type.

It's important to accurately declare the value and description of your goods to avoid delays and penalties at customs.

Prohibited items for import into Singapore

Singapore enforces stringent import regulations, particularly on narcotics, weapons, and counterfeit items.

Prohibited imports include chewing gum (unless medically approved), firecrackers, rhinoceros horn, endangered species and related products, and certain telecommunication equipment, detailed on the Infocomm Media Development Authority website.

Restricted items requiring authorization for import include various animal products, protective clothing like bullet-proof vests, specific types of batteries and chemicals, rough diamonds, multimedia discs, fishery products, certain food and plant items, and porcelain or china tableware.

We strive to provide an efficient and straightforward shipping experience and recommend that shippers review the full list of prohibited and controlled items for import into Singapore to avoid legal issues and customs delays. Ensure that your shipments comply with Singapore’s import regulations at every step of the process to avoid any complications.

Documents required for Singapore customs clearance

All exporters looking to ship goods from Hong Kong to Singapore will have to enrol in Overseas Vendor Registration. You are also required to register for a Unique Entity Number (UEN) that they will use when dealing with Singapore customs. This UEN will allow third-party logistics agents or freight forwarders, such as DHL Express, to obtain the necessary customs permits for you to complete the import formalities into Singapore.

Documents that may be required when shipping from Hong Kong to Singapore include:

  • Customs permit
  • Shipping/commercial invoice
  • Packing list
  • Bill of lading or air waybill
  • Import permits or licences (if applicable)
  • Certificate of origin (if claiming preferential tariffs under trade agreements)
  • Consignment note

Ensuring that you have the necessary export documentation will help expedite the Singapore customs clearance process and prevent delays in delivery. All details should be filled in accurately on the relevant documents, and the necessary permits or regulations should be followed and met ahead of time to avoid delays. Expert customs clearance services, such as those provided by DHL Express, can help businesses expedite the process and ensure compliance with all regulatory requirements.

Preferential tariffs under the ASEAN-Hong Kong, China Free Trade Agreement

The ASEAN-Hong Kong, China Free Trade Agreement (AHKFTA) provides preferential tariff treatment for eligible shipments from Hong Kong to Singapore. Under the AHKFTA, qualifying goods exported from Hong Kong to Singapore may benefit from reduced or zero tariffs, making it more cost-effective for businesses to trade between the two regions. Here are the main aspects of the agreement:

  • Covers four key areas: tariff reduction for traded goods, easing of trade restrictions in services, extended business stays and enhanced investment protection.
  • Most ASEAN states will either eliminate or reduce customs duties on goods from Hong Kong. For goods originating from Hong Kong, Singapore will reduce customs duties to zero.
  • With the FTA, business travellers can enjoy extended stays. Hong Kong business visitors are allowed to stay for up to 90 days in ASEAN countries.

 By leveraging the AHKFTA, businesses can take advantage of lower import costs and expand their market reach in Singapore.

Simplify the international shipping process from HK to SG with DHL Express

Sending parcels and shipments from Hong Kong to Singapore is made easy with DHL Express Hong Kong. To ease the international shipping and logistics process further, DHL Express offers partner businesses a range of innovative solutions, including:

  • MyDHL+: An online shipping portal providing convenient access to shipping tools and resources, allowing businesses and their customers to manage, view, and track shipments with ease.
  • MyGTS (Global Trade Services): MyGTS is a tool designed to simplify the complexities of international shipping and customs processes. It provides users with services related to trade compliance, documentation, and customs clearance, making it easier for businesses to navigate the global trade environment.
  • ProView: ProView is a tracking and notification service specifically tailored for DHL Express account holders. It allows users to track shipments in real-time, receive notifications about shipment status, and manage their deliveries more efficiently. It's particularly useful for businesses that need to keep a close eye on their logistics.

By following these tips and leveraging DHL Express’s innovative shipping and courier solutions, businesses can enjoy seamless and reliable delivery of shipments and parcels anywhere in the world. As part of DHL's commitment to sustainability, the GoGreen Plus service also offers an option for customers to help offset the carbon emissions generated by their shipments. Whether you're importing goods into Hong Kong or exporting them out of the country, trust DHL Express to deliver each shipment safely and on time. 

Create a business account today and expand your business horizons with DHL Express. You may also peruse our other shipping guides to learn how to ship parcels from Hong Kong to the UK and how to ship parcels from Hong Kong to the USA.