Around 99% of all imports enter the country duty-free and are only subject to the 7% Value Added Tax (VAT). However, the country imposes high excise taxes on certain goods, such as wine, spirits, tobacco products, petroleum and motor vehicles.
Non-tariff barriers include import restrictions and fees, sanitary and phytosanitary regulations. The entry of some goods, especially food items may require having a licence, permit or prior notification to the Singapore side. Products that must comply to import requirements are vegetables and fruits, live animals, meat and meat products, but also chemicals, fuels, weapons, diamonds, medicine and petroleum products. Full list of controlled goods is available on the Singapore’s Customs website.
There are certain products that are prohibited from exporting to Singapore: pistol-shaped cigarette lighters, rhinoceros horn (worked, unworked or prepared and the any part), chewing gum, fireworks and some telecommunication equipment, such as scanning receivers, military communication equipment, telephone voice changing equipment and radio-communication jamming devices.
Singapore’s market is transparent and easily understandable for foreign investors. Administrative activities towards foreign entrepreneurs are in most cases conducted efficiently. Well-developed state of infrastructure facilitates the distribution of foreign items throughout the country. The English language is known among country’s citizens which makes the process of registering a company significantly easier to foreigners.