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A video to explain the different types of business entities available when registering a business.
The following business structures are available for registration:
  • Sole Proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • Company
  • Limited Liability Partnership
  • Limited Partnership

Who can Register?

  • Individuals and companies may set up and own a sole-proprietorship or partnership.
  • A sole-proprietorship or partnership, not being a separate legal entity, cannot register another sole-proprietorship or partnership.
  • A foreign company also cannot register a sole-proprietorship or partnership unless it has registered itself under the Companies Act, Cap. 50.

Sole Proprietorship

A sole-proprietorship is a business owned by one person or one company. There are no partners. The sole-proprietor has absolute say in the running of the business.

Please contact us for help on entering the Singapore market today

Income tax in Singapore involves both individual income tax[1] and corporate income tax. Income earned both inside and outside the country for individuals and corporate entities is taxed.

Individual income tax

Individual income tax in Singapore is payable on an annual basis, it is currently based on the progressive tax system (for local residents and tax residents), with taxes ranging from 0% to 22% since Year of Assessment 2017. The Year of Assessment (YA) is based on the calendar year commencing 1 January to 31 December, and is payable on a preceding year basis, whereby taxes payable per year of assessment is based on income earned in the preceding calendar year.

Taxation is based on the source principle, in which only income earned at source, in this case in Singapore, or those derived from overseas but received in Singapore, are taxable. Any income arising from sources outside Singapore and received in Singapore on or after 1 January 2004 by an individual (other than partners of a partnership) is exempt from tax. This system has the potential to allow for tax avoidance practiced by individuals who derive income from abroad, gain tax exemptions via their non-resident status there, and use this income outside Singapore. Expatriates and foreign workers in Singapore are also liable for paying income tax.

Many of our Singapore clients ask about the tax treatment of their overseas investments.  The good news is that investment income of SG tax residents isn't usually taxed by IRAS.

In Singapore, taxes are imposed on income earned or accrued in Singapore, as well as foreign-sourced income remitted into Singapore.  The foreign-sourced income tax exemption regime means that foreign branch profits, service income and dividends are exempt from tax upon remittance into Singapore, if conditions are met. All other sources of foreign income continue to be subject to the foreign tax credit system.

A Singapore tax resident company can enjoy tax exemption on its specified foreign income that is remitted into Singapore.  Again, the three categories of specified foreign income are:
  1. Foreign-sourced dividend
  2. Foreign branch profits
  3. Foreign-sourced service income

Under Section 13(9) of the Income Tax Act, tax exemption will be granted when all of the following three conditions are met :
  1. The highest corporate tax rate (headline tax rate) of the foreign jurisdiction from which the income is received is at least 15% at the time the foreign income is received in Singapore;
  2. The foreign income had been subjected to tax in the foreign jurisdiction from which they were received (known as the subject to tax condition). The rate at which the foreign income was taxed can be different from the headline tax rate; and
  3. The Comptroller is satisfied that the tax exemption would be beneficial to the person resident in Singapore.

To enjoy the tax exemption, you have to provide the following information in your Income Tax Return (Form C/ P):
  1. Nature and amount of income received;
  2. Jurisdiction from which the income is received;
  3. Headline tax rate of the foreign jurisdiction; and
  4. Confirmation that foreign tax has been paid in the jurisdiction from which the income was received. This is to satisfy the "subject to tax" condition.

For the purpose of this “subject to tax” condition, tax paid or payable on foreign-sourced dividend received in Singapore includes:
  1. the dividend tax, which is income tax levied on the dividend by the foreign country of source; and
  2. the underlying tax, which is income tax paid or payable by the dividend paying company on the income out of which the dividend is paid.
The Comptroller will regard the "subject to tax" condition as being met if the income is exempt from tax in the foreign jurisdiction due to tax incentive(s) granted for substantive business activities carried out in that jurisdiction. The following documents must be prepared and retained*:
  1. A declaration by the company that the foreign jurisdiction has exempted the foreign income from tax because of substantive business activities carried out by the company in that jurisdiction; and
  2. A copy of the tax incentive certificate/ approval letter issued by the foreign jurisdiction. In the case of a foreign-sourced dividend, a dividend voucher (if available) stating that the dividend is exempt from tax due to tax incentive granted to the payer company for carrying out substantive business activities in that foreign jurisdiction will be sufficient.
You can provide the following documents to substantiate that the underlying tax has been paid on the income out of which the foreign-sourced dividend is paid: a) Audited accounts of the foreign payer company
  • Currently, to demonstrate that their foreign-sourced dividend has suffered underlying tax, taxpayers can provide the audited accounts of the foreign payer company for the financial period ending in the year prior to the year the dividend is received in Singapore whereby the accounts show a positive current year tax(excluding deferred tax expense).
  • From 20 July 2016, as a concession, IRAS is prepared to accept the consolidated accounts of the foreign payer company and its group companies as proof that the “subject to tax” condition has been met, provided that the foreign payer company is:
    • - a company listed on a stock exchange; and
    • - an operating company carrying out substantive business activities (investment-holding is excluded). This must be supported by evidence such as description in the consolidated accounts or any official publication showing the principal activities of the foreign payer company to be such (as opposed to the Group).

  • Under this concession, the consolidated accounts of the foreign payer company and its group companies for the financial period ending in the year prior to the year the dividend is received in Singapore must show a positive current year tax (excluding deferred expense).  For example, if the dividend is received in Singapore on 30 June 2014, the consolidated accounts of the foreign payer and its group companies for the financial year ending in 2013 must show a positive current year tax.

b) Alternative documents accepted
  • IRAS will also accept the following documents showing that the income of the foreign payer company has been subject to tax (or that it is enjoying tax incentive on its substantive business activities):
    • - a certification from the bank through which the taxpayer invested into the foreign payer company; or
    • - a confirmation letter from the foreign payer company that foreign tax has been paid on the income out of which dividends are paid.
  • If you are unable to secure any proof that tax has been paid on the income of the foreign payer company, the “subject to tax” condition will not be considered as met. 
  • IRAS may review and modify the use of the alternative documents should there be any cases of abuse. 

* The relevant information/ documents must be retained for a period of at least five years from the relevant YA. These information/ documents should be submitted to the Comptroller of Income Tax upon request. For more information on record keeping, please refer to Business Records That Companies Must Keep.

Get a quick overview of the Employment Pass to decide if it is the right pass for you.

Pass facts

Find out key facts about the pass:
Who it is for Foreign professionals with a job offer in Singapore who meet the eligibility criteria.
Who can apply An employer or appointed employment agent needs to apply on behalf of the candidate.
Minimum salary Fixed monthly salary of at least $3,600 (more experienced candidates need higher salaries).
What is the duration

The duration of the pass is as follows:

  • First-time candidates: up to 2 years
  • Renewals: up to 3 years
Is it renewable Yes. Find out how to renew.
Passes for family Available for eligible pass holders.
Foreign worker levy or quota No foreign worker levy or quota required.
Medical insurance Employers can choose whether to provide medical insurance for EP holders.
Relevant legislation Conditions of Work Pass
Employment of Foreign Manpower Act
Related eServices and forms Access online services and forms for Employment Pass.

Eligibility for Employment Pass

Only eligible candidates will be considered for an Employment Pass. Criteria include a minimum salary of $3,600 and acceptable qualifications. Use the Self-Assessment Tool to check a candidate’s eligibility before you apply.

Eligibility for Employment Pass

Only eligible candidates will be considered for an Employment Pass. Criteria include a minimum salary of $3,600 and acceptable qualifications. Use the Self-Assessment Tool to check a candidate’s eligibility before you apply.

Who is eligible

The Employment Pass is for foreign professionals who:

  • Have a job offer in Singapore.
  • Work in a managerial, executive or specialised job.
  • Earn a fixed monthly salary of at least $3,600 (more experienced candidates need higher salaries).
  • Have acceptable qualifications, usually a good university degree, professional qualifications or specialist skills.
Application for an Employment Pass is open to all nationalities.

Use the Self-­Assessment Tool (SAT) to check if the candidate qualifies for the pass.

Note on salaries:
  • Young graduates from good institutions can qualify if they earn at least $3,600.
  • Older, more experienced candidates need higher salaries to qualify.
Note on acceptable qualifications:
  • We don't have a list of approved institutions. Instead, we evaluate each application on its own merit, based on a wide range of criteria such as global and country rankings, and enrolment standards.
  • Candidates without acceptable qualifications may not necessarily be rejected. Similarly, having acceptable qualifications does not guarantee approval.
  • We look at other factors such as proven track records and exceptional skill sets on a case-by-case basis.

Self­-Assessment Tool (SAT)

We encourage you to use the Self-Assessment Tool (SAT) to get an indication of whether a candidate meets the Employment Pass requirements. Candidates can also use the tool to assess their eligibility.

If the SAT shows that the candidate is not eligible, you shouldn't apply for the Employment Pass because it will be rejected.

If the SAT shows that the candidate is eligible, there is around a 90% chance that the candidate will get a pass.

Who can apply

As part of the Fair Consideration Framework, you may be required to advertise your job opening on the Jobs Bank before you can submit an Employment Pass application. The advertisement must be open to Singaporeans and run for at least 14 days. If you make major changes to your advertisement during this time, you must extend it for another 14 days.

Read the full requirements.

An employer or authorised third party has to apply for a candidate's Employment Pass.

If you are an overseas employer that does not have a registered office in Singapore:

  • You need to get a Singapore-registered company to act as a local sponsor and apply on your behalf.
  • The local sponsor must apply manually.
The candidate will still need to meet the Employment Pass criteria.



The United States recognized Singapore’s independence from Malaysia in 1965 and has had formal diplomatic relations with the country since 1966. The August 2016 State Visit by Prime Minister Lee HsienLoong to Washington, D.C highlighted 50 years of strong bilateral relations and acknowledged our shared interest in continued cooperation across economic, political, security, and people-to-people sectors.

The U.S-Singapore economic relationship is founded on our bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) – signed in 2003 and implemented beginning January 1, 2004. Despite Singapore’s small size and a population of only 5.5 million people, in 2016 Singapore ranked as the United States’ 19th largest trading partner and 13th largest export market. There are more than 30,000 Americans living in Singapore. Approximately 4,200 U.S companies operate in the country, many of which use Singapore as their regional headquarters. Many Singaporeans also visit and study in the United States. Each year, the U.S Government sponsors visitors under the International Visitor Program, provides Fulbright scholarships to enable selected American and Singaporean academics and students to teach or conduct research, and sponsors programs to introduce American policies, values, and culture to Singaporean audiences.

Our engagement with Singapore also includes collaboration on a regional and global scale. Singapore’s support for regional cooperation compliments U.S policy, forming a strong basis for strategic cooperation between the two countries. In 2012, the United States and Singapore held the first annual Strategic Partnership Dialogue, which introduced new mechanisms, including the Third Country Training Program (TCTP), a joint technical assistance program that draws on expertise to help ASEAN nations build capacity across sectors such as cyber, trade, labor, environment and intellectual property. Over the past five years, the U.S department of state and Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs have held 30 TCTP workshops that trained over 1000 ASEAN government officials.


The Export Control and Related Boarder Security (EXBS) Program has partnered with Singapore since 2003 to help develop Singapore’s capacity to regulate the trade and transfer of dual-use goods, equipment, and technologies that can be diverted to illicit weapons programs, and to help establish related boarder enforcement measures. EXBS assistance for Singapore in 2016 totaled US$250,000.00


The U.S-Singapore Free Trade Agreement entered into force January 1, 2004. Since then, bilateral goods trade has increased over 40%, reaching US$44.7 billion in 2016. The United States is Singapore’s largest foreign investor, with U.S investments reaching US$243.7 billion in 2015. Singapore is a Visa Waiver Program country, which allows its citizens to travel visa-free to the United States for certain business or tourism purposes for stays of 90 days or less.


Singapore and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization.


The Chargèd’Affaires, ad interim is Stephanie Syptak-Ramnath; other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department’s Key Officers List.

Singapore maintains an embassy in the United States at 3501 International Place NW, Washington, DC 20008 tel. +1 (202) 537-3100. More information about Singapore is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:

Department of State Singapore Country Page

Department of State Key officers List

CIA World Factbook Singapore Page

U.S. Embassy

U.S.Asia Pacific Comprehensive Energy Partnership

History of U.S. Relations With Singapore

Human Rights Reports

International Religious Freedom Reports

Trafficking in Person Reports

Narcotics Control Reports

Investment Climate Statements

Office of the U.S Trade Representative Countries Page

U.S. Census bureau Foreign Trade Statistics International Offices Page

Library of Congress Country Studies

Travel Information

Population5,888,926 (July 2017 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 12.82% (male 386,139/female 368,874)
15-24 years: 16.56% (male 479,683/female 495,649)
25-54 years: 50.53% (male 1,448,463/female 1,527,038)
55-64 years: 10.46% (male 308,477/female 307,557)
65 years and over: 9.63% (male 258,597/female 308,449) (2017 est.)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 37.3
youth dependency ratio: 21.3
elderly dependency ratio: 16
potential support ratio: 6.2 (2015 est.)
Median agetotal: 34.6 years
male: 34.5 years
female: 34.7 years (2017 est.)
Population growth rate1.82% (2017 est.)
Birth rate8.6 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
Death rate3.5 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
Net migration rate13.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
Urbanizationurban population: 100% of total population (2017)
rate of urbanization: 1.5% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Major cities - populationSINGAPORE (capital) 5.619 million (2015)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth30.5 years
median age (2015 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 2.4 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 2.6 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 2.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2017 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 85.2 years
male: 82.6 years
female: 88.1 years (2017 est.)
Total fertility rate0.83 children born/woman (2017 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rateNA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDSNA
HIV/AIDS - deathsNA
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
urban: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
urban: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2015 est.)
Major infectious diseasesnote: active local transmission of Zika virus by Aedes species mosquitoes has been identified in this country (as of August 2016); it poses an important risk (a large number of cases possible) among US citizens if bitten by an infective mosquito; other less common ways to get Zika are through sex, via blood transfusion, or during pregnancy, in which the pregnant woman passes Zika virus to her fetus (2016)
Nationalitynoun: Singaporean(s)
adjective: Singapore
Ethnic groupsChinese 74.3%, Malay 13.4%, Indian 9.1% (includes Sri Lankan), other 3.2% (2016 est.)
ReligionsBuddhist 33.9%, Muslim 14.3%, Taoist 11.3%, Catholic 7.1%, Hindu 5.2%, other Christian 11%, other 0.7%, none 16.4% (2010 est.)
LanguagesMandarin (official) 36.3%, English (official) 29.8%, Malay (official) 11.9%, Hokkien 8.1%, Cantonese 4.1%, Tamil (official) 3.2%, Teochew 3.2%, other Indian languages 1.2%, other Chinese dialects 1.1%, other 1.1% (2010 est.)
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97%
male: 98.7%
female: 98.2% (2016 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 13 years (2009)
Education expenditures2.9% of GDP (2013)
Maternal mortality rate10 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Health expenditures4.9% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density1.91 physicians/1,000 population (2013)
Hospital bed density2 beds/1,000 population (2011)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate6.1% (2016)




Singapore remains one of the world’s most technologically advanced telecommunications markets, according to BMI. In January 2017, the Singapore wireless population broadband penetration rate was 198.2% while the household residential wired broadband penetration rate was 97.6%. Mobile penetration reached 149.8% and the mobile operators have closed their 2G networks effective April 1, 2017. Telecom statistics can be found at:

Telecommunications and Internet facilities in Singapore are state-of-the-art, providing high-quality communications with rest of the world. 3G services were rolled out in 2005, 4G in 2011, and mobile operators introduced 4G+ and LTE-A in 2014. Singapore currently has three main mobile telephony operators, 17 mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs),and 82 Internet Services Providers in Singapore. However, Australian TPG Telecom won the fourth national mobile operator license last year and is expected to roll out its services nationwide in 2018. The U.S. and Singapore have a Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) on telecom equipment certification, and a list of recognized U.S. testing and certification agencies can be found at:

Besides a nationwide broadband network infrastructure, Singapore is well connected by multiple satellite and submarine cable systems with more than 498 terabits per second (Tbps) of potential capacity supporting international and regional telecoms connectivity. It has more than 10.5 terabits per second (Tbps) of international internet bandwidth connectivity to economies such as U.S., China, Japan, India as well as some countries in Europe and ASEAN.


Singapore is a major entrepôt and serves as major distribution center for companies interested in selling to the region. In 2016, over 96% of telecommunications products imported into Singapore were re-exported for third country consumption. Best prospects for Singapore are next generation solutions for broadband, 4G, IPTV, VoIP, Internet of Things (IOT), and Smart Nation Initiatives.

2014 2015 2016 2017 (estimated)
Total Local Production 1,946 2,288 2,292 1,800
Total Exports 10,076 11,613 11,451 10,500
Total Imports 10,079 9,591 9,470 9,400
Imports form the U.S. 832 666 664 710
Total Market Size 1,949 276 311 760
Exchange Rates 1.27 1.38 1.38 1.40

$US millions (total market size = (total local production + imports) - exports)

Date Sources: Singapore Government Trade Statistics


In December 2016, TPG Telecom Pte Ltd made the winning big in the New Entrant Spectrum Auction, and was allocated 60 MHz of spectrum. This compromised 20 MHz in the 900 MHz spectrum band and 40 MHz in the 2.3 GHz spectrum for the provision of 4G and International Telecommunications Advanced services. The new operator is expected to roll out its services in 2018 and this presents U.S. companies a good opportunity to supply their equipment and solutions. In addition, current operators are also seeking new technology as they seek to offer advanced services to their customers, including IoT products such as smart home and telecare applications to the mass market.

Singapore is implementing some of the ideas articulated in its Infocomm and Media 2025 Master Plan, e.g., it is a developing Smart Nation Platform and Heterogeneous Network that will form the infrastructural foundation for Smart Nation, delivering connectivity to “Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, All the Time.” More information on the Master Plan can be found at

The Singapore seeks to partner ICT companies to develop innovative services and solutions to achieve their vision of a smart and connected nation. U.S. companies interested in participating in Singapore’s ICT projects should review the following websites:


Trade Shows


June 26-28, 2018

Key Websites

U.S. Commercial Service, Singapore

Contact: Ms. CHIA Swee Hoon,

Commercial Specialist


2014 2015 2016 2017 (estimated)
Total Local Production 10,446 10,028 8,590 7,600
Total Exports 19,034 18,115 16,327 14,800
Total Imports 12,053 11,456 10,468 10,600
Imports form the U.S. 3,464 3,369 2,730 3,400
Total Market Size 1.27 1.38 1.38 1.40
Exchange Rates 1.27 1.38 1.38 1.40

$US millions (total market size = (total local production + imports) - exports)

Date Sources: Singapore Government Trade Statistics



Singapore is the most wired country in the world connected by a network of fiber optics. The 2016 World Economic Forum Global Information Technology Report ranked Singapore as the most network-ready country in the world to leverage ICT for increased competitiveness and well-being.

According to latest available government statistics, computer usage amongst all businesses in Singapore is 90% and broadband adaption rate increased to 95% for those companies with 10 or more employees. More than 97% of Singapore homes have broadband access and households showed trends of switching to using Internet-enabled mobile phones and other Internet-enabled devices such as Smart TVs to access the Internet. More information can be found at

Singapore has developed 10-year Infocomm and Media 2015 Master Plan that charts the directions the country will take to stay at the forefront of innovation and achieve its vision of becoming a Smart Nation. To unify and speed up the roll out of its smart nation initiatives, the Singapore government has made a series of organizational restructurings, and formed the Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (SNDGG) under the Minister’s Office on May 1, 2017. It is an executive agency comprising staff from the Digital Government Directorate of the Ministry of Finance (MOF), the Government Technology Policy Department in the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI), and the Smart Nation Program office (SNPO) and the Government Technology Agency (GovTech).


Best prospects include government projects, cyber security, business analytics, date centers, cloud computing, internet of things, artificial intelligence, and other smart nation solutions in mobility, health, education and fintech.

According to the 2016 Top Markets Report Health IT Country Case Study by USDOC ITA, Singapore was ranked the 5th market for Health IT market, particularly among Asian countries. The city-state recently announced plans to expand its National Electronic Health Record system, first developed in 2010 and in existence since 2011. It is expected to procure an estimated US$200 million in ICT projects in the healthcare sector in FY 2017. Over the next 5 years, the Ministry of Health (MOH) expects to increase its procurement of IT services and technologies by at least 25%. The Integrated Health Information Systems (IHiS), the technology arm for MOH plans to invest co-creating disease prevention and management programs, home diagnostic toolsets, and assistive robots.

Singapore is expected to have a sharp increase in its over-60 population over the next 15 years. Besides high expected growth in the over-60 population, Singapore’s compact geography, highly urbanized society, high per-capita income and widespread use of mobile phones and Internet are other factors that support strong Health IT usage. More information can be found at:


According to BMI Singapore is an advanced and high-value enterprise market where software and services spending are expected to drive continued growth in total IT spending over the medium term. Singapore also benefits from its regional hub status BMI forecasts 2017 sales of computer hardware in Singapore to amount to US$2.14 billion.

The Singapore government announced that it will be spending more than US$1.7 billion on ICT tenders in addition to the US$200 million on ICT projects in the healthcare sector. U.S. companies interested in doing business with the Singapore government should register with the GeBIZ, the Singapore government’s one-stop e-procurement portal where public sector invitations for quotations and tenders are posted. Both local and foreign suppliers are able to search for government procurement opportunities, download tenders documents, and submit their bids online. U.S. companies interested in partnering with the government should also review the website:


Trade Shows

RSA Conference 2017

July 26-28, 2017

Cloud Expo Asia

October 11-12, 2017

October 10-11, 2018

Clouds Security Expo

October 11-12, 2017

October 10-11, 2018

2014 2015 2016 2017 (estimated)
Total Local Production 1,946 2,288 2,292 1,800
Total Exports 10,076 11,613 11,451 10,500
Total Imports 10,079 9,591 9,470 9,400
Imports form the U.S. 832 666 664 710
Total Market Size 1,949 276 311 760
Exchange Rates 1.27 1.38 1.38 1.40

$US millions (total market size = (total local production + imports) - exports)

Date Sources: Singapore Government Trade Statistics



Singapore is an important partner of the United States with a bilateral gold standard Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed in 2003 and implemented January 1, 2004 – the first U.S. FTA signed in Asia. In 2016, Singapore was the United States 13th largest export market and 19thlargest trading partner. The U.S. exported more to Singapore (US$26.87 billion) than to many other economies with significantly larger populations, including Taiwan, Australia, India, Italy, and Malaysia. In 2016, the U.S. ran its sixth largest goods trade surplus of US$9.07 billion with Singapore. Singapore’s gross domestic product grew 2.0% in 2016 and the official growth forecast for 2017 is 1.0% to 3.0%. The United States was Singapore’s third largest source of imports while China retained its top position followed by Malaysia, U.S., Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Germany, France and Saudi Arabia. The World Bank ranked Singapore the second easiest place to do business in the world. Five reasons U.S. companies should consider exporting to Singapore are:
  • Major distribution and logistics hub and gateway to the ASEAN region
  • Lack of corruption
  • Favorable tax codes
  • Strong intellectual property protection
  • English speaking population


Singapore is generally a free port as more than 99% of all imports enter Singapore duty-free. For social and/or environmental reasons, it levies high exercise taxes on distilled spirits and wine, tobacco products, motor vehicles, and gasoline. U.S. companies face technical import barriers for beef, pork and poultry products, and service barriers include restrictions on satellite dishes, foreign newspapers, pay television, legal services, banking, and healthcare procedural transparency. Details on the barriers can be found in the USTR 2017 National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers available online at Competing with global suppliers remains a key challenge for American companies. With the ongoing restructuring of Singapore’s economy, U.S. companies doing business in the country can expect increased operating costs and continued tightening availability of foreign labor. The next 50 years will present new challenges to Singapore in the form of a greying workforce, maturing economy, growing influence of social media, and increasing competition from other trade agreements and ASEAN partners. To counter the challenges, the Singapore Government’s Committee on Future Economy has identified strategies to meet the challenges and the full report can be found at


U.S. exporters will find a promising market for the following industry sectors in Singapore: semiconductors, oil and gas, aircraft and parts, medical devices, telecommunication equipment, computer hardware, software and peripherals, environmental control equipment, industrial automation, laboratory and scientific equipment, and education. The following are major infrastructure projects, significant government procurements and business opportunities in Singapore:
  • US$500 million second Liquid National Gas (LNG) terminal is being finalized;
  • US$150 million Very Large Floating Structure (VLFS) tender for petrochemical storage is postponed to 2018 due to the downturn in the oil and gas sector;
  • US$580 million blueprint to grow the clean energy industry in Singapore;
  • Major redevelopment of Singapore’s oldest and largest hospital is set to take place from 2025 to 2035.
  • Over the medium term, five new public hospitals and up to twelve more polyclinics will be built by 2030 and there are plans to build new and replacement nursing homes to bring the total to 25 by 2020;
  • A new 300-bed hospital for infectious disease will be built and is expected to be ready by 2018 while a new US$135 million National Heart Center building is currently being built at the Singapore General Hospital and schedule for completion in 2020;
  • Other infrastructure projects include the Woodlands General Hospital and the existing Tan Tock Seng Hospital. These are scheduled to progressively come on stream between 2020 and 2036;
  • Construction of Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 4 and Terminal 5 and a third runway;
  • US$2.6 billion Phase 3 and 4 port expansion at Pasir Panjang Terminal;
  • Advanced water technology and infrastructure in areas such as filtering and purifying machinery and apparatus, technologies involving wastewater recycling and treatment, and desalination technologies;
  • Singapore Government ICT tenders of more than US$1.9 billion;
  • Smart Nation Initiatives.


Many U.S. exporters successfully use agents or distributors to serve the Singapore and other Southeast Asia markets while over 4,200 U.S. firms have set up operations in the country. Singapore firms are aggressive when it comes to representing new products and usually respond enthusiastically new opportunities. Price, quality and service are the three main factors for Singapore buyers. U.S. exporters should be aware that competition is strong and buyers expect good after-sales service. Selling techniques vary according to the industry and products and are comparable to the techniques used in most other sophisticated markets. It is also important for U.S. firms to visit their representatives in Singapore and maintain close contract with them.