For a start, you will need to know that there are two types of goods. Controlled goods and non-controlled goods.

If you intend to bring goods from abroad to sell in Singapore, you must obtain import permits and licenses for “controlled goods.” First, ensure that your business is registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority of Singapore (ACRA) as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or private limited company. After registering, you will need to activate your Custom Accounts using the ACRA-assigned Unique Entity Number (UEN) and Singpass, as well as register as a trader with Singapore Customs. While most goods are considered “non-controlled,” meaning they do not require a license to import, “controlled goods” such as food and animal products, drugs, or telecommunication items require an appropriate license for each category from the relevant authority. This involves submitting a significant amount of paperwork for each shipment, including customs documentation and clearance, insurance papers, and paperwork for controlled goods, and paying taxes, duties, and fees. While it is possible to do all of this paperwork yourself through TradeNet®, most businesses opt to use freight forwarders and cargo agents due to the complexity of the import process.