Singapore Trade

Singapore is rated by the World Economic Forum as the world's most open and trade-friendly economy in its 2016 Global Enabling Trade Report, facilitating its institutions, policies, infrastructure and services to encourage the free flow of goods. A key economic pillar of the economy, Singapore's trade stands at 2.7 times its GDP.

Wholesale Trade forms a major part of Singapore's trade

The wholesale trade sector is part of the trade sector and refers to all transactions in which products are bought for resale, for the making of other products, or for general business operations. A significant number of SMEs and MNCs are involved in wholesale trade. In 2016 alone, 34,500 companies across 7 industry segments employed 9% percent of Singapore's total workforce, creating livelihood for more than 325,000 people, handling S$47.3 billion worth of merchandise which accounted for close to 12% of the nation's GDP.

Wholesale traders are involved in a diverse range of goods ranging from electronics, pharmaceutical items, food, motor vehicles to commodities. They include:

1
Brand owners
2
Agents, brokers and commission merchant
3
Trading arms of
manufacturers and retailers
Singapore is a global trade hub for many products across 7 key clusters
Singapore is a global trade hub for many products across 7 key clusters Singapore is a global trade hub for many products across 7 key clusters
1
MACHINERY & EQUIPMENT
Electronics, Industrial Equipment
MACHINERY & EQUIPMENT
MACHINERY & EQUIPMENT
Electronics
  • Base for 50% of the world's top 15 global electronics distributors such as Arrow Electronics, AVNET, Excelpoint Technology and Serial System
  • Leading manufacturer of enterprise hard disk drives
  • Home to 6 of the world's top electronics manufacturing services companies
Industrial Equipment
  • A key hub brokering and financing infrastructure deals
  • Home to the World Bank's Infrastructure and Urban Development Hub global office
  • Base for top global companies such as Caterpillar, Komatsu, Volvo Construction Equipment
2
HOUSEHOLD GOODS
Personal Effects, Pharmaceutical, Textiles
HOUSEHOLD GOODS
HOUSEHOLD GOODS
  • Home to leading companies such as Charles & Keith, Luxasia, Pfizer and Procter & Gamble
  • A global pharmaceutical manufacturing base
  • A place where consumer businesses drive regional growth strategies for Asia's consumer markets
  • Known for being safe, reliable and trustworthy
  • Internationally recognised standards and certification
3
AGRICULTURE MATERIALS
Agricultural Raw Materials, Food & Beverage
AGRICULTURE MATERIALS
AGRICULTURE MATERIALS
Food & Beverage (F&B)
  • Ranked second globally for global food security
  • Base for top 3 F&B companies (Coca Cola, Nestle, Pepsi)
  • Rigorous food safety standards and certification
Agricultural Raw Materials
  • Asia Pacific hub for grains, palm oil, rubber and sugar
  • World pricing hub for rubber
  • Home to over 70% of the top agri-commodities trading companies such as Bunge, Olam and Wilmar
  • 20% share of global agri-commodities trade
4
ENERGY & CHEMICALS
ENERGY & CHEMICALS
ENERGY & CHEMICALS
  • Asia's largest physical oil trading hub and price discovery centre
  • Asia's largest concentration of oil storage, with 10 million m3 of independent oil storage capacity
  • World's largest bunkering port
  • Home to over 80% of the top 30 oil & gas companies such as Hin Leong, Shell and Vitol
5
TRANSPORT EQUIPMENT
Motor Vehicles, Parts & Accessories
TRANSPORT EQUIPMENT
TRANSPORT EQUIPMENT
  • A base from which automotive companies such as Boeing, ST Aerospace and Toyota oversee their regional operations
  • A regional logistics base for aftermarket spare distribution
  • Asia's leading aviation hub and leader in Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul
6
GENERAL MERCHANDISE
GENERAL MERCHANDISE
GENERAL MERCHANDISE
  • A base from which importers and exporters trade goods across other segments from Singapore
  • A key hub for renowned brands such as Cargill, Sime Darby, Unilever
7
OTHERS
Metals & Minerals, Construction Materials
OTHERS
OTHERS
  • Key hub for base metals, iron ore and coal
  • Home to over 70% of top metals & mining companies such as Anglo-American, Pan United and Rhodium Resources
  • Home to over 60% of top 30 steel companies
  • 8 London Metal Exchange warehouses
  • Clearing centre for over 90% of globally-traded iron ore swaps
Singapore's Strong Trade Ecosystem
Singapore's Strong Trade Ecosystem Singapore's Strong Trade Ecosystem
1
NETWORK OF BUYERS, SELLERS AND DECISION MAKERS
NETWORK OF BUYERS, SELLERS AND DECISION MAKERS
NETWORK OF BUYERS, SELLERS AND DECISION MAKERS
Singapore is the Asian centre for trade. It is home to the world's largest trading companies, generating more than US$1 trillion in annual turnover. More than 35% of the companies with a presence here place one or more C-level positions in Singapore.

There is also an extensive network of players along the value chain -- in supply chain, logistics, financing and other ancillary services. This creates an effective and neutral marketplace for traders to better exchange information and structure deals.
2
FINANCIAL AND TRADING INFRASTRUCTURE
FINANCIAL AND TRADING INFRASTRUCTURE
FINANCIAL AND TRADING INFRASTRUCTURE
Trade documentation is also a breeze with TradeNet, the world's first national single window for trade which brings together more than 35 border agencies. TradeNet will be succeeded by National Trade Platform (NTP) as a trade and logistics IT ecosystem connecting businesses, community systems and platforms, and government systems.
3
PHYSICAL FLOWS AND INFRASTRUCTURE
PHYSICAL FLOWS AND INFRASTRUCTURE
PHYSICAL FLOWS AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Singapore is located at the heart of Asian trade routes. It offers a natural gateway to many major growth economies as well as the world's largest commodity consumers and producers. 30% of all Asian trading is conducted through Singapore and the Straits of Malacca is the second largest trade route globally for crude/petroleum transportation.

The country's high mobile penetration rate has given rise to a vibrant e-commerce community, where companies can test their solutions for the Asian market and leverage services in e-payment, financing and connectivity for seamless fulfilment to the region.

Singapore has the physical infrastructure and world-class logistics to facilitate trading. It is the fifth in the world and first in Asia in the World Bank's Logistics Performance Index as well as Asia's best seaport. This is complemented by excellent processing and storage facilities. It is not only the world's largest bunkering port; it also has the highest concentration of oil storage in Asia.
4
HUMAN CAPITAL
HUMAN CAPITAL
HUMAN CAPITAL
As a global trading centre, Singapore employs over 325,000 in the wholesale trade sector, of which the commodities sector employs 15,000 people and has the largest pool of trading talent in the world after London, New York City and Houston.

To ensure the sustainability of the wholesale sector, a key strategy is in place to build a strong talent pool with new skills sets, including digital marketing, data analytics and global supply chain, to address new business models. Local Institutes of Higher Learning offer programmes with hands-on internships for students while Professional Conversion Programmes provide the opportunities for PMETS to learn new skills and make a career switch into wholesale trade.
5
LEGAL AND REGULATORY FRAMEWORK
LEGAL AND REGULATORY FRAMEWORK
LEGAL AND REGULATORY FRAMEWORK
Singapore has a stable governmental regime, transparent legal framework and strong rule of law. The nation has been ranked first in Asia and seventh globally in Transparency International's anti-corruption index (2016). Singapore is also the only Asian country in the index's top 10.

Singapore is also the top arbitration centre in Asia; the fourth globally. The Singapore International Arbitration Centre handles more than 200 new cases annually where 63% are trade/shipping-related.
6
GENERAL BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT
GENERAL BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT
GENERAL BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT
Singapore offers a first-class business environment. Singapore came in top as the world's easiest place to do business for a decade, according to research by the World Bank.

Singapore offers unparalleled connectivity to passenger and cargo. It is one of the world's top transportation hubs for sea and air cargo, and its seaport is connected to more than 600 ports in 120 countries. Changi Airport is linked to some 380 cities in 90 countries, with more than 7,000 weekly flights.
7
TAX POLICY
TAX POLICY
TAX POLICY
Singapore's simple and business-friendly tax system offers global businesses a sustainable and stable platform for growth. Income tax rates are competitive for both companies (17%) and individuals (maximum tax rate of 22%).

The Global Trader Programme (GTP) offers reduced corporate tax rate of 5% or 10% on qualifying trading income for 3 or 5 years to well-established international trading companies committed to expanding their operations in Singapore. The GTP is only available to companies which conduct substantial international physical trading activity, invest significant directly attributable local business spending and employ experienced trading professionals in Singapore.

Singapore has also established a network of over 70 comprehensive avoidance of double taxation agreements to prevent double taxation of income earned in one country by a resident of the other country. It also clarifies the taxing rights between Singapore and her treaty partner on different types of income arising from cross-border economic activities between the two countries.
How can IE help

To ease business transactions for traders, freight forwarders who are members of Singapore Logistics Association now enjoy cost and time savings when shipping goods to Thailand and Malaysia from October through the newly-launched Global e-trade services. Companies using these freight forwarders can clear customs faster and move their goods across regional borders in an efficient and cost effective manner. Traders can also look forward to the National Trade Platform in 2018 when freight management and trade financing services will be integrated as part of the platform from Singapore Customs to improve cross-border trade processes.

Other useful information:

Free Trade Agreements>

Find out how Free Trade Agreements can help grow your export business.

Programmes to develop talent for your company>

Find out how we can help your company fill international job roles.

IE Assistance for local companies>

Find out how our programmes can help your company go global.

Events>

Interested to network with like-minded people? Join our events.