Trade and Market Intelligence
Singapore is a member of the World Trade Organization and has signed a number of protocols and cooperation agreements: Kyoto Protocol, Washington Convention, Basel Convention, Montreal Protocol, APEC, ASEAN, ASEM and SEAT.
Singapore only levies customs duties for cars, diesel fuel, tobacco and alcohol. It is relatively easy to import goods into the country, which enables a great deal of freedom where imports are concerned. Only firearms and chewing gum are prohibited. Permits are also required for certain products, which together represent 6% of all imports:
- Fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Potentially hazardous products.
Import licences are generally issued by the International Enterprise Singapore. Companies importing to Singapore must make an ‘IN’ declaration and apply for an import permit.
In Singapore, distribution is as important as it is in Western countries, and continues to develop thanks to increased standards of living for consumers. New retail centres such as VivoCity, Central and Ang Mo Kio Hub have been developed, in addition to the existing Centrepoint, Tampines Mall and White Sands.
The country’s infrastructure is well-maintained and highly developed. The port of Singapore, for example, is the world’s second largest in terms of container and transhipment traffic. Singapore’s airport is also renowned as one of the best in the world. The Land Transport Authority also aims to promote road transport with the construction of eight highways and nine expressways.
The industry and service sectors are the two most dynamic sectors, having the largest impact on Singapore’s economy. Electronics and chemical products are also growth areas. By increasing wages the Government of Singapore encourages high value sectors such as telecommunications and finance. The Government has also focused on energy production in an effort to remain competitive.
Ministry of Health of Singapore
International Enterprise Singapore
Land Transport Authority
Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore
Singapore International Chamber of Commerce
Employment Legislation in Singapore
The legal working week in Singapore is eight hours a day, or 40 hours per week, with a one hour lunch break. The retirement age is 62. There are several types of employment arrangements: annual contracts, casual employees, working from home, job sharing, flextime, part-time or self-employed workers. There is no minimum wage, and the average gross monthly salary is US $ 2,500.
An employer must pay social security contributions at a rate that ranges between 5% and 14.5% (depending on the employee’s age), and the employee contributes at a rate that ranges between 5% and 20% (again, depending on age). Trade unions in Singapore are very close to the Government, as most are affiliated with the National Trades Union Congress. Approximately 25% of employees are union members.
Intellectual Property Regime in Singapore
|Type of rights||Legislation||Validity of protection||Agreements signed|
|Patents||1995 patent law||20 years, renewable||– Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)|
|Trademarks||2005 trademark legislation||10 years, renewable||– Nice Agreement on the International Classification of Goods and Services
-The Madrid Agreement concerning the International Registration of Marks
|Designs||2000 law on registered designs||5 years, renewable for up to a maximum of 15 years|
|Copyright||2005 copyright law||Varies according to the nature of the work||– Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works
– WIPO Copyright Treaty
– WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty
|Industrial designs||1999 law on drawings, design, and integrated circuits||15 years maximum|
Singapore Political Data
The President of the Republic nominally holds executive power in Singapore although the role is largely ceremonial. The real head of Government is the Prime Minister (currently Lee Hsien Loong), leader of the party majority and appointed by the President.
Legislative power lies with Parliament, which has 84 seats. Parliament controls Government activity and the Government therefore depends on Parliament’s confidence, which is expressed through regular votes.
Since independence Singapore has been governed by a single party, the PAP (People’s Action Party). Other political groups are allowed and exist, but are not considered to have any chance of winning elections. These opposition parties include:
- The SDA (Singapore Democratic Alliance).
- The SDP (Singapore Democratic Party).
- The WP (Workers’ Party of Singapore).