Importing From Singapore to the UK: A Guide for Business

For such a small nation with fewer than six million inhabitants Singapore has a relatively strong economy, with its GDP ranking in the top 40 of the world.

The country’s most popular exports include electronic equipment, oil, machines and organic chemicals, all commonly produced in the region. In the last five years Singaporean exports have been growing with the total amount for 2014 adding up to US $409.9 billion.


The recently devised EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement was created in order to benefit both markets, allowing cheaper imports into the EU from Singapore and vice-versa. Over five years the EU is set to eliminate virtually all tariffs which is important given that Singapore is the EU’s 15th largest trading partner. If your business is considering importing products from Singapore to the UK then there is a lot of important information to be aware of to ensure a smooth process.

Singapore Fact File:

Official Languages: Mandarin, English, Malay, Tamil, Hokkien, Cantonese
Currency: Singapore Dollar
Central Bank: The Monetary Authority of Singapore
Calling Code: +65
Capital City: Singapore
Largest City: Singapore
Population: 5.5 million


Important Importing Information

Importing products from non-EU countries into the UK requires more detailed processes to be followed. Even though the free trade agreement between Singapore and the EU has made trade more advantageous, it is still important that you fill in all the correct forms and follow standard procedure to avoid ending up with a fine.


  • All goods imported into the UK from outside of the EU must be declared to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). Duty and VAT are required to be paid on all imports over £36 (anything below is viewed as a gift).
  • Ensure your business is VAT registered with HMRC. In some cases, when importing goods for business use for example, it is possible to reclaim the VAT paid by filling out a VAT return form later on. You will need to initially pay VAT directly to HMRC at UK rates.
  • Check that the Singapore and EU free trade agreement is in action and whether any of the products you are importing are duty free.
  • Use the government’s online tariff tool to find the correct commodity code for importing your goods. Where appropriate this means you pay the right import duty on all goods you are bringing into the country. Using the wrong code can result in a fine from HMRC and a delay in the release of your goods from customs.
  • Register with the government’s CHIEF system in order to declare all imports officially to HMRC. Once registered you must submit a Single Administration Document (SAD) through the system which includes all the details about the goods and their movements which are being imported.
  • An Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number is required for declaring goods in every country they travel through and is also issued by HMRC.
  • Fill out Commercial Invoices where necessary. These provide information about the products, costs, importer and exporter addresses and other vital details about the shipment. EORI, VAT numbers and commodity codes must be included.

Restrictions and Limits

There are various items which are banned from being imported from Singapore into the UK that will be seized by customs immediately. These include obvious products such as illegal drugs and endangered animals but also certain plant species, indecent and obscene materials. There are restrictions on plants and food products that are grown in Singapore, or elsewhere outside of the EU, being brought into the UK too.

Shipping from Singapore

Make the most of TNT Import Services to ensure a smooth process bringing your Singapore imports into the UK. Our global network spans over 175 countries, meaning we are able to successfully deal with all manner of orders, from small electrical items to huge freights, no matter what timescale or budget you are working on. Road freights are available but for importing from Singapore air and sea freight options are best.


  • Air freight – The quickest, most appropriate method for importing your goods from Singapore. Economical options are available depending on size and speed. 
  • Sea Freight – A longer option but cheaper for large imports. Best used when there is no urgency in deliveries.


Make the most of such services to ensure your goods arrive on time and in top condition when importing from Singapore.