A panoramic view of  Marina Bay and the Central Business District in Singapore.

Singapore: Business FAQs and exporting tips

With its affluent population and open, diversified economy, Singapore is a promising market for Canadian exporters. While small, Singapore offers deep connections to other countries in the region, which is why many companies use it as a launchpad into Asia and the Indo-Pacific.

The island nation is ideal as a base of operations, as it rolls out the welcome mat to international business. Its pro-business policies include robust intellectual property protections, transparent legal and institutional frameworks, and a civil service that’s highly efficient.

Singapore leads the world in transportation and logistics infrastructure, and it offers easy connections into the rest of Asia by sea and air. The city is also a safe, green and vibrant hub of innovation.

For these reasons and more, Export Development Canada (EDC) chose Singapore as the location for our first standalone branch office back in 2017. Since then, the EDC Singapore office has served as a gateway to Southeast Asia and the broader Indo-Pacific region for Canadian exporters. We use our proximity to Asian buyers to identify new opportunities for Canadian businesses, connect with local partners, provide underwriting and financing solutions to facilitate trade, and act as a catalyst to increase Canadian business in the region.

We believe there’s room to grow Canadian trade with Singapore, and our in-market team is ready to put their knowledge and network to work for Canadian exporters and investors. To help you start planning your market entry, here are the EDC Singapore team’s answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the dynamic island nation.  

A group of six businesspeople drink coffee together around a table in an office meeting room.

FAQs about doing business in Singapore

Have more questions about doing business internationally? Sign up for EDC’s Export Help Hub.

Quick tips for importing into Singapore

1. Understand the market: A “one-size-fits-all” approach doesn’t work in international trade. Each market has its own rules, regulations and ways of doing business, and Singapore is no exception. Do your research to understand the demand for your product or service, and the competition you’ll face in Singapore. Signing up for a free MyEDC account is a good first step.  

2. Get to know the regulations: While maintaining an open economy, Singapore has strict regulations on imports of certain products such as food and medical devices. Be sure to research all regulations applicable to your products and ensure you comply.

3. Use the CPTPP to get ahead of the competition: Canada and Singapore are members of the CPTPP, which gives Canadian companies preferential access to this market and makes trade rules clear and predictable. Review the agreement to learn more about how it can accelerate your company’s growth in Singapore and the Indo-Pacific. 

4. Partner with a local company: Partnering with a local company can help you navigate the complex business landscape in Singapore and establish a strong presence in the market. EDC’s Business Connections Program and Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) are good resources to help create connections in Singapore and break into supply chains.

5. Leverage government initiatives: The Singaporean government offers various initiatives and grants to support business growth and expansion.

6. Think long term: Foreign buyers aren’t often interested in one-off contracts, so investing in long-term relationships is crucial. If Singapore is right for your company, an on-the-ground presence will help build relationships with local companies. This could be as simple as a sales office, but being close to your supply chain buyers and being part of the business community are very important in many Asian markets, including Singapore.

Learn more about doing business in Singapore.

How EDC supports Canadian exporters

If you’re interested in expanding to Singapore, Southeast Asia, and the Indo-Pacific, you don’t have to go it alone. Our knowledge services are here to help you understand the opportunities, and EDC Credit Insurance makes exporting less risky by protecting you against the risk of non-payment. When you have EDC export credit insurance protection, your financial institution will typically lend against your insured invoices for 90% of their value, significantly increasing your access to cash.

EDC is part of the Government of Canada’s trade ecosystem of experts available to help you save time, learn more about your target markets and identify the capital you need to grow. This network includes Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) and the solution-oriented departments and Crown corporations that can solve export problems and offer new perspectives, so businesses, like yours, can confidently expand and succeed, at home and abroad.

Want to learn more?

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Date modified: 2023-11-07