Upgrade your membership plan for the full website experience.
View Membership Plans
November 29, 2023

Singapore's Proposed Amendments to Free Trade Zones Act Aim to Tackle Illegal Trade

November 29, 2023

On October 4, the Free Trade Zones (Amendment) Bill 2023, which makes consequential amendments to the Free Trade Zones Act 19987 and the Customs Act 1960, was passed in Parliament. In a statement made by Senior Minister of State for Finance Chee Hong Tat, he emphasized that the changes are necessary amid growing concerns over the exploitation of Singapore's 10 free trade zones (FTZs) through illicit activities, including weapons proliferation, environmental crimes, and trade-based money laundering. The proposed amendments aim to make the following changes: strengthen the licensing regime for FTZ operators, introduce new regulations on cargo handlers and agents, and provide the Director-General and customs officers with more enforcement power. Furthermore, the proposed amendments will make it more difficult for companies to provide false or inaccurate information on cargo shipments, increasing the overall visibility of goods passing through one of the world’s largest transshipment hubs.
While some Ministers of Parliament expressed concerns that the amendment could potentially impact business costs, operational efficiency, and Singapore’s overall competitiveness as a trading hub, SMS Chee ensured that the amendments were made in consultation with industry and relevant stakeholders, ensuring a pro-business environment that is in line with international best practices. While companies operating within FTZs will not be strongly affected by the changes as opposed to FTZ operators, cargo handlers, and agents, industry players must review these changes and carefully consider how they will impact existing workflows.

Join the Council to continue reading this article
Enhance your business impact in Southeast Asia: Become a member of the US-ASEAN Business Council and tap into a network of possibilities.
Free Related Articles

Membership Plans

Corporate Council

Corporate membership provides general advocacy support, access to all country- and industry-specific updates, and access to most Council events.

  • Business missions to all 10 ASEAN markets which engage governments at the highest levels.
  • Off-the-record roundtables and policy briefings with senior government leaders in ASEAN and the U.S.
  • On-the-ground support for promoting your positions/policy priorities with policy makers.
  • Industry-specific, country-specific, cross-sector and regional advocacy through committees that target their engagement based on member priorities.
  • Advocacy on your behalf in situations where your company should not be directly identified or is unable to be present.

Chairman’s Council

Corporate membership provides general advocacy support, access to all country- and industry-specific updates, and access to most Council events.

  • All Corporate benefits.
  • Assistance with resolving company-specific trade or investment issues through our six regional offices and U.S.-based staff.
  • Develop effective advocacy strategies to impact policy concerns.
  • Identification of, and engagement with appropriate policy influencers to impact policy concerns.
  • Assistance in conducting follow-up after engaging government leaders (can include providing officials with additional materials, setting up meetings with their staff, getting a readout of the government’s reaction to the discussion).
  • Support for developing arguments that will resonate with target stakeholders.
  • Leading and setting the agenda and policy priorities of the Country and Industry Committees.