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Traders  & Businesses Masthead

Temporary Importation for Exhibitions, Auctions & Fairs


Overview
Use of Local Freight Forwarders for Declaration of Permits
ATA Carnet
Banker's Guarantee (BG)/Insurance bond

Brochures, Pamphlets and Gifts
Sealing and Unstuffing of Goods
Re-exported Goods under the Temporary Import Scheme
Unauthorised Breakage of Customs Seals
Displaying Undeclared Imported Goods
Customs Clearance of Hand-carried Exhibition Goods
Payment of Duties/GST on Goods Sold, Transferred or Disposed of Locally



Overview

Goods for exhibitions, except liquor and tobacco, could be temporarily imported for display or use at exhibitions without payment of GST. You may use either ATA Carnets or the Temporary Import Scheme for importing such goods temporarily.

If controlled goods are to be imported 
under this Scheme, prior approval must be obtained from the various controlling authorities in Singapore. Any controlled goods found to have been imported without authorization from the appropriate controlling authority will be impounded or detained by Customs and referred to the appropriate controlling authority.

The organisers, exhibitors, freight forwarders and declaring agents may also be required by Customs to provide information or produce documents regarding any exhibition under Sections 90 and 91 of the Customs Act. Failure to provide the information or to produce the document requested constitutes an offence under the Act.




Temporary Importation Procedures

Certain goods, for approved purposes, may be temporarily imported into Singapore under the Temporary Import Scheme. Such importation requests are subjected to Customs’ case by case assessment. These importations and the corresponding exportations have to be covered by the proper Customs permits. To assist with the relevant permit application, you may wish to engage the services of a of a local freight forwarder which is registered with Customs. The flow of documents to be prepared is shown here:

  • Step 1 - Submission of Documents Prior to Importation 

For Customs’ necessary assessment of each temporary importation, Organiser/Forwarding Agents/Importers should submit to Permits Unit, Procedures & Systems Branch, an official letter detailing the following:

1)     Purpose of temporary importation;

2)     Duration of temporary importation; and

3)     Venue of where the goods are to be used.

Together with the letter, the Organiser/Forwarding Agents/Importers should also provide us with the relevant supporting documents, such as:

1)     Bill of Lading/Airway Bill;

2)     Commercial Invoices; and

3)     Packing list.

You may wish submit the above documents to Singapore Customs via fax at 6250 9605, attention to Permit Officers or send them to us at: customs_documentation@customs.gov.sg

  • Step 2 - Declaration of In-Non Payment Permits

    Upon receiving approval from Customs, Organiser/Forwarding Agents/Importers may then proceed with the declaration of the relevant In-Non Payment (Temporary Consignment) permit via TradeNet ®.
  • Step 3 - Clearance of Goods

    Organiser/Forwarding Agents/Importers should present the approved permit, all relevant supporting documents and the goods to the checkpoint officer for the smooth clearance of the goods into Singapore.
  • Step 4 - Exportation of Goods

    Organiser/Forwarding Agents/Exporters should submit a corresponding OUT (Temporary Consignment) permit declaration through TradeNet®, indicating the previous In-Non Payment permit number in the ‘Previous Permit No.’ field, prior to the exportation of the goods. Upon receiving the approved permit, Organiser/Forwarding Agents/Exporters should present the export permit, relevant supporting documents and goods at the checkpoints for the necessary outward clearance.




ATA Carnet

A fo
reign entity (e.g. foreign exhibitor) could use ATA carnet to import into Singapore exhibition goods or professional equipment for specific purposes. In-Non-Payment (Temporary Consignment) permits are not required when goods are imported using an ATA Carnet. When the representative of the foreign entity arrives in Singapore, he must produce the carnet together with the goods to Customs at the checkpoint for verification and endorsement. The goods are allowed to be imported into Singapore for a period of 3 months from the date of importation.

If there are goods classified as controlled goods (e.g. walkie-talkies) included in the consignment, approval has to be sought from the relevant controlling agency for the temporary import of the goods. A list of controlled goods is available at this link.

If goods imported under the carnet are sold, GST is payable on the goods at 7% of the CIF value as declared. The GST could be paid by means of an In-Payment permit which is obtainable through TradeNet® by a local freight forwarder who is registered with Singapore Customs.

When goods covered by a carnet are taken out of Singapore, the foreign entity or its local representative must produce the carnet and the goods to Customs at the exit point for verification and endorsement. Duty and or GST
will be recovered from the carnet holder on any item that is unaccounted for. For goods that are to be exported in container(s), it is a requirement that the foreign entity or its locally appointed freight forwarding agent has to apply for customs supervision of stuffing of the goods into container(s) 24 hours in advance.

For temporary export of goods, a Singapore exporter may apply for an ATA carnet from the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce (SICC).  An ATA Carnet will be used in lieu of a Customs Export Permit for temporary export of the goods for specific purposes registered for the issuance of the carnet. The goods temporarily exported to overseas are to be re-imported into Singapore within three months of export. After obtaining the ATA carnet, it is a requirement for the exporter to apply to Singapore Customs for supervision of packing of the goods for conventional export or stuffing of the goods into container(s) for containerized export, 24 hours before the intended operation.

To apply for customs supervision, please refer to "Application for Customs Supervision".




Banker's Guarantee (BG)/Insurance bond

Banker's Guarantee is a requirement under the Temporary Import Scheme. Customs In-Non-Payment (Temporary Consignment) permits will be automatically rejected by the TradeNet® system if their BG/Insurance bond is insufficient or if there is no BG/Insurance Bond lodged.

For the temporary import of dutiable motor vehicles for repairs, exhibition and other approved purposes, the amount of bank guarantee/insurance bond required is 30% of potential duty and GST payable on the motor vehicle if the importer is GST registered. If the importer is not GST registered, the BG/Insurance bond required is only 50% of the potential duty and GST payable.

To temporarily import certain selected goods such as jewellery, precious stones, handbags, garments, antiques, watches, etc, for repairs and other approved purposes, the BG/Insurance bond required from GST-registered importers would be only 50% of the potential GST payable on the selected goods. Only importers who are not GST-registered would be required to put up a BG/Insurance bond for 100% the potential GST payable on these selected goods. For the detailed list of the selected goods subject to this requirement, please click here ( DOC
40kb ).

In general, for the temporary import of non-dutiable goods, the amount of bank guarantee/insurance bond required is:

  • 30% of the potential GST for exhibitions with sales/auctions for taxable companies
  • 50 % of the potential GST for exhibitions with sales/auctions for non-taxable companies
  • 30% of the potential GST for repairs and other approved purposes for taxable companies
  • 50% of the potential GST for repairs and other approved purposes for non-taxable companies

The temporary import of certain selected non-dutiable goods such as jewellery, precious stones, handbags, garments, antiques, watches, etc. for repairs and other approved purposes, the BG/insurance bond required is:

  • 50% of the potential GST payable on the selected goods if the importer is GST-registered, or 
  • 100% of the potential GST payable on these selected goods if the importer is not GST-registered.

Please click here ( PDF 276kb ) to view the list of the selected goods subject to this requirement.

The required BG/Insurance bond must be lodged with Customs before any Customs In-Non-Payment (Temporary Consignment) permits are declared through the TradeNet® system.

The BG/Insurance bond must be lodged by the exhibition organiser, exhibitor or their local freight forwarder/declaring agent, on the prescribed formats obtainable from the e-filing option available in our website. The BG/Insurance bond shall remain operative for at least three months after the closure of the exhibition.

When submitting the BG/Insurance bond to the Customs Registration Officer, the organiser, exhibitor or their local freight forwarder/declaring agent shall provide, on their letter-head, the name, venue and period of the exhibition.

The declarant of the Customs In-Non-Payment (Temporary Consignment) permits (and any other party lodging the BG/Insurance bond for the imported goods) will be held responsible for ensuring that the conditions imposed on the permits have been complied with, including the re-exportation of the goods within the period allowed for temporary importation.

The declarants should pay duties/GST on any items listed in the In-Non-Payment (Temporary Consignment) permits that are sold, transferred or disposed of locally and on items not covered by Customs OUT (Temporary Consignment) permits. If the duties/GST on such items is not paid, it will be recovered from BG/Insurance bond lodged by the declarant or other party. The BG/Insurance bond will be discharged when there is no outstanding revenue due to Customs in connection with the Customs In-Non-Payment (Temporary Consignment) permits declared.

Letter of Undertaking (applicable to government agencies and statutory boards)

The Banker's Guarantee/Insurance bond as stated above can be waived if all the goods imported for the entire exhibition are re-exported and there is no local sale, transfer or disposal of the goods. The Letter of Undertaking (LU) must be put up by the government agency or statutory board concerned at least one month prior to importation of the goods.

Before submitting the LU to the Temporary Import Unit, Company Compliance Branch, the government agency or statutory board concerned shall submit an official request (with company letter head) detailing the purpose of the temporary import, name of organisation, venue, period of the exhibition, list of goods, the value of the respective goods to be imported and contact information of the appointed freight forwarder for the event. You may submit the aforementioned information to customs_documentation@customs.gov.sg or via fax at 6250 9605, attention to permit officer. Please note that the application for LU is subject to approval by Customs on a case to case evaluation basis.




Brochures, Pamphlets and Gifts

GST should be paid on all brochures, pamphlets, gifts and other give-away items imported for an exhibition as they are meant for local use. However, there is provision for relief of GST if such goods are imported by post or by air and the total value of such goods does not exceed $400.




Sealing and Unstuffing of Goods

Officers at the entry points may seal any package or container before releasing the goods. Such sealed packages or containers should be unpacked/unstuffed under Customs supervision. The organiser, local freight forwarder, local declaring agent or exhibitor must apply for Customs supervision of unpacking/unstuffing to Company Compliance Branch through e-filing 24 hours before the intended operation. Fees will be charged for such services.




Re-exported Goods under the Temporary Import Scheme

Officers of the Temporary Import Unit, Company Compliance Branch may place Customs seals on any package or container containing goods to be re-exported after the exhibition. The sealed package/container should be produced to Customs at the exit point with the seals intact. The organiser, local freight forwarder, local declaring agent or exhibitor should apply for Customs supervision of packing/stuffing to Company Compliance Branch through e-filing at least one day before the end of the exhibition. Fees will be charged for such services.




Unauthorised Breakage of Customs Seals

It is an offence to break or tamper with any Customs seal placed on any package or container. The declarant of the Customs permit and the person having custody of the sealed package or container should take measures to safeguard the Customs seal.




Displaying Undeclared Imported Goods


It is the responsibility of the organiser to inform foreign and local exhibitors in advance that all goods imported for display at the exhibition must be declared to Customs at the entry point, the goods must also be covered by proper Customs documents. These documents should be retained by the exhibitors as they are subject to Customs inspection at the exhibition site. If any exhibitor fails to declare the imported exhibition goods to Customs at the entry point, he would be committing an offence under the Customs Act.




Customs Clearance of Hand-carried Exhibition Goods

A. Arrival Clearance

If the goods for the exhibition are to be hand-carried into Singapore, the exhibitor's local declaring agent must fax a copy of the Customs In-Non-Payment (Temporary Consignment) permit to the exhibitor. The exhibitor must then produce the document and the goods to Customs for verification and endorsement at the entry point.

If there is insufficient time for this to be done, the declaring agent should fax a copy of the Customs In-Non-Payment (Temporary Consignment) permit to the Officer Commanding (OC) of the Customs at the entry point concerned before the exhibitor arrives in Singapore. The name of the exhibitor, his arrival date/time and flight number must be provided.

The exhibitor must declare the goods to Customs at the entry point and, if he is not in possession of a copy of the In-Non-Payment (Temporary Consignment) permit, he should check with his local declaring agent, the In-Non-Payment (Temporary Consignment) permit approved for the goods.

B. Departure Clearance

If the unsold exhibition goods are to be hand-carried out of Singapore, the exhibitor's local declaring agent must provide the exhibitor with a copy of the Customs OUT (Temporary Consignment) permit at the end of the exhibition. The exhibitor or the local declaring agent must produce the OUT (Temporary Consignment) permit and the goods for Customs verification and endorsement at the exit point.

Only endorsements of the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority on the export documents will be accepted as proof of export.

The onus of ensuring that the permits are produced to the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority for endorsement at the exit point falls on the declarant of the Customs In-Non-Payment permit or the party lodging the Banker's Guarantee with Customs for the relevant goods. If the foreign exhibitor is taking the goods out by air via Changi Airport, the exhibitor or local declaring agent should produce the permit together with the goods for Customs verification and endorsement at one of the two GST Refund Counters located in the Airport's departure hall at least one hour before the departure time.

The counter before the airline check-in counters is for Checkpoints inspection of goods meant to be checked-in as luggage whilst the other counter located in the departure hall after the Immigration counters is meant for Checkpoints inspection of hand-carried items. The local declaring agent would not be able to gain access to the latter GST Refund Counter unless he has a pass issued by the Airport Police.




Payment of Duties/GST on Goods Sold, Transferred or Disposed of Locally

Duties/GST must be paid on any item listed in the Customs In-Non-Payment (Temporary Consignment) permit that is sold, transferred, disposed of locally or not re-exported under a Customs OUT (Temporary Consignment) permit. The responsibility for paying the duties/GST to Customs rests with the declarant of the permit and alternatively on the party lodging the Banker's Guarantee for the imported goods.

The duties/GST should be paid to Customs within 14 working days of the closure of the exhibition. If the duties/GST due is not paid, it will be recovered from the Banker's Guarantee lodged by these parties. In view of this, organisers must ensure that all foreign exhibitors are properly informed to pay the duties/GST to their local declaring agents before leaving Singapore.

The GST will be based on the declared value by the importer. If dutiable goods are sold, the duty must be included when computing the GST. Customs officers may conduct inspections of the goods displayed and the documents covering the importation and sales at the exhibition site.



Errors & Offences and Best Practices

For details on “Errors & Offences” and “Best Practices” on Temporary Import Scheme, please click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

For FAQs on temporary import/export matters, click here:

Customs Circulars

For Circulars on customs matters, click here.

E-Learning Courseware

For e-learning to the ‘Guide to Customs Procedures’, click here.




Last reviewed on 15 April 2014
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