Organisation Overview

Singapore Customs – a department under the Ministry of Finance – is the lead agency for trade facilitation and revenue enforcement.

Reconstituted on 1 April 2003 to bring together revenue collection and enforcement, trade documentation, trade facilitation and security functions under one agency, Singapore Customs upholds customs and trade laws to build trust in Singapore’s external trading system, facilitate trade, and protect revenue.

We facilitate Singapore’s external trade through collaboration with government agencies and businesses, robust regulations and effective enforcement.

We play a proactive role in balancing the intricate requirements of trade facilitation, security, and regulatory compliance to strengthen Singapore’s position as a global trade hub trusted by foreign trading partners and businesses operating in Singapore.

Our Mission, Vision, Motto and Core Values

Mission

As the guardian of Singapore’s trade, we uphold our laws to build trust, facilitate trade and protect revenue.

Vision

A leading Customs that advances Singapore’s economy by assuring the integrity of the trading system.

Motto

We make trade easy, fair and secure.

Core Values

  • Integrity 
    We are upright and fair. We are incorruptible, trustworthy, and do not show favouritism.

  • Commitment
    We pledge to be the best we can be. We strive for excellence, take ownership and deliver what we promise.

  • Courage
    We do the right things despite risk and danger. We encourage different views and ideas, dare to change, and are not afraid to fail.

  • Responsiveness
    We anticipate changing needs and act promptly. We keep ahead of changing realities, take quick and decisive actions, and continuously learn and adapt.

  • Teamwork
    We work together to achieve Singapore Customs' goals. We care for one another, share knowledge and put aside personal interests.

History

1910 Creation of British Government Monopolies Department by British colonial administration during the Straits Settlement period to control opium and spirits revenue.
1938 Reliance on duty revenue results in name change to Excise Department in 1935, then to Department of Customs and Excise (CED) in 1938.
1969 Singapore’s first Free Trade Zones are established.
1975 CED becomes a member of the Customs Cooperation Council (now known as World Customs Organisation).
1989 Launch of TradeNet, the world’s first nationwide electronic data interchange system for paperless clearance of trade documentation.
1990 CED’s role in trade facilitation grows in importance. Represented Singapore in negotiations within organisations such as ASEAN, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and World Trade Organisation.
1994 With the introduction of Goods & Services Tax, all but four items (tobacco, intoxicating liquor, petroleum and motor vehicles) were removed from the dutiable goods list.
2003 CED is reconstituted as Singapore Customs, with trade facilitation and revenue enforcement roles.
2007 Singapore Customs launches TradeXchange, an IT platform that connects the trade and logistics community. Secure Trade Partnership, Singapore’s national supply chain security programme, is launched.
2010 100th anniversary of Singapore Customs.

International Relations

Singapore Customs participates actively in international and regional customs fora to work with other Customs administrations to facilitate international trade. The key fora that Singapore Customs attend are:

World Customs Organisation (WCO)

The World Customs Organisation (WCO) is an independent intergovernmental body whose mission is to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of customs administrations. Singapore became a member of the WCO in 1975.

Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) was established in 1989 in response to the growing interdependence among Asia-Pacific economies.

Singapore Customs participates in the Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures (SCCP). The main objectives of the SCCP are to simplify and harmonise regional customs procedures to ensure that goods and services move efficiently, effectively and safely through the region, and to facilitate border control.

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was established on 8 August 1967. Several instruments have been concluded over the years to further the cooperation among ASEAN customs administrations.

Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM)

The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) is an informal process of dialogue and cooperation bringing together European and Asian countries. The first ASEM Summit was held in 1996. Singapore Customs participates in the ASEM Working Group on Customs Matters (AWC) and ASEM Customs Director-Generals/Commissioners Meeting.