TradeFIRST

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What is it?

TradeFIRST stands for Trade Facilitation & Integrated Risk-based System. It is an integrated assessment framework that provides a holistic assessment of a company and determines the level of facilitation accorded.

The assessment is free and it is mandatory for all companies who wish to apply for a Singapore Customs scheme or licence.

Benefits of TradeFIRST

Greater Convenience

Each company will have a dedicated account manager regardless of the number of schemes held with Singapore Customs. The account manager will follow up with the company on reviews and TradeFIRST renewal.

Greater Facilitation

We adopt a risk management approach to classify the level of facilitation into 5 bands - Basic, Standard, Intermediate, Enhanced and Premium.

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The higher your TradeFIRST band, the greater the facilitation accorded to you.

For example, a company that obtains a Premium band can enjoy the facilitation and schemes accorded to the Premium band and the ones below it (in this case, Basic to Premium).

This list shows the various Customs facilitation and schemes under each TradeFIRST band.

TradeFIRST Assessment

There are 6 sections under the TradeFIRST assessment framework:

1)      Company Profile

  • Corporate policies
  • Financial background

2)      Procedures and Processes

  • Management of information and records
  • Management of personnel, including training

3)      Security

  • Business partnering and customer screening
  • Security risk assessment and incident management
  • Business continuity
  • Security of cargo, containers and conveyance
  • Premises security and access control

4)      Inventory Management  

  • Capability of inventory system to track and trace movement of goods, and to flag out discrepancies

5)      Other Scheme-Specific Requirements

  • Specific requirements applicable to applicants of certain Customs schemes, such as the Strategic Trade Scheme Bulk Permit

6)      Compliance

  • Company’s compliance records

To view the entire TradeFIRST assessment criteria, you may download the checklist here.  

The TradeFIRST assessment process is shown in the following table:

Step 1 Account manager sends company the TradeFIRST Self-Assessment Checklist that explains the assessment framework for the company’s self-assessment.
Step 2 Company fills up the TradeFIRST Self-Assessment Checklist and sends it to the account manager with supporting documents. With effect from 2 June 2015, instead of submitting all the supporting documents to the Account Manager before the on-site assessment, companies are now allowed to submit only supporting documents relating to the scheme specific mandatory criteria. The remaining documents relating to the non-mandatory criteria can be provided to Customs during the on-site assessment.         
Step 3 Account manager conducts preliminary assessment on suitability of company, advises on areas of improvement, and gives sufficient time for company to improve those areas where necessary.
Step 4 On-site assessment will be conducted.
Step 5

After the assessment, the account manager submits the evaluation and recommendation for approval.

The account manager will inform the company on its application outcome, the band it is placed in that determines the facilitation and schemes the company can enjoy, and the areas for improvement.

Renewal

For any Customs scheme applied successfully, your company will be subject to reviews and renewals, depending on the band accorded:

Band Renewal
Premium Once in 3 years
Enhanced
Intermediate Once in 2 years
Standard

During the renewal process, your company is required to submit the TradeFIRST Self-Assessment Checklist and all relevant supporting documents, and undergo the on-site assessment again.

Reviews may also be conducted at shorter intervals under special circumstances, such as for companies granted conditional approval with areas identified for improvement within a stipulated time period.

If you require further assistance on TradeFIRST, please call 6251 3027 or email customs_schemes@customs.gov.sg.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

This section guides companies who wish to perform a TradeFIRST self-assessment under specific business operations mentioned below.

  • Companies with Multiple Sites and/or Multiple Schemes

There will only be one assessment for the company regardless of the number of schemes it applies for. Therefore, the self-assessment checklist should be filled in relation to all of the company’s operating sites.

All of its operating sites must be declared in the checklist:

  • Indicate “Yes” if the company meets the criteria for all sites.
  • Indicate “No” if none or only some of the sites meet the criteria. Indicate the name of the site(s) which meet the criteria in the “Comments” column.
  • Indicate “N.A.” when the criterion is not applicable.
  • Outsourced Functions

The company should not indicate “N.A.” on outsourced functions, for example using third party logistics providers. It should indicate if its business partners’ procedures meet the criteria based on its service level agreements and contractual obligations.

  • Company is a Tenant

The company should abide by these guidelines if it is a tenant.

  • Companies with Global or Regional Offices

TradeFIRST assessment is only applicable to the company’s procedures conducted on its operating sites in Singapore. For example, comments on pre-employment verification criteria must pertain to Singapore’s procedures and not the company’s regional or global practices.