World Bank Doing Business Report

Singapore ranks 2nd in Ease of Doing Business


Singapore ranks 2nd among 190 economies in the Ease of Doing Business, according to the findings of the 2019 World Bank’s “Doing Business” report. 190 economies were benchmarked based on 11 indicators, which provides an objective measure of business regulations for starting and operating a business.  


Singapore has been ranked among the top 3 economies in the Ease of Doing Business rankings for the past 13 consecutive years.


 Top 5 Economies 2019 Ranking 2018 Ranking
New Zealand 1 1
Singapore 2 2
Denmark 3 3
Hong Kong SAR, China 4 5
Korea, Rep 5 4

Singapore ranks 45th in Trading Across Borders


Singapore ranks 45th among 190 economies in the Trading Across Borders indicator, which records the time and cost (excluding tariffs) associated with the logistical process of exporting and importing goods.


Singapore was ranked 1st position in the Trading Across Borders indicator from DB2008 to DB2015. Since DB2016, a change in methodology favoured economies trading predominantly via land and those within a customs union.


Singapore Customs has in place several initiatives to facilitate trade and support the local trading community:


  • TradeNet 

Trade is Singapore’s National Single Window for trade declaration. It is a “one-stop solution” for Government-related transactions, cutting down on unnecessary paperwork on permit applications for the trade and logistics communities and allows for fees and taxes to be deducted electronically. The cost and time to prepare, submit and process trade documents is also reduced, allowing for the clearance of cargo to be expedited. TradeNet processes 99% of permit applications within 10 minutes and each permit application costs S$2.88.


  • Networked Trade Platform (NTP)

NTP is Singapore’s national trade information management platform that provides the foundation for Singapore to be the world’s leading trade, supply chain and trade financing hub. At its core, it represents a concerted effort to drive an industry-wide digital transformation to build a trade and logistics IT ecosystem which connects businesses, community systems and platforms and government systems.

As the digital gateway for trade connectivity between Singapore and the rest of the world, the NTP has embarked on several initiatives with countries such as China, the Netherlands and other ASEAN partners on linking trade systems as well as digitising and exchanging trade documents and data to streamline regulatory processes and facilitate trade. The NTP is also exploring new technologies such as distributed ledger technology (DLT) to create cross-border infrastructure and multi-industry digital connectivity.

  • Customised Solutions and Schemes

Singapore Customs understands that there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution for different needs of the trading community. In view of this, Singapore Customs has introduced customised solutions and schemes that help to improve companies’ cash flow, reduce costs for businesses and to enhance their competitiveness. Benefits include granting of tax suspension, simplifying documentation requirements, different tiers of licence fees, flexibility in business arrangements, etc.

  • Free Trade Agreements (FTAs)

Singapore Customs provides advice on and implement the rules of origin on goods for preferential tariff treatment under various FTAs. Singapore Customs also issues Preferential Certificates of Origin (PCO) on goods that had met the requisite rules of origin criteria so that traders can enjoy  preferential tariff treatment on their exports when imported into the FTA partner countries. This makes our exports more price competitive when compared to those from non-FTA partner countries as customs duties are either reduced or eliminated. To reduce the lead time in cargo clearance and handling cost incurred by traders associated with hardcopies PCO, Singapore Customs is leveraging on new technologies and systems such as the current ASEAN Single Window (ASW) and the upcoming Electronic Origin Data Exchange System (EODES) with China (rolling out by end 2019) to electronically transmit Certificates  directly from government to government via a  secured networked infrastructure. With the implementation of e-Certificates, there will be no doubt on the authenticity of Certificates issued by Singapore Customs and businesses can potentially enjoy faster clearance of goods.

  • Secure Trade Partnership (STP) and Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRAs)

As part of Singapore’s efforts to enhance global supply chain security and facilitate the movement of legitimate goods, Singapore Customs had launched the STP programme, our national Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) programme in partnership with our businesses to help raise the overall level of supply chain security standards in Singapore. The STP programme is based on the World Customs Organization’s Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade, adopted in June 2005. Under the programme, companies that adopt robust security practices are certified by Singapore Customs as AEOs.

MRAs with other economies multiply the benefits of national AEO programmes by elevating trade facilitation and trade security to the international level. Through MRAs, like-minded customs administrations mutually recognise the security requirements and validation process of each other’s supply chain security programmes.Such arrangements allow certified companies to enjoy higher level of facilitation for their goods.  

To date, Singapore has signed and implemented 10 MRAs with the customs administrations of Canada (2010), Republic of Korea (2010), Japan (2011), People’s Republic of China (2012), Taiwan (2013), Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (2014), United States (2014), Australia (2019), Thailand (2019) and New Zealand (2019).

  • Movement of Cargo

Movement of goods through the Singapore’s checkpoints is generally smooth and Singapore Customs adopts risk management in the selection of high risk cargo for targeted checks. To facilitate cargo clearance, Singapore has implemented paperless clearance for containerised imports by sea.


Please contact Singapore Customs directly at if you wish to find out more on the Trading Across Borders indicator.