Does your technology transmission require a permit?

While most people are aware that there are controls on the physical transfer of strategic goods under the Strategic Goods (Control) Act, did you know that there are also controls on the electronic transfer of technology relating to such goods?

If you intend to transmit controlled strategic goods-related software and technology out of Singapore via email, fax or other electronic means, make available such technology on a computer or server so that it becomes accessible to someone overseas, or hand-carry it out of Singapore, you must first obtain an Intangible Transfer of Technology (ITT) permit from Singapore Customs.

Given Singapore’s high internet connectivity and fairly significant industry and research presence in high-technology areas, it is crucial that intangible transmission of such technology be controlled to prevent any unauthorised transfers that could possibly aid the development or production of weapons of mass destruction.

Strategic goods technology refers to specific information necessary for the development, production or use of controlled strategic goods, nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, or missiles capable of delivering such weapons.

It can take the form of technical data contained or incorporated in blueprints, plans, diagrams, models, formulae, tables or engineering designs, as well as specifications, manuals and instructions written or recorded on other storage media or devices such as disks, tapes and ROMs or read-only memory. The detailed list of such strategic goods technology, including software, can be found in the Strategic Goods (Control) Order.

However, not all electronic transmissions of strategic goods technology require an ITT permit. Transmissions pertaining to the following are exempted from this requirement:
Installation, operation or maintenance of goods for which a permit for their physical transfer has already been obtained or is not required;
Application for a patent;
Research into technology, the results of which have no practical application.

Applying for an ITT permit

Step 1
Complete Form C – Application for Permit to Export (Hand-Carry) or Transmit Strategic Goods Related Software and Technology.

Step 2
Attach the following supporting documents where relevant:
Detailed technical specifications of the software or technology;
Export licence from the originating country of the software or technology; and
End-User Certificate from the party that is using the software or technology.

Step 3
Submit the completed Form C together with the supporting documents via email, fax or by hand to Singapore Custom’s Procedures & Systems Branch.

On average, ITT permit applications are approved within seven working days. applicants are advised to submit their permit applications as early as possible prior to any intended transfers to avoid possible delays. Once approved, the ITT permit is valid for one year.

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