Singapore is the 14th largest exporter and the 15th largest importer in the world. Historically, international trade has strongly influenced the economy. According to the WTO, Singapore has the highest trade to GDP ratio in the world at 407.9 percent. Due to its geostrategic location and developed port facilities, a large volume of Singapore's merchandise exports involve entrepôt trade – with 47 percent of exports consisting of re-exports.
As a strong advocate of free trade, Singapore has relatively few trade barriers. Trade partners with Most Favoured Nation (MFN) have zero tariff rates applied to their products apart from six lines for alcoholic beverages. There are however some import restrictions based mainly on environmental, health, and public security concerns. The import of rice also requires import licensing in order to ensure food security and price stability.
Due to its relatively small domestic market, Singapore’s trade policy is often aligned with that of external agencies. In the international arena, Singapore’s principal priority lies with the WTO and the Doha Development Agenda. Singapore is also a member of numerous regional free trade agreements (FTAs) including the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA), the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA (AANZFTA), the ASEAN-China FTA (ACFTA), the ASEAN-India FTA (AIFTA), the ASEAN-Japan Comprehension Economic Partner (AJCEP), and the ASEAN-Korea FTA (AKFTA). Other multilateral agreements include the Singapore-Europe Free Trade Association FTA (ESFTA – Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland), the Gulf Cooperation Council-Singapore FTA (GSFTA – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates), and the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership (TPFTA – Brunei, Chile and New Zealand). Finally, Singapore also maintains bilateral free trade agreements with Australia (Singapore-Australia FTA), China (China-Singapore FTA), Jordan (Singapore-Jordan FTA), India (India-Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement), Japan (Japan-Singapore Economic Partnership Agreement), Korea (Korea-Singapore FTA), New Zealand (Agreement between New Zealand and Singapore on a Closer Economic Partnership), Panama (Panama-Singapore FTA), Peru (Peru-Singapore FTA) and the US (US-Singapore FTA).
Singapore’s Import and Export Indicators and Statistics at a Glance (2010)
Total value of exports: US$351.2 billion
Primary exports - commodities: machinery and equipment (including electronics), consumer goods, pharmaceuticals and other chemicals, mineral fuels
Primary exports partners: Hong Kong (11.6 percent of total exports), Malaysia (11.5 percent), US (11.2 percent), Indonesia (9.7 percent), China (9.7 percent), Japan (4.6 percent)
Total value of imports: US$310.4 billion
Primary imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, mineral fuels, chemicals, foodstuffs, consumer goods
Primary imports partners: US (14.7 of total imports), Malaysia (11.6 percent), China (10.5 percent), Japan (7.6 percent), Indonesia (5.8 percent), South Korea (5.7 percent)