Singapore updated its strategic goods control regime on 3 August 2020 to ensure robust administration of controls and effective risk assessments, while ensuring the facilitation of legitimate trade. Key amendments include ensuring individual and bulk permit holders have access to English translations for strategic trade records kept in other languages. For bulk permit holders, expanded document categories under recordkeeping requirements and monthly reporting will apply. A new offence has also been created for failing to amend permits in the event that information submitted under initial permit application processes subsequently change.

Recommended Actions

  • Review current processes to understand which expanded documentation and operational requirements have already been captured. 
  • Identify gaps between current recordkeeping measures and new requirements.  
  • For bulk permit holders or registered brokers, reach out to Singapore Customs relationship managers to understand when relevant monthly reports are required to be submitted.

In more detail

As part of its efforts to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, Singapore regulates (amongst other activities) the transhipment, transit, transmission and export of military and dual-use goods and technology.

The key legislation governing this is Singapore’s Strategic Goods (Control) Act (Chapter 300) (“SGCA”). Recent amendments to the SGCA’s implementing regulations, the Strategic Goods (Control) Regulations (“SGCR”) took effect on 3 August. Pursuant to these amendments, Singapore Customs also published Circular No: 05/2020. We provide an overview of key updates below:

  1. English Translations Required. If documents maintained under recordkeeping requirements are not in English, English translations have to be provided within 14 days upon request by Singapore Customs.
  2. Amendments to Permits. Should information supplied or any supporting documentation under a permit change after permit grant, permit holders must apply to amend permit within 14 days. The recent SGCR amendment creates a new offence for failing to amend permits.
  3. Monthly Reports. Bulk permit holders must submit monthly reports to Singapore Customs “on the 14th of every month, or at such other time or interval as required”. These reports have to contain information relating to the goods, documents or technologies that are transferred under the bulk permit including the transferred items’ descriptions, values, quantities, dates of transfer, supplier information; end-user information; and any other relevant information Singapore Customs may require. Circular No: 05/2020 provides guidance for monthly reports concerning intangible transmissions of technology (“ITT”). ITT reports should be sent to [email protected] on the 14th of every month or upon request.
  4. Expanded Recordkeeping Requirements for Bulk Permit Holders. The scope of documents required to be maintained by bulk permit holders have also been significantly expanded. Apart from the information requirements under paragraph 3 above, bulk permit holders will now also be required to maintain screening documents, business transactional documents, internal audit reports, internal training records, instructions to business affiliates, and reports of any non-compliance, where applicable.
  5. Registered Persons (Brokering). Registered persons for brokering must also submit a report (including a report stating a nil return) to Singapore Customs on the 30th day of June and December in each calendar year, or at such other time or interval as required by Singapore Customs.
Author

Ken Chia is a member of the Firm’s Asia Pacific IT & Communications and Global Privacy steering committees. He is regularly ranked as a leading ITC and competition lawyer by top legal directories, including Chambers, Asia Pacific Legal 500, PLC Which Lawyer? and Asialaw. Ken is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators. He is also an accredited mediator with the Alternative Dispute Resolution Group in the United Kingdom. Ken has more than 20 years of practicing in the areas of IT, telecommunications, intellectual property, trade and commerce, and competition law matters. He routinely assists clients, mostly governments and multinational corporations, in large-scale procurement, outsourcing and regional transactions, and provides sound advice on privacy and e-commerce matters.

Author

Anne Petterd focuses on technology, telecommunications, customs and export controls, and consumer and commercial law issues. Much of her practice involves online, telecommunications and IT businesses as well as defence and government procurement. She previously worked with the Australian Government Solicitor. She also worked in Baker McKenzie's London office for 18 months and seconded to major telecommunications and information technology service providers. Anne handles projects involving digital economy, cloud computing and large-scale IT supplies in the Asia Pacific. Her work focuses on the retail, telecommunications, defence, government and financial services sectors, and often involves new business models and test regulatory issues on privacy and telecommunications. Anne also advises on customs assessment, compliance and export control requirements as well as related trade and product compliance issues. She regularly works with regulators on these matters.

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Daryl specializes in information technology, data privacy, commercial and compliance work. Advises frequently on telecommunications, e-commerce as well as general licensing and regulatory matters including, anti-bribery & corruption, consumer products, consumer protection, environmental, customs, and sanctions & trade compliance.

Author

Weng Keong is an associate with Baker McKenzie's Hong Kong office. His practice focuses on Singapore, Hong Kong, and China trade and customs matters. He provides advice on supply chain structures, rules of origin, customs valuation, indirect tax, FTAs, WTO rules, export controls, sanctions, and product regulatory compliance.