Singapore is a republic with a Parliamentary system of government based on the Westminster model.
The people of Singapore are largely descendants of immigrants from the Malay Peninsula, China and the Indian sub-continent.
From its days as a small and underdeveloped nation, Singapore has emerged from the tumultuous financial, social and political changes over the years to transform into the first-world metropolis that it is today. At the turn of the century, Singapore increased its focus on knowledge and innovation-intensive activities while R&D became the cornerstone of the country’s economic development.
Doing Business in Singapore
Singapore is known for integrity, quality, reliability, productivity, rule of law, and enforcement of intellectual property rights.
To attract businesses ready to invest in Singapore, the government keeps its tax rates and tax laws competitive and takes a strategic, holistic approach towards stewardship of key pillars of the economy, such as petrochemicals, electronics, and clean energy. It has mounted an initiative called Future Singapore which is designed to develop and test bed new ideas and solutions in the areas of urban living, wellness, ageing and healthcare, and lifestyle products and services.
As a preferred location for innovation, Singapore has nurtured a robust intellectual property regime.
Singapore is the global transportation hub with the most extensive network of trade agreements in Asia.
Singapore has built on its advantageous geographical location to become one of the world’s top transportation hubs for sea and air cargo. Singapore’s container ports are the busiest in the world.
Changi International Airport is linked to some 330 cities in about 80 countries.
Getting around the island is effortless with the highly-efficient Mass Rapid Transit system, and bus and taxi services. On the infocomms front, the country’s broadband network reaches 99 per cent of the population. International and regional connectivity now stands at 27.6 Tbps to more than 100 countries.
Companies here have the necessary land, air, sea, and telecommunications linkages to move freight and services anywhere in the world, whenever they are needed.
Singapore’s extensive trade links provide companies with greater market connectivity through the reduction of tariff and non-tariff barriers. The Republic currently has the most extensive network of free trade agreements (FTAs) in Asia. Agreements have been signed with key economies such as US,
Japan, Australia, New Zealand, members of the European Free Trade Association, Jordan, China, Chile, South Korea, India and Panama.
On top of this, Singapore has signed over 40 investment guarantee agreements (IGAs), designed to help protect investments made by Singapore-based companies in other countries against non-commercial risks.
Life and Work
Singapore is a cosmopolitan country at the crossroads of Asia where people from the region feel right at home and those from beyond feel welcome. In fact, one in three persons here comes from abroad, constantly adding to the nation's unique heritage blend. Today, the population is a rich mix of different cultures, lifestyles and religions – co-existing harmoniously.
Being a consistent top performer in Mercer's Quality of Living surveys over the years, and the top-ranked Asian city in the 2011 survey, Singapore has taken the work-live-play approach very much to heart.
The city-state is safe and orderly. Recognized as one of the cleanest and greenest cities in the world, its public transport system and healthcare services are world-class. This provides a dynamic business environment, providing plenty of work opportunities locally and overseas.
In fact, there are numerous schools catering to the education needs of expatriate children while its local schooling system has achieved academic distinction. It’s one of the push factors that make Singapore a great place to raise a family.
Most importantly, the "play" aspect is not forgotten in the Republic. The arts and culture scene is thriving and growing. From a host of acclaimed museums, such as the ArtScience Museum located at the luxurious Marina Bay district and countless theatre and musical productions at world-class venues like The Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay.
Singapore is also a gastronomic draw, with a lively dining and entertainment scene that offers some of the best cuisine in Asia, as well as unique street food.
The warm, sunny weather makes all-year-round water and outdoor sports possible. There are a wide variety of well-tended green spaces and exercise facilities such as the East Coast Park and the Botanical Gardens for relaxation and fun. Singapore is also ploughing resources into state-of-the-art sporting facilities such as the Sports Hub in Kallang.
Source: Singapore Economic Development Board
Singapore-Philippines Trade and Investment
Singapore is one of the Philippines’ most vital economic partners, ranking over the years as its top foreign investor in ASEAN. In 2016 (January-September), Singapore was the largest source of approved investments amounting to US$ 336,000 or 17.9% of total; ahead of Netherlands (15.6%), Japan (14.8%) and South Korea (13.0%).
Investment pledges from Singapore are mostly intended for Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing, Manufacturing and Construction.
Source: Philippine Board of Investments
Singapore is well represented in the manufacturing, infrastructure, ICT, retail, services and tourism sectors of the Philippine economy. Firms have also begun to explore prospects beyond the capital city of Manila, expanding into Cebu City in the central part and the Clark and Subic Freeport Zones in the north.
The Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through the Philippine Trade & Investment Centre (PTIC) in Singapore together with the Philippine Embassy in Singapore and Singapore counterparts – the International Enterprise (IE) Singapore and the Philippines-Singapore Business Council -consisting of the Makati Business Club (MBC) and the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) - play a significant role in maintaining the robust business ties between Singapore and the Philippines.
To highlight investment opportunities, the PTIC engages Singapore companies and organizes business missions to the Philippines. PTIC also organizes missions to Singapore particularly to participate in trade fairs and establish partnerships with Singapore and Singapore-based companies for serving the local and regional markets.
As strategic and complementary partners, the Philippines and Singapore share the goal of economic success and sustained inclusive growth in the ASEAN Economic Community.
ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA)
Signed in 1992, AFTA covers trade in goods, trade in services, investment and other areas of cooperation. As of January 2010, the six original members of ASEAN (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand) have eliminated vis-à-vis all ASEAN member states, their tariffs on 99% of all tariff lines.
- Zero tariffs for all Normal Track (NT) products exported to ASEAN Member States
- This translates to greater market access and makes ASEAN a cheap source of inputs
- Adequate protection for sensitive products
- Program for Elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) in place
- Trade Facilitating Measures in Place
- National Single Window and ASEAN Single Window as a one-stop shop for customs clearance
- Continuous reform of the rules of origin – introduced other origin criteria as a co-equal rule to Regional Value Content (RVC) 40%
- Mutual recognition arrangements for conformity assessment of products
- Harmonization of product standards
- Uniform system of classification of goods through the ASEAN Harmonized Tariff Nomenclature (AHTN)
Top Philippine Products Imported
Singapore is a major importer of Philippine raw ingredients, fresh and processed seafood and fresh produce, particularly fresh crab, lobster, prawn, banana, pineapple, mango and durian. Other household processed brands from the Philippines are available in Singapore hotels, ship chandlers, and retails stores FairPrice, Giant, Lucky Plaza mall and Chinatown.
Other Priority Exports (being promoted in Singapore)
- Halal – food and non-food
- Engineering and Architecture Services
- Aircraft Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) Services
Priority Sectors for Singapore investments in the Philippines
- Food – production, processing and trading for Singapore and third markets
- Infrastructure, Construction and Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Projects
- Clark Green City – in Central Luzon
- Information Technology and Business Process Management Services
- Tourism Facilities
- Regional Headquarters and Regional Operating Headquarters