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Country Guide: Singapore

A common language and historical ties to the UK should help British businesses navigate this city-state. Some sensitivity to the diverse mix of cultures that make up the island and an appreciation of the consensus-based business culture should support any attempts by UK businesses to break into this key market.

Key Export Opportunities:

  • Healthcare technology and equipment

  • Technologies including AI, machine learning and 5G

  • Food and drink, including whisky, wine and chocolate

Top Tips for Doing Business in Singapore

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Avoid giving gifts
Unlike in some countries, gift giving in a business context is not encouraged in Singapore. A small gift by way of thanks, however, is acceptable and should be appreciated. Something small with our company logo on is suitable. If you receive a gift, you should wait until your business partners have left before opening it.

Consensus is key
As in some other far eastern economies, Singapore's business culture is generally based on consensus and cooperation. Consultative approaches are preferred and companies are likely to take into account the views of wider stakeholders and staff before making decisions. Factor in time for this process and be sure to address your questions.

Singapore at a Glance


Projected Economy 2030




Business Languages

GMT +8

Time zone

8% (9% from 1 Jan 2024)

Standard VAT/ GST Rates

Trade at a Glance


Largest UK Export Market


Largest UK Import Market


Ease of Doing Business Rank (2019)

13th ( from '19)

Projected Import Market 2030


Largest Outward FDI Markets


Largest Import FDI Markets


World Bank - Export of Goods and Services (% of GDP)


World Bank - Import of Goods and Services (% of GDP)

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Businesses can benefit from either the bilateral trade agreement or the Digital Economy Agreement when trading with Singapore.  These two agreements allow businesses to access provisions on trading goods, services, intellectual property and government procurement.  In particular, the DEA provides not only a step forward in UK-Singapore trade relations, but acts as a world leading agreement when it comes to digitalisation.

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