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  • 25 Sep 2020

Manage Your Imports Swiftly and Easily with an Importer of Record

For overseas sellers venturing into the Singapore market, appointing an Importer of Record (IOR) is a convenient and cost-effective way to ensure that your goods are properly documented and declared. The IOR acts on your behalf to import the goods, liaise with the authorities and make relevant duties and tax payments. Mr John Tan, Head of Service Delivery and Global Customer Experience at GeTS, shares with us the advantages of this service and how it can improve your business operations.

Q: What are the benefits of appointing an IOR to manage your import procedures in Singapore?

John: An IOR helps to relieve overseas sellers of custom duties responsibilities, risks and errors, especially if Singapore is an unfamiliar market to them. Prior to shipment, the IOR will assess the seller’s shipping documents, invoices and HS codes, and provide consultancy and advice. When necessary, the IOR will also apply for licenses from relevant authorities such as the Singapore Food Authority and Health Sciences Authority, and handle any customs queries and inspections.

Q: What type of sellers would an IOR be suitable for?

John: There are several groups of sellers that may require this service.

Sellers who wish to maintain trade secrets over ingredients or material compositions from buyers will be relevant for such service. As such information is required of controlled goods for import license applications and customs declarations prior to shipment into Singapore, an IOR can be an intermediate channel to handle all the necessary paperwork without a need to involve the ultimate buyers. 

An international franchisor may also opt to have an IOR handle all import procedures and deliver the goods directly to the store, so that the franchisee can focus solely on store operations. With an IOR, franchisors will also be able to keep trade secrets (as explained) and shield costs from franchisees when making customs declarations.

Overseas sellers without an entity, branch office or retail shop in Singapore can also engage an IOR to handle all importation procedures and sell their goods directly to the end consumer. By doing so, sellers no longer need to appoint a distributor and can potentially enjoy higher profit margins.

Q: How is this service especially relevant to e-commerce sellers?

John: In view of the e-commerce boom, more and more SMEs and individuals are setting up e-commerce businesses. The Fulfilment by Amazon and Fulfilment by Lazada services have also encouraged many sellers to venture into overseas markets such as Singapore. In this case, since a consumer has not purchased the product yet, the seller will need an IOR to help clear customs and ship their goods to the respective warehouses.

Q: In light of the current global pandemic, how can appointing an IOR alleviate some of the constraints sellers may face?

John: When you engage an IOR with GeTS, no face-to-face meeting is required, which is helpful in view of the current travel restrictions. The IOR service can be conducted virtually, and the procedure is fast and convenient, taking as little time as one to two weeks before shipment, or up to two months, depending on the type of business.

Q: Why is GeTS the best choice to engage for this service?

John: We are a government-linked company with over 20 years of experience in trade compliance, and are a trusted party due to our strong financial background. Under the Singapore Customs Declaring Agent Governance Framework, we have achieved the top band of Declaring Agent Premium, which demonstrates our proficiency in customs documentation and procedures.

Over the years, we have also built a strong network with industry stakeholders such as freight forwarders and warehouse partners, as well as a good relationship with port operators due to our connection with PSA.

This is the fifth part of our series on powering trade connectivity. Stay tuned for more in the coming months!

CALISTA® is a registered trademark of Global eTrade Services, GeTS Asia Pte Ltd. All information contained here is proprietary to GeTS and may not be used, disclosed or reproduced without prior written consent of GeTS.