27 April 2023
From 20 March 2023 to 9 April 2023, the Ministry of Finance (“MOF”) conducted a public consultation seeking comments on a draft Free Trade Zones (Amendment) Bill (“draft Bill”). MOF is proposing legislative amendments to the Free Trade Zones Act 1966 (“Act”) to update and strengthen Singapore’s free trade zone (“FTZ”) regime. This will support Singapore’s position as a trusted global trade hub by enabling the better detection, deterrence and prevention of money laundering, associated predicate offences and terrorism financing. The proposed changes also seek to ensure the integrity of Singapore’s financial system and protect it against illegal activities and illicit fund flows.
The proposed changes under the draft Bill include:
- Introduction of a licensing regime for FTZ operators and cargo handlers, which will specify the responsibilities of the involved parties;
- Requirements for FTZ operators, cargo handlers and shipping agents to collect and transmit relevant information to authorised persons, if necessary, to improve cargo visibility within the FTZ;
- Provisions to ensure confidentiality of data furnished;
- Specifying powers of the Minister, the Director-General of Customs, and officers of Customs in the administration and enforcement of the Act.
- Specifying regulatory frameworks to ensure compliance of FTZ operators, cargo handlers, shipping agents and tenants of the FTZ with requirements under the Act.