One of my good friends in Singapore shared very interesting information to me, which is Singapore's new trade facilitation framework, called "Trade FIRST".
I don't fully read the details yet, but looks quite fascinating program, including and mixed the concept of AEO, export bulk license (STS), and tax privilege.
One impressive point is that Singapore Customs assign Account Manager to the companies who participate in this program. The Account Manager is Singapore Customs officer and acts as contacting point or adviser, and help to answer various kinds of inquires regardless of its jurisdictions.
Also, the companies' privilege is divided into 5 categories, from Basic (for all traders) to the highest status is Premium. (Basic, Standard, Intermediate, Enhanced, then Premium)
The higher the status, the more the benefits.
Currently, 29 companies in Singapore are in Premium status, they looks like combination of mostly subsidiaries of US or European firm, and local companies.
I'm impressed Singapore Customs' smart and pro-business approach. They fully understand the importance of regional hub role, being competitive in trade facilitation, and drawing business by setting up attractive scheme.
(P.S.: As for export control perspective, I find the STS Handbook was update as of January 25, 2011. The Trade FIRST element was added into this handbook. For example as below.
What are the basic qualifying criteria to be eligible for a permit under the STS?
2.5.1 You have to meet the following basic criteria in order to qualify for a permit under the STS:
(a) You are a registered trader with Singapore Customs; and
(b) In the case of applications for Tier 2 and Tier 3 Permits, you must:
(i) maintain a good trade compliance record with Singapore Customs;
(ii) implement an effective Internal (Export Control) Compliance Programme; and
(iii) Achieve at least the “Enhanced” band under TradeFIRST. (added)