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Parliamentary Replies

Jewellery Exhibition Hub (Call For Support)

14 Sep 2009

Date: 14 September 2009

Question No. 31 for Written Answer (by Mr Teo Siong Seng, Nominated Member of Parliament):

To ask the Minister for Finance if the Government will consider (i) removing the GST on the purchase of gold bars for investment purposes and jewellery brought in for exhibitions; and (ii) reducing the red tape imposed on foreign jewellery exhibitors to attract jewellery traders/investors and promote Singapore as a jewellery exhibition hub.

Reply by Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam:

Singapore has a simple and broad-based GST regime with a single flat rate of 7% levied on all goods and services purchased or consumed in Singapore. This includes goods that may be regarded as having investment value – such as gold bars, which are commonly thought of as investments, or diamonds and luxury watches, which are regarded similarly by some. By subjecting all goods to the GST, we avoid skewing consumers’ choices in favour of one good or another, keep the GST system simple for administration and compliance, and allow tax rates to stay relatively low.

Mr Teo also asked if the Government could further streamline the existing schemes to promote Singapore as a jewellery exhibition hub. Mr Teo may wish to know that currently, jewellery exhibitors can already enjoy suspension of GST on the import of jewellery for an exhibition or auction in Singapore, if the jewellery is exported out of Singapore after the event. They can also enjoy suspension of GST if they remove jewellery from a Zero-GST or Licensed Warehouse for an exhibition or auction, so long as the jewellery, whether sold or otherwise during the exhibition or auction, is subsequently returned to a Zero-GST or Licensed Warehouse. With these two schemes in place, GST is thus payable only on sale of jewellery that enters the domestic market after the exhibition or auction. Even then, the payment of the GST is made via a customs permit, which takes less than 10 minutes to be approved by the authorities.

The Government will continue to strive to keep the application of the GST suspension schemes as straightforward and streamlined as possible, and remains open to feedback on how the schemes can be improved.