Public Consultation on Proposed Free Trade Zones (Amendment) Bill20 Mar 2023
1. The Ministry of Finance is proposing legislative amendments to the Free Trade Zones (FTZ) Act 1966 to update and strengthen our 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; and ensuring the integrity of our financial system and protecting it against illegal activities and illicit fund flows. The proposed amendments seek to enable better oversight of goods flowing through our FTZs while still ensuring efficient movement of goods, and include:
a. Introduction of a licensing regime for FTZ operators and cargo handlers.
b. Requirements for FTZ operators, cargo handlers and shipping agents to collect and transmit relevant information to improve cargo visibility within the FTZ.
c. Provisions to ensure confidentiality of data furnished.
d. Specifying powers of the Minister, the Director-General of Customs, and officers of Customs in the administration and enforcement of the Act.
e. Specifying regulatory frameworks to ensure compliance of FTZ operators, cargo handlers, shipping agents and tenants of the FTZ with requirements under the Act.
Scope of the Consultation
2. The first three proposed amendments relate to the responsibilities of the FTZ operators, cargo handlers and shipping agents. We invite you to comment on the proposed changes and the draft FTZ (Amendment) Bill.
a. The first proposed amendment highlights the responsibilities of FTZ operators and cargo handlers for matters of security, maintenance of the FTZ, management of FTZ tenants, and the management and provision of information.
b. The second and third proposed amendments outline the requirements for FTZ operators, cargo handlers and shipping agents to provide cargo data visibility to the Minister, the Director-General of Customs, or any officer of Customs.
c. The next two proposed amendments relate to the specification of powers of the Minister, the Director-General of Customs, or any officer of Customs, as well as the regulatory frameworks that they may enforce.
3. We appreciate your support and participation. Respondents are requested to observe these guidelines:
a. Please identify yourself and the organization you represent (if any) so that we may follow up with you to clarify your comments if needed.
b. Be clear and concise in your comments.
c. Focus your comments on how the drafting of the proposed legislative amendments can be better written to make them cleaner and to make compliance easier; or on how the changes can be improved, including the drafting.
d. Use the prescribed template provided to organise your feedback.
e. As far as possible, please explain your points with illustrations, examples, data, or alternative formulations of the proposed amendments.
4. The draft legislation is released only for the purpose of consultation and should therefore not be used for individual or business decisions as it does not represent the final legislation. All comments received during the consultation will be reviewed thoroughly, and, if accepted, incorporated in the Bill for introduction in Parliament.
Period of Consultation
5. The draft FTZ (Amendment) Bill is available for public consultation from 20 March to 9 April 2023. We regret that comments received after 9 April 2023 will not be considered.
6. We request that all interest parties submit your comments via this FormSG link at go.gov.sg/ftz-bill.
Summary of Response
7. We will publish a summary of the main comments received on the Ministry of Finance’s website, together with our responses, in April 2023. The identity of the respondents will not be disclosed in the summary.
Document to Download
8. For reference, please click here to download the Draft Free Trade Zones (Amendment) Bill 2023 for this public consultation.
You may obtain a copy of the FTZ Act at https://sso.agc.gov.sg.