The Singaporean government suspended trading commercial goods with North Korea in early November, a circular issued by the country’s customs service has shown.
Commercial trade will be blocked “regardless of whether they are imported, exported, transhipped or brought in transit through Singapore.”
“We wish to inform you that with effect from 8 Nov 2017, Singapore will prohibit all commercially traded goods (exchanged for money or barter traded) from or to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK),” Singapore Customs said in the circular.
The circular was sent to traders and declaring agents on November 7.
Customs, however, said Singaporeans were still allowed to transact “non-commercial” goods, such as diplomatic correspondence or human remains.
Goods blacklisted by the UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions 2371 and 2375 adopted in August and September were also banned from being traded on November 8.
Singapore Customs said a prohibition applying to goods listed in the country’s Regulation of Imports and Exports (Amendment No. 2) Regulations 2017 would go effect the same day.
Singapore traders seeking to transact non-commercial goods with the DPRK must now seek official approval from customs through the TradeNet online platform, and are required to apply “at least 3 working days before the intended date of shipment.”
First-time offenders will face “a fine of not exceeding S$100,000 or 3 times the value of the goods” and/or a jail sentence of up to two years, and repeat offenders will be subject to “a fine of not exceeding S$200,000 or 4 times the value of the goods” and/or a jail sentece.
All transactions of commercially traded goods and non-commercial goods – “which will contravene the decisions of the UNSC in resolutions made under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter” – are banned in accordance with the country’s Regulation of Imports and Exports Regulations, according to Singapore Customs.
The DPRK and Singapore previously enjoyed relatively close relations, with the country being, until last year, one of the few which provided North Koreans visa-free entry.
In September, the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned its citizens to “avoid all non-essential travel” to the North, citing its lack of diplomatic representation in the country.
Pyongyang, however, still maintains a diplomatic presence in the country, having last December opened a new embassy at a prestigious building in downtown Singapore.
Business ties also appear to still exist between the two countries. In July, NK Pro, the partner site of NK News, reported on a Singapore-based company named OCN (S) Pte Ltd’s links to Office 39 – a notorious slush fund for North Korea’s ruling party.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury in late August designated two Singapore-based companies – Transatlantic Partners and Velmur Management – for links to the North Korean state.
Singapore is not the first country in South East Asia to suspend trade relations with the DPRK in recent months. Early September saw the Philippines announced it had stopped trade with the North.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Join the influential community of members who rely on NK News original news and in-depth reporting.
Subscribe to read the remaining 517 words of this article.
Featured Image: Aerial: Ships in front of Singapore by wuestenigel on 2017-07-20 15:03:39