Singapore - Country Commercial Guide
Selling to the Public Sector

Describes how major projects are secured and financed. Explains activities of the multilateral development banks in and other aid-funded projects. 

Last published date: 2022-08-11

Selling to the Government

Many governments finance public works projects by borrowing from Multilateral Development Banks. Please refer to “Overview of Financing” Section in “Obtaining Financing” for more information. 

Singapore is a signatory to the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement.  The U.S.-Singapore FTA (USSFTA) provides increased access for U.S. firms to Singapore’s central government procurement.  The USSFTA contains specific conduct guarantees to ensure that Singapore Government Linked Companies (GLCs) will operate on a commercial and non-discriminatory basis toward U.S. firms. GLCs with substantial revenues or assets are also subject to enhanced transparency requirements under the USSFTA. In accordance with its USSFTA commitments, Singapore enacted the Competition Act in 2004 and established the Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) in January 2005.  With effect April 1, 2018, the CCS has been renamed the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) to take over the role as the government agency responsible for administering and enforcing the Consumer (Fair Trading Act), in addition to enforcing the Competition Act. The Act contains provisions on anti-competitive agreements, decisions, and practices; abuse of dominance; enforcement and appeals process; and mergers and acquisitions.

U.S. firms generally find Singapore to be a receptive, open and lucrative market.  The Singaporean government procurement system is considered by many American firms to be fair and transparent.  Procurement recommendations are made at the technical level and then forwarded to management for concurrence. Bidders should work closely with the project manager to determine the relative importance of decision criteria such as technical capability and price. Bidders must meet the specifications set out in the tender. Post-mortem hearings or meetings for losing bidders are not required or common. Government procurement regulations are contained in Instruction Manual 3, available from the Ministry of Finance.  The Singapore Government also advertises its tenders on its website.

Singapore Government agencies generally expect good after-sales service. U.S. suppliers should have at least had some form of local representation to provide after-market service if they do not have their own presence.  Where required, a separate maintenance contract might be entered with the U.S. supplier.

U.S. companies bidding on Government tenders may also qualify for U.S. Government advocacy. A unit of the U.S. Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration, the Advocacy Center coordinates U.S. Government interagency advocacy efforts on behalf of U.S. exporters bidding on public sector contracts with international governments and government agencies. The Advocacy Center works closely with our network of the U.S. Commercial Service worldwide and inter-agency partners to ensure that exporters of U.S. products and services have the best possible chance of winning government contracts. Advocacy assistance can take many forms but often involves the U.S. Embassy or other U.S. Government agencies expressing support for the U.S. bidders directly to the foreign government. Consult “Advocacy for Foreign Government Contracts” for additional information.

Financing of Projects

Singapore is considered a developed country and does not receive development assistance from multilateral institutions.  The country’s domestic public infrastructure projects are funded primarily via Singapore government reserves or capital markets, reducing the scope for direct project financing subsidies by foreign governments.

Multilateral Development Banks and Financing Government Sales

Price, payment terms, and financing can be a significant factor in winning a government contract. Many governments finance public works projects through borrowing from the Multilateral Development Banks (MDB). A helpful guide for working with the MDBs is the Guide to Doing Business with the Multilateral Development Banks. The U.S. Department of Commerce’s (USDOC) International Trade Administration (ITA) has a Foreign Commercial Service Officer stationed at each of the five different Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs): the African Development Bank; the Asian Development Bank; the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; the Inter-American Development Bank; and the World Bank.

Learn more by contacting the:

Commercial Liaison Office to the Asian Development Bank 

Commercial Liaison Office to the World Bank