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Singapore to amend Free Trade Zones Act amid illicit trade concerns

Singapore is amending its Free Trade Zones Act to bolster the regulation of goods in its ten free-trade zones (FTZs). These changes, as outlined by Senior Minister of State for Finance Chee Hong Tat, will include a new licensing system for FTZ operators, defined regulations for cargo handlers, and amplified enforcement powers for customs authorities. This comes as concerns arise regarding the misuse of FTZs for illicit activities, including weapons trafficking and trade-based money laundering. Some MPs questioned the sufficiency of these amendments, but Chee stressed the balance between enhancing governance and retaining a pro-business atmosphere. The revised Act will be introduced in stages from early 2024, giving companies a six-month adjustment period. Chee emphasised the importance of these changes in maintaining Singapore's status as a key global trade hub.

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