Speech by SMS Koh Poh Koon at the Second Reading of the Regulation of Imports and Exports (Amendment) Bill 2018

Speech by SMS Koh Poh Koon at the Second Reading of the Regulation of Imports and Exports (Amendment) Bill 2018


1.       Mr Deputy Speaker, on behalf of the Minister for Trade and Industry, I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a second time."

2.        The Regulation of Imports and Exports Act (or RIEA for short), provides for the regulation, registration and control of imports and exports. To this end, the RIEA confers certain powers of investigation on our enforcement officers that allow them to search, inspect and seize goods. 

3.       The RIEA also implements all controls on the movement of goods mandated under the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). As a responsible member of the United Nations, Singapore is legally bound by the UN Charter to implement the decisions of the UN Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security. The UNSC had in recent years adopted a series of decisions in response to the nuclear tests and missile launches conducted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Resolution 2270 mandates all UN Member States to inspect certain cargo (for example, cargo originating from or destined for the DPRK), that are within or transiting through their territories.

4.        Beyond our legal obligations, Singapore’s stance on the DPRK’s provocative actions is clear. The DPRK’s development of nuclear and ballistic missile programs poses a grave threat to international peace and security. It is in clear violation of the UNSC Resolutions.

5.       Mr Deputy Speaker, the enforcement powers in sections 16, 17, 18 and 30 of the RIEA are currently applicable to goods which are imported, exported or 2 transhipped. This Bill presented today would extend the application of such enforcement powers to goods in transit, to meet our obligations. 

6.       An authorised officer may now exercise such enforcement powers where goods on board a vessel or aircraft are in transit, and there is a requirement to inspect such goods pursuant to any written law giving effect to any relevant decision of the UNSC.

7.        There is a distinction between transit and transhipment of goods. Goods are in transit if they are brought into Singapore for the purpose of being taken out of Singapore, on the same conveyance on which they were brought in. Transhipment refers to situations where goods are offloaded and moved onto a different conveyance for the purpose of being taken out of Singapore.

8.        The remaining legislative changes in the Bill are administrative in nature. They provide greater legal clarity on the application of specific provisions under the RIEA.

9.        To conclude, the proposed Bill will allow us to carry out our UN obligations, and demonstrate Singapore’s resolve as a responsible global citizen to do its part to safeguard regional and international security. 10. Mr Deputy Speaker, I beg to move.

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