5 min article

International trading policy

Listing items for sale internationally is a great way to help increase your sales, but it's important to make sure your items aren't prohibited on our global sites.

It’s important that all listings and transactions comply with applicable laws. Members are responsible for ensuring that their transactions are lawful in both the country of the seller and the country of the buyer. We strongly encourage all members to learn about the laws of their own country as well as the countries where they plan to do business.

Activity on eBay is required to follow this policy, the eBay User Agreement and all applicable laws, as well as respect the rights of third parties. If it doesn’t, eBay may take action consistent with applicable laws and the eBay User Agreement, and may even be legally required to do so. Such actions may include, as an example only: Removing the listing or other content, issuing a warning, restricting activity or account suspension.

Policy overview

If you, as a seller in a certain country, list items that may not be allowed in all countries, you may help ensure compliance with applicable laws and/or eBay policies by following these listing practices:

  • State on the sales form that you'll only ship your items to the countries which legally allow the items to be imported.
  • Include a clause in the item description describing any limitations on the items. For example, “No shipment to the United Kingdom or Germany.” This is particularly helpful if the item(s) are prohibited in only certain countries.

To learn more about excluding countries you don’t want to ship to, visit our Selecting buyer requirements page.

Here are some links to pages with examples of items that may be legally prohibited or restricted, or that violate our policies:

Violations of this policy may result in a range of actions, including:

  • Listing cancellation
  • Loss of eBay fees
  • Limits placed on account privileges
  • Account suspension

Some Examples

Classification of Goods in Singapore

  • Dutiable goods means any goods subject to the payment of duties on entry into Customs territory or manufactured in Singapore (including any Free Trade Zone) and on which duties have not been paid. These are broadly: intoxicating liquors, tobacco products, motor vehicles and petroleum products;
  • Controlled imports are goods which require a permit or licence to be imported, and include amusement machines, jackpot machines, poppy seeds, CD or DVD mastering equipment, bullet proof vests, steel helmets, toy guns and handcuffs;
  • Controlled exports are goods which require a permit or licence to be exported, for example Singapore-made textiles for export to Canada, EU and USA; and
  • Prohibited goods are goods the import or export of which is prohibited, either conditionally or absolutely by law in Singapore - these include: pistol shaped cigarette lighters, firecrackers, non-therapeutic chewing gum, controlled drugs and psychotropic substances; obscene articles, publications, video tapes/discs and software, etc.

As a general rule, members who purchase items on eBay valued at under $400 shouldn't have any trouble importing them by air, unless they are Controlled goods. No Singaporean permit is required for non-Controlled goods being imported, exported or transhipped by parcel post.


Additional information

Singapore Government Web sites:

eBay strongly recommends that members carefully review the Singapore Customs Web site and other sources of information concerning importation of goods into Singapore, and (if necessary) consult with an expert in this field before completing any transactions. The information and links provided below are a starting point so that members can quickly familiarise themselves with some of the regulations in this area.

Items must comply with export laws:

Sellers should make sure that the item they're selling can be lawfully posted outside of the country where they live. The export of certain items may require special licences, or may be banned altogether.

Items must comply with import laws:

Sellers should make sure that they can lawfully import the item into the high bidder's country before sending the item. Each country has different laws that limit the types of goods that can be imported into their country. For example, the high bidder's country might have restrictions on foods, plants, clothing, luggage or even books that might result in the seizure and destruction of the imported item. eBay strongly recommends that sellers discuss possible import problems with potential buyers, and that all members do research to avoid a problem.

  • Visit the World Customs Organisation - opens in new window or tab for more information about particular customs regulations around the world.
  • High value and volume transactions: If sellers plan to do substantial business with customers in other countries, or if sellers are dealing in higher dollar or highly regulated items, they should do careful research, and hire an expert if necessary to make sure that all transactions comply with all applicable laws. There is often paperwork that must be filled out in completing these transactions.

Why does eBay have this policy?

eBay urges its sellers and buyers to comply with all governmental laws and regulations, both in Singapore and abroad. Since the import and export of items are highly regulated by the Singapore government or may cause harm to eBay or its members, members should educate themselves on the laws governing the import and export of items prior to listing those items on eBay.

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