Contract law and negotiation tactics in Singapore

What should you know about Singaporean business culture?

English is one of the official languages in Singapore, the others being Chinese, Malay, and Tamil. Singapore is a highly organised and structured country. Punctuality, accuracy, and efficiency are of most value in all business dealings.

Business culture is similar to the western business style. Decisions are taken at the top level and then disseminated down the chain of command. Singapore is a performance based society. Deals are sealed mostly based on perceived performance and value that you bring to the table.

What are right negotiation tactics in Singapore?

The following guidelines will help project your business favourably to your Singapore Customers:

  • Establish the reputation of your business as best as you can. This is elemental and vital to your business prospects.
  • Adopt a serious and refined business tone.
  • Singaporeans do not refuse or say no openly, instead watch out for non-verbal communications or indirect hints.
  • Given their vast experience in international trade, Singapore business persons can be approached directly.
  • When someone older or higher up the hierarchy enters the room, it is customary to stand up.
  • Singaporean customers spend a lot of time gathering information resulting in slower decision making.
  • Expect some shrewd bargaining and haggling.

What is a contract worth in Singapore?

There is a distinctive and well defined law of contract in Singapore. Contracts are enforceable. Once a contract is carefully drawn up, it is worth its weight in gold and is as enforceable as it can be in developed western nations like the US, the UK, or Australia.

Singaporean pricing policy, pressure and restraints

Singapore is a highly competitive market with consumers and business buyers being spoilt for choice. You will be essentially working with customers who are used to getting the best at negotiated rates, supplied promptly. Singapore is a preferred selling market for producers and vendors because it is a ‘safe’ market to invest in governed by the rule of law and a high degree of professionalism. Singaporean buyers and consumers know this and therefore are effective negotiators on quality, delivery schedules, and pricing.

The Singaporean legal system

The Singaporean Legal system is based on the English common law. The chief justice is the head of the judiciary, which is made up of the Supreme Court and subordinate courts.

What are the arbitration and litigation processes in Singapore?

Mediation is encouraged between parties in dispute before turning to the courts. A Primary Dispute Resolution Centre is provisioned for the purpose of mediation in each court. There are other options such as the Singapore Mediation Centre, Community Mediation Centres, and tribunals that facilitate mediation. Mediation is efficient and less expensive. Confidentiality is maintained.

Arbitration, though a recent dispute resolution mechanism in Singapore has gained popularity, Singapore has been named the regional leader in this regard by the International Arbitration Survey.

If in rare cases disputes go into litigation, most cases are decided under a year, a record time for litigation decisions in Asia.

Deeper understanding of the contract law and negotiations in Singapore is the key to business success in the country leading to several business opportunities.

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