SINGAPORE-- Singapore recently banned all commercial trade with North Korea in compliance with the U.N. resolutions against the communist country's nuclear and missile tests.

In its Nov. 7 Circular sent to traders, Singapore Customs announced a prohibition of all commercially traded goods that are imported from or exported to the North through Singapore.

As to noncommercial transactions with the North, the ban applies to goods that are sanctioned under the U.N. resolutions, the customs agency said, adding that the punitive steps will take effect from Nov. 8.

However, traders are also required to apply for a Customs permit at least three days before the shipment of any permissible noncommercial goods arriving from or destined for the North via Singapore, the agency noted.

Anyone who violates the prohibitions for the first time will be liable to a fine of up to S$100,000 (US$73,660) or three times the value of the goods, or to up to two years of imprisonment.

A fine of a maximum of S$200,000 or four times the value of the goods or to up to three years' imprisonment will be given to anyone who contravenes the bans for the second time, the agency said.

As of last year, Singapore was the North's seventh-largest trading partner with a bilateral trade volume of US$12.99 million.

U.S. broadcaster Radio Free Asia recently reported Singapore, a free trading port, has been suspected as a haven for the North to evade U.N. sanctions.

In reality, two Singaporean companies were put on the U.S. Treasury's sanctions list in August as they were found to have brokered an illegal oil deal between the North and Russia.

Source: Yonhap News Agency