Commonwealth Numbered Regulations - Explanatory Statements

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Issued by the Authority of the Minister for Small Business and Consumer Affairs

Customs Act 1901

Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations (Amendment)

Section 112 of the Customs Act 1901 (the Act) provides in part that:

"(1) The Governor-General may, by regulation, Prohibit the exportation of goods from Australia.

(2)       The power conferred by the last preceding subsection may be exercised - (c) by prohibiting the exportation of goods unless specified conditions or restrictions are complied with.

(2A) Without Uniting the. generality of paragraph (2)(c), the regulations -...(a) may provide that the exportation of the goods is prohibited unless a licence, permission, consent or approval to export the goods or a class of goods in which the goods are included has been granted as prescribed by the regulations; and ...

The Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations (the Regulations) control the exportation of the goods specified in the various regulations or the Schedules to the Regulations, by prohibiting importation absolutely, or making exportation subject to the permission of a Minister or a specified person

The proposed Regulations implement Australia's obligations as a member of the United Nations to suspend economic trade sanctions against the Bosnian Serb party.


In June 1992 the Regulations were amended to implement United Nations Security Council) UNSC Resolutions imposing trade sanctions against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) (FRY) - (Statutory Rules 1992 No. 155 refers - inserting regulation 13CC). In May 1993 the Regulations were further amended to extend the sanctions to the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Croatia - (Statutory Rules 1993 No. 69 refers - inserting regulation 13CD).

Regulations 13CC and 13CD of the Regulations prohibit the exportation of all goods the immediate or final destination of which is, or is intended to be, the FRY or the Republics of Bosnia and Herzegovina, or Croatia without the written permission of the Minister for Foreign Affairs or an authorised person.

In December 1995, in accordance with UNSC Resolution 1022 of 22 November 1995. these sanctions wore suspended, except insofar as they related to the Bosnian Serb party and the assets owned or controlled by the FRY within Australia. As this measure was a "suspension" rather than a "termination" of the earlier sanctions, which did not apply to certain parties, it was implemented in the form of "conditioned blanket permissions", rather than an amendment to the Regulations.

By letter dated 26 February 1996 the Secretary-General of NATO advised the Secretary General of the United Nations that the Bosnian Serb forces had withdrawn from the zones of separation set out in the Dayton Peace Agreement, thereby satisfying the last requirement of UNSC Resolution 1022 for the suspension of sanctions against the Bosnian Serb party.

The net effect of this latest suspension is that only the exportation from Australia of goods owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by the FRY or a public utility of FRY is to be prohibited without the permission of the Minister for Foreign Affairs or an authorised person. To give effect to the latest suspension:

(i)       subregulation 3.1 remakes subregulation 13CC(1) to provide that the exportation of goods owned or controlled, directly or indirectly. by the FRY or a public utility of FRY, is prohibited unless the written permission of the Minister for Foreign Affairs is produced to a Collector at the time of exportation; and

(ii)       subregulation 4.1 omits regulation 13CD, which prohibited the exportation of goods to the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina or the Republic of Croatia.

Subregulation 3.2 omits subregulation 13CC(2) of the Regulations, which exempted foodstuffs from the former prohibition on exports to FRY. This condition is no longer relevant because of the amendments at subregulations 3.1 and 4.1.

Subregulations 3.3 and 3.4 effect technical amendments to subregulations 13CC(3) and (5), respectively, to replace the references to the "Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade" with references to "an authorised person" and redefine the term "authorised person" to include the "Minister for Foreign Affairs", in accordance with the current Administrative Arrangements.

If a decision of the UNSC requires sanctions to be reimposed at some time in the future, it will be necessary to amend the Regulations to reimpose the export prohibitions consistent with Australia's obligations under international law.

Regulation 2 effects a minor drafting amendment to regulation 11 of the Regulations to correct the grammar of the references to Schedule 9.

The Regulations commenced on gazettal.

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