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 Imports) Regulations (Amendment)

Section 50 of the Customs Act 1901 (the Act) provides in part that:

"(1) The Governor-General may, by regulation, prohibit the importation of goods into Australia.

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

"(3) Without limiting the generality of paragraph (2)(c), the regulations -...(a) may provide that the importation of the goods is prohibited unless a licence, permission, consent or approval to import 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 Imports) Regulations (the Regulations) control the importation of the goods specified in the various regulations or the Schedules to the Regulations. by prohibiting importation absolutely. or making importation subject to the permission of a Minister or a specified person.

These Regulations implement Australia's obligations as a member of the United Nations to suspend 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. 154 refers - inserting regulation 4QB). In May 1993 the Regulations were further amended to extend the trade sanctions to the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Croatia. - (Statutory Rules 1993 No. 67 refers - inserting regulation 4QC).

Regulations 4QB and 4QC of the Regulations prohibit the importation of all goods from, or originating in, the FRY or the Republics of Bosnia and Herzegovina, or Croatia without the 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 were 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 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 West suspension is that no controls on the importation into Australia of goods from the relevant Republics are now required. To give effect to Australia's obligation to suspend remaining sanctions against the Bosnian Serb party, regulations 2 and 3 omit regulations 4QB and 4QC, respectively, of the Regulations.

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

The regulations commenced on gazettal.

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