FURTHER to the update last week, the government has now moved to impose export controls on “COVID – 19” goods during the present “human biosecurity period”. The Australian Border Force (ABF) has now issued a Notice (2020/15) at https://www.abf.gov.au/help-and-support-subsite/CustomsNotices/2020-15.pdf with some explanatory commentary at https://www.abf.gov.au/importing-exporting-and-manufacturing/prohibited-goods/categories/covid-exports.

The nature of the new Regulation 13GI of the Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations 1958 is consistent with the recent announcements by the Prime Minister and the ABF from last week regarding intervention against exports not seen as “legitimate” exports to “preserve and open global trading system and preserving legitimate supply chains to support the response to COVID – 19”.

The regulation will only apply during the term of the Biosecurity (Human Biosecurity Emergency) (Human Coronavirus with Pandemic Potential) Declaration 2020 is in force and applies to the following goods:

  • Personal protective equipment in the form of disposable face masks, disposable gloves, disposable gowns, protective eye wear in the form of goggles, classes or visors, which can be worn by individuals to limit the transmission of organisms; and
  • Alcohol wipes and hand sanitizer.

The Minister for Home Affairs is also able to determine additional goods that are subject to the export prohibition. The regulation prohibits export of goods by post absolutely and allows the goods to be exported in circumstances set out in the regulation, namely:

  • For personal use by a passenger or crew member in their accompanied personal or household effects;
  • By a person to a relative of the person, for the relative’s personal use;
  • By a humanitarian organisation for non-commercial purposes;
  • By an Australian manufacturer of the goods; or
  • By a person who exported those types of goods in the course of their ordinary business and is registered for Australian Goods and Services Tax and has an Australian Business Number.

More information will follow as more details become available.