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Australian sanction law

Business Law: 23 March 2019

Why should an Australian business concern themselves with international sanctions?

Where a business has international operations, customers or suppliers they should be aware of their continuing obligations and level of risk under Australian sanction law.

Administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade under the Autonomous Sanctions Act 2011 (Cth) (and applicable regulations) and United Nations Security Council sanctions regimes (implemented domestically in Australia pursuant to the Charter of the United Nations Act 1945 (Cth) and applicable regulations), Australian sanction law imposes wide ranging obligations. 

These obligations extend to individuals and companies located in, or with significant connection to, Australia in their dealings with certain countries and designated individuals and entities.  Sanction measures include prohibitions against supply or importation of certain sanctioned goods, services or commercial activities.  In applying Australian sanction laws, it is relevant to look at the origin of the goods and/or services being provided in assessing application of sanction measures.

Breach of Australian sanction law is a serious criminal offence and can attract penalties including significant terms of imprisonment and/or fines.  It should be noted that the Minister for Foreign Affairs has power to grant a permit authorising activity that would otherwise be in breach of Australian sanction law.

Businesses are well advised to implement clear internal policies, procedures and training to deal with potential risk under Australian sanction law.  Showing that proper due diligence has been exercised to avoid possible contravention will assist in showing a business has been compliant.  Australian sanction law is constantly changing, new sanctions being implemented against countries, individuals and entities in response to international events, so businesses must need to ensure they are not complacent but always mindful of their ongoing obligations.

If you require advice and/or assistance on your potential exposure under Australian sanction law do not hesitate to contact our office.

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