April 28, 2020
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Tariff quotas permit total or partial suspension of the normal duties applicable to imported goods. The quotas are set for a limited quantity of goods and for a limited period.

There are two types of tariff quotas: preferential and autonomous. The management of tariff quotas is also organized in several ways.

Preferential tariff quotas

This type of tariff concessions is provided in agreements with third countries and in autonomous preferential arrangements of the EU. Entitlement to benefit from preferential tariff quotas is subject to the presentation of the necessary evidence of origin.

Autonomous tariff quotas

The role of autonomous tariff quotas is to stimulate the economic activity of Union industries. They are normally granted to raw materials, semi-finished goods, or components that are not available/ available in insufficient quantities in the EU. 

Council Regulation 1388/2013 opening and providing for the management of autonomous tariff quotas of the Union for certain agricultural and industrial products establishes the list of goods subject to these measures.

Management of the most tariff quotas: the 'first-come first-served' principle

Most tariff quotas are managed by the Commission's Directorate-General responsible for Taxation and Customs Union (DG TAXUD) on a 'first-come first-served' basis irrespective of where the goods are imported into the EU. The legal provisions governing the management of these tariff quotas are contained in Articles 49 to 54 of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/2447.

Information about the current balances of those tariff quotas is available in the Tariff quota consultation database and in national databases of the Member States, for instance, LITAR database in Lithuania.

Management of tariff quotas for agricultural products: the system of import licences

Some tariff quotas are managed by the Commission's Directorate-General responsible for Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI) through a system of import licences. Various Council and Commission Regulations contain the specific provisions for the management of these tariff quotas.

Source: European Commission

Interested in a practical example? Watch the video!

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