European Union high-quality beef and grain-fed beef quotas

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment issues certification for 2 European Union (EU) beef quotas, which were put in place by the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT):

  • High-quality beef (HQB)
  • Grain-fed beef.

Australian exporters can export specific quantities of eligible products to the EU at reduced or zero tariff rates through these quotas.


Currently 7,150 tonnes of HQB can be exported to the EU each year at an ad valorem tariff rate of 20% (ad valorem is levying of customs duties in proportion to the estimated value of the goods).

Demand for access to this quota traditionally exceeds the amount of quota available and therefore the department administers the quota through an annual allocation process.

Key dates to remember

  • 1 July—New quota year begins.
  • 15 February—Last day for exporters to advise whether they will return or retain quota entitlements, and/or whether they wish to apply for addition entitlement.
  • 16 May—Deadline for exporters to apply for quota entitlements for the next quota year.
  • Late May—Exporters notified of their quota entitlements for the next quota year; department begins accepting applications for quota certificates for the next quota year.
  • 30 June—Quota year ends.

Grain-fed beef

The grain-fed beef quota can be accessed by Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Uruguay and Argentina. As such, the zero tariff grain-fed quota is not allocated but available on a first-come, first-served (FCFS) basis. This quota is managed by the EU and access to it cannot be guaranteed even with an Australian Government quota certificate. In 2020, there is 6,625 tonnes available each quarter under the quota.

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Current quota usage

The quota usage report shows the total quantity of quota held and shipped by Australia for the following commodities: EU HQB, EU sheepmeat and US beef. The report is updated twice a week and at the end of each month.

The department does not provide data on grain-fed beef as it is an EU-managed global quota.

Check the current quota usage for EU HQB.

New Entrant Access

All TRQs must provide a pathway for new entrants to enter the market and have the ability to establish themselves in that market. As EU HQB is allocated based on an exporters previous shipping history, this impedes the ability for new entrants to access this market. A separate pathway is therefore included to provide new entrants access.

The EU HQB quota has a new entrant access amount of 500 tonnes to support potential new entrants.  Individual new entrants are capped at accessing up to 100 tonnes in a quota year.  The new entrant access amount can be accessed by any exporter that has not received an allocation of EU HQB in the previous three years and meets the eligibility criteria (please refer to section 28 of the legislation, below, to determine eligibility).  Exporters are considered new entrants for a period of 3 years, so they are able to develop the shipping history necessary to then receive a standard allocation.

The new entrant amount is accessible on a first-come, first-served basis from the start of the quota year until the reclamation day (15 February). New entrants can receive an entitlement of quota from the reclamation day, to access for the remainder of the quota year (invitations to apply will be sent ahead of the reclamation day.  Please refer to Subdivision B of Part 3, Chapter 2 of the legislation for full details).

How to access new entrant quota

Exporters interested in accessing new entrant quota can check the volume currently available under the ‘Current quota usage’ tab, above.

Prior to requesting their first TRQ certificate in a quota year exporters should refer to section 28 of the legislation, below, to determine whether they are eligible as a new entrant. In particular, an exporter cannot be a new entrant if they are an associated entity (within the meaning of the Corporations Act 2001) of any person who has been allocated an EU HQB entitlement in the previous 3 years or has used new entrant access quota in the previous 2 years. Interested exporters must complete the New Entrant Declaration form and provide it to the Quota Unit to confirm their eligibility each year.

To apply for a tariff rate quota certificate an exporter must prepare their consignment, ensuring that the product meets the requirements of the EU high quality beef TRQ.  When entering the required information for the request for permit (RFP) exporters should ensure they tick the Quota Indicator box and select the correct year; this will ensure the request comes through to the Quota Unit for assessment for a TRQ certificate.

Once the RFP reaches complete status the quota certificate will be issued the next business day.  The EU HQB quota certificates are hard copy certificates which will be mailed to you. Please ensure the Quota Unit has your correct mailing details.


On 15 February a reclaim and reallocation process takes place to aid in making quota available to those exporters that intend to use it in the remainder of the quota year.

As part of this process, any new entrants that have used new entrant quota during the quota year can apply to receive an allocation for use in the remainder of the year. 

  • An application is made by completing the required form and returning it to the department by 15 February.
  • New entrants are limited in applying for an amount no larger than the amount of new entrant quota they had used so far in the quota year, and still capped at accessing no more than 100 tonnes.
    • For example, an exporter that had used 30 tonnes of new entrant quota could apply for an allocation of up to 30 tonnes; whereas an exporter that had used 60 tonnes could apply for a maximum of 40 tonnes.
  • The amount accessible across all new entrants is still limited to the 500 tonnes access amount.

Following the reallocation processes for new entrants and standard quota holders, any amount of quota unallocated becomes uncommitted quota available on a fist come first served basis.  Any exporter, including new entrants, can access this quota by applying for a certificate.  The new entrant cap does not apply when accessing uncommitted quota.

An exporter may apply for an entitlement of EU HQB quota prior to the start of the quota year (note, exporters that have not used the EU HBQ quota before should refer to the New Entrant section, below).

Application forms are sent out to all licensed meat exporters prior to the start of the quota year. Forms must be submitted prior to the close of business on 16 May for the next quota year.

The amount of EU HQB quota to be allocated to applicants is calculated based on past shipping history and penalties. Once entitlements have been determined, each applicant is then notified of their HQB quota entitlement for the next quota year.

Apply for an EU beef quota certificate (HQB and grain-fed)

To apply for a quota certificate for a consignment of HQB or grain-fed beef, you must lodge a request for permit (RFP) through the department’s electronic documentation system, EXDOC.

Once your RFP has gone to ‘complete’ status in EXDOC, the data will go through to the Quota Unit on the next business day and a quota certificate will be printed. The original and 2 copies are mailed to you and a copy is kept by the Quota Unit.

If your quota certificate needs to be altered in any way, you must notify the Quota Unit and a replacement certificate can be issued. For the replacement certificate to be issued, the original and the 2 copies must first be returned to the Quota Unit. Once received, the replacement can be mailed to you.

Reclaim and Reallocation of quota for EU HQB

By 15 February in the quota year, quota holders must advise the department whether they wish to return or retain any amount of their entitlement. Exporters wanting to receive additional allocations of quota that has been returned must also apply by 15 February.

If quota is unallocated following this process, it will be made available via complete requests for permits on a first come, first served basis.

Airfreighting consignments

Airfreight consignments may require urgent documentation and the Quota Unit will endeavour to process these manually if requested.

If an airfreight certificate is required urgently, email the Quota Unit with RFP number of the consignment that requires a manual certificate. The email must be received by the Quota Unit no later than 2:00pm (Canberra time) for same-day processing. Processing of same day certificates cannot be guaranteed. Processing is dependent on staff availability and couriers.

When generated, the certificate will be sent to you by Express Post or couriered (if you have provided the Quota Unit with courier bags and consignment notes).

2021 quota entitlement holders (last updated 30 April 2021)

This listing of current standard quota entitlement holders can be used to check which exporters hold quota, should another exporter wish to approach them for a transfer.

2021 Entitlement holders list


Transfer of entitlement to another exporter

If existing entitlement holders wish to transfer their quota, they can do so by using this form:

Request to transfer annual EU HQB or sheepmeat quota entitlements (MQ01).

Penalties apply to excess transfers of EU HQB. Exporters cannot receive an entitlement if they transfer more than 50% of their quota entitlement in any of the past 3 years. Transfers cannot be made after the reclamation day (15 February).


The EU HQB quota is governed by the Export Control (Tariff Rate Quotas) Order 2019. This order outlines the rules for how to apply for quota, and how quota entitlements are calculated. Exporters should be familiar with the elements relevant to EU HQB (Part 3 of Chapter 2; Division 3 of Part 1, Chapter 3; and Chapter 4).


Data collection

The Quota Unit collects and manages the data presented on this website for commercial and government use. The data comes from the RFPs received through EXDOC.

Contact us

For queries or assistance with EU HQB or grain-fed quota, contact the Quota Unit:

Phone: 02 6272 4068

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