United States beef quotas

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment manages the United States (US) beef quotas, which were put in place by the Australia–United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSTFA) and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

Australian exporters can export 438,214 tonnes (combined AUSFTA and GATT) to the US at a zero tariff rate through these quotas.

  • Quotas are issued on a first-come, first-served (FCFS) basis, and run on a calendar year basis.
  • To be eligible to receive a US beef quota certificate, an exporter must hold a meat export licence allowing the holder to export beef to the United States of America.
  • If Australia exports more than 85% of the quota amount before 1 October each year, the remaining 15% of the quota is allocated proportionally based on an exporter’s record of shipment to the US, averaged over the previous 2 years.

Key dates to remember

  • 1 January—Quota year commences
  • 1 October—Last day for trigger point activation (if more than 85% of quota is used)
  • 31 December—Quota year ends

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Current quota usage

Current usage for all red meat quotas, including the US Beef quota, can be found at the below link under the heading, ‘EU, UK and US red meat quota position’. The report is updated regularly.

Check out the current quota usage for US beef.

Apply for a US beef certificate

To apply for quota certificate for a consignment of US beef, an exporter must lodge a request for permit (RFP) through the department’s electronic documentation system, EXDOC.

Once an RFP has gone to ‘complete’ status in EXDOC, the data will go through to the Quota Unit on the next business day. When the application is approved, the Quota Unit will send an electronic certificate, known as an eCert, directly to US Customs and a more detailed eCert notification to the exporter.

If the export consignment is altered in any way the revised RFP will come through to the Quota Unit. Once an eCert has been accepted by US Customs it cannot be amended. If there is a change to the product or weight of the consignment the existing certificate may need to be cancelled and a replacement issued. If a new certificate is required to replace one that was previously issued, contact the Quota Unit.

Note: Quota administration is cost recovered on a per certificate basis in accordance with the Export Charges (Imposition-General) Regulation 2021 and the Export Control (Fees and Payments) Rules 2021. Exporters are invoiced monthly for any quota certificates issued. The current cost recovered amount is $32 per certificate issued.

Trigger point provisions

If Australia exports more than 85% of the combined AUSFTA and GATT quota amount before 1 October each year, the remaining 15% of the quota is allocated proportionally based on an exporter’s record of shipment to the US. This is referred to as the ‘trigger point’.

Should the trigger point be reached, the remaining 15% will be allocated and exporters will be notified of their entitlement. This entitlement is calculated based on an exporter’s shipping history over the past 2 years. Further information can be found in the Export Control (Tariff Rate Quotas-General) Rules 2021. This document can be found in the Legislation section.

Historical quota usage

These tables show how the US beef quota has filled in previous years.


The US beef quota is governed by the Export Control (Tariff Rate Quotas-General) Rules 2021.

These rules outline the administration of the US Beef quota and exporters should be familiar with them.

Background to the US beef quotas

Since the completion of the Uruguay round of multilateral trade negotiations in 1995 under GATT, Australia has had a tariff rate quota for beef into the US set at 378,214 tonnes. Australia also has access to an additional amount of quota agreed under the AUSFTA in 2005. The FTA amount for 2021 is 60,000 tonnes.

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 the US beef quotas, contact the Quota Unit:

Phone: 02 6272 4068
Email: quota.admin@awe.gov.au

Last reviewed: 29 July 2021
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