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 433,214 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, issued under section 10 of the Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry Act 1997.
  • 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

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

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, 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. When your 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 you.

If the export consignment is altered in any way, you must notify the Quota Unit as the eCert may need to be altered to reflect this. Some information relating to your shipment cannot be altered once the eCert has been accepted by US Customs. Contact the Quota Unit to find out if your eCert can be amended or will need to be cancelled and reissued.

Trigger point provisions

If quota usage is approaching the trigger point of 85% before 1 October, the department will notify exporters via email.
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 your shipping history over the past 2 years. Further information can be found in the Export Control (Beef Export to the USA Tariff Rate Quota) Order 2016.


The US beef quota is currently governed by the Export Control (Beef Export to the USA Tariff Rate Quota) Order 2016 . This order outlines the rules for how to apply for quota, and how quota allocations are calculated. Exporters should be familiar with the order.

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. The AUSFTA increases the quota by 20,000 tonnes from 2007 and then by 5,000 tonnes biannually to 2022. The AUSFTA was agreed to in 2005.

Further information can be found by visiting the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.

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: 4 June 2020
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