United States dairy quotas

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment manages the United States (US) export dairy tariff rate quotas, which were put in place by the Australia–US Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Two quotas—US FTA Butter and US FTA Cheddar—are made available via an allocation system, and the remaining quotas are available on a first come, first served (FCFS) basis. The quotas are available to Australian companies that wish to export dairy products to the US. Australian exporters can export specific quantities of eligible products to the US at reduced or zero tariff rates through these quotas.

The quota period runs in line with the calendar year.

For the two allocated quotas, exporters are invited to apply for quota in November for use in the following quota year.

Key dates to remember

  • 1 January—New quota year begins.
  • 16 August—Last day for exporters to advise whether they will return or retain quota entitlements, and/or whether they wish to apply for addition entitlement (allocated quotas only).
  • 30 November—Deadline for exporters to apply for quota entitlements for the next quota year (allocated quotas only).
  • Early December—Exporters notified of their quota entitlements for the next quota year (allocated quotas); Department begins accepting applications for quota certificates for the next quota year.
  • 31 December—Quota year ends.

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Current quota usage

The quota usage report shows the total quantity of quota available and shipped by Australia for all dairy quotas.

Check the current quota usage for US dairy.

Apply for an allocation of US FTA Butter or US FTA Cheddar quota

Each November dairy exporters are invited to apply for an allocation of US FTA Butter and US FTA Cheddar quotas for the upcoming quota year. An application must be made to the department’s Quota Unit, on the relevant approved form, before the deadline of 30 November. The application form will be made available when requests are being accepted.

The amount of quota to be allocated to each exporter is calculated based on past shipping history, and penalties where applicable. Each applicant is then notified of their dairy quota allocation/s for the next quota year.

New Entrant access for US FTA Butter or US FTA Cheddar quota

All TRQs must provide a pathway for new entrants to enter the market and have the ability to establish themselves in that market. For the dairy TRQs operating under the first come, first served system any exporter can ship any time, therefore a new entrant can enter that market unimpeded by TRQ administration. Allocated TRQs have predetermined formula to give quota to those exporters that have a shipping history under the TRQ. This impedes the ability of new entrants to access those markets.  A separate pathway is therefore included for allocated TRQs to provide new entrants access.

For US FTA Cheddar Cheese and FTA Butter an amount has been set aside for each TRQ for access by new entrants.  The new entrant access amount can be accessed by any exporter that has not received an allocation of the relevant TRQ 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 US FTA Cheddar Cheese quota has a new entrant access amount of 80 tonnes which can be accessed across all new entrants.  Individual new entrants are capped at accessing up to 40 tonnes in a quota year. 

Similarly, the US FTA Butter quota has a new entrant access amount of 80 tonnes which can be accessed across all new entrants.  Individual new entrants are capped at accessing up to 40 tonnes in a quota year. 

The new entrant amount is accessible on a first-come, first-served basis from the start of the quota year until the reclamation day (16 August).  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, and 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 entitlement for the relevant TRQ in the previous 3 years or has used new entrant access quota for the TRQ 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 relevant 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.  Notification of the issuance will be sent to the exporter.

Reallocation

On 16 August a reclaim and reallocation process takes place to aid in making FTA Butter and FTA Cheddar Cheese 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 16 August.
  • New entrants are limited in applying for an amount no larger than the amount of new entrant they had used so far in the quota year, and still capped at accessing no more than 40 tonnes.
    • For example, an exporter that had used 10 tonnes of new entrant quota could apply for an allocation of up to 10 tonnes; whereas an exporter that had used 25 tonnes could apply for a maximum of 15 tonnes.
  • The amount accessible across all new entrants for each quota is still limited to the 80 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.

Each November dairy exporters are invited to apply for an allocation of US FTA Butter and US FTA Cheddar quotas for the upcoming quota year. An application must be made to the department’s Quota Unit, on the relevant approved form, before the deadline of 30 November. The application form will be made available when requests are being accepted.

The amount of quota to be allocated to each exporter is calculated based on past shipping history, and penalties where applicable. Each applicant is then notified of their dairy quota allocation/s for the next quota year.

Apply for a US quota certificate

With the exception of the US FTA Butter and US FTA Cheddar quotas, US dairy quotas are available on a first come, first served basis.  This mean that the application for quota is combined with the application for a quota certificate. For US FTA Butter and US FTA Cheddar, an exporter must have obtained an allocation in order to apply for a quota certificate or there must be an amount of unallocated quota available.

To apply for a quota certificate, you must:

To complete your RFP or application you may need to refer to the Dairy quota codes and the AUSFTA dairy quotas: Guide to US/Australia equivalent products table.

When 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 quota certificate 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 certificate can be amended or will need to be cancelled and reissued.

Dairy products and their equivalent US-FTA dairy categories

The information in this spreadsheet can be used by exporters of dairy products to the US to help them complete their application for a request for permit (RFP) through the department’s EXDOC system.

Download

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AUSFTA dairy quotas: Guide to US/Australia equivalent products XLSXExcel Icon 1 56 KB

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Reclamation and reallocation of US FTA Butter and US FTA Cheddar quota amounts

By the end of 16 August exporters must advise whether they will return or retain unused quota entitlements, and/or whether they wish to apply for additional entitlement.  Exporters with quota entitlements will receive a notice from the Quota Unit ahead of the deadline. Any failure to provide this advice will result in remaining entitlements being cancelled. Exporters wishing to apply for an entitlement can complete an application form (the form will be made available when requests are being accepted).

Following this process, if any quota remains unallocated, it will be made available to all exporters on a first come first served basis (see the section above on applying for a US quota certificate).

Request to transfer or voluntarily return US FTA Butter or US FTA Cheddar quota

Dairy entitlements can be voluntarily returned at any point in the quota year.  Entitlements can be transferred at any time on or before 16 August. To request a return or transfer, exporters must use the downloadable forms:

Historical quota usage

These tables show how the US dairy quotas have filled in previous years.
These tables show how the US WTO dairy quotas have filled in previous years.

Quota categories and 2020 entitlement holders (last updated 22 January 2020)

This listing of dairy quota categories and current quota entitlement holders can be used by exporters to check which exporters hold quota, should they wish to approach another exporter for a transfer.

Allocated quotas entitlement holders list

US FTA

Butter/butterfat—Account B

  • Warrnambool Cheese & Butter
  • Saputo Dairy Australia Pty Ltd

Cheddar cheese—Account H

  • Warrnambool Cheese & Butter
  • Saputo Dairy Australia Pty Ltd
     

First come, first served quotas

US FTA

American cheese—Account A

Condensed milk—Account D

Other milk powders—Account F

Skim milk powder—Account K

Other dairy products—Account L

Cream—Account M

Other cheese—Account O

Swiss cheese—Account T

European cheese—Account U

Goya cheese—Account Z

US WTO

Cheddar cheese—Account C

American cheese—Account G

NSPF (other) cheese—Account N

Swiss cheese—Account S

Legislation

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

The Australia–US Free Trade Agreement was agreed to in 2005. Further information can be found on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.

The Dairy export quota TRQ categories table lists the quota categories available under the AUSFTA and WTO arrangements. It shows the annual increase in available tonnage (for AUSFTA quotas only) until 2019. This table may help exporters to understand how much extra quota they may be able to apply for in future years. Annual increases are not available under the WTO arrangements.

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 by the department.

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: 17 August 2020
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