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Import Quotas

There are certain merchandise that are subject to import quotas –which is a restriction on the number of goods allowed for importing for a specific time period. Limiting the quantity of imported goods protects domestic products from foreign competition. Goods that exceed the quota limit may still enter, but at higher rate of duty.


There are two types of import quotas: absolute and tariff-rate. Absolute quotas restrict the number of certain goods that may enter during a specific period. For any excess goods, importers may 1) hold them until the next quota period by entering the goods into a bonded warehouse or foreign trade zone, 2) export them, or 3) destroy them under CBP supervision. Tariff-rate quotas allow a certain quantity of goods to be imported at a reduced rate of duty during the quota period. Any excess goods are subject to a higher duty.


Some of the factors that determine whether your goods may be subject to quota restrictions are:

  • Record keeping

  • Merchandise classification/trade statistics

  • Merchandise quantities

  • Merchandise value

  • Antidumping/countervailing duty operations

  • Special trade programs


Currently, the following commodities are subject to quota limitations:

  • Anchovies

  • Brooms

  • Broom corn brooms

  • Ethyl alcohol

  • Lamb

  • Line pipe

  • Milk and cream

  • Olives

  • Mandarins (satsumas)

  • Tuna

  • Upland cotton

  • Wire rod

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