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Import license, Quotas (Trade Restrictions)



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Syllabus of the Subject

Tariff-rate quotas (TRQ, Trade) Import licenses (Non-tariff Measures)


  1. Tariff-rate Quotas (TRQ) in Foreign Trade
  2. Import licenses
  3. Other prohibitions or import restrictions


The objectives of the subject “Import licenses, quotas and prohibitions (Non-tariff Measures)” are the following:

  1. To understand the Tariff-rate Quotas and import licensing (non-automatic) concepts
  2. To study what types of Tariff-rate Quotas and licenses exist and how they can affect an exporter
  3. To analyze the other types of prohibitions or import restrictions

Continuing education (International Trade & Business)


Trade Facilitation Programs. TFA Agreement


Import licenses, quotas and prohibitions.

When a government wishes to restrain the quantity of products to be imported, it implements this type of non-tariff technical measures of control and / or prohibitions. These measures are usually implemented through the import licenses (not-automatic), quotas or prohibitions.

The WTO (GATT, WTO Agreement on Safeguards) prohibits, except in exceptional cases, this type of non-tariff measures.

The granting of an import license is not automatic, it may be discretionary or through a requirement by which certain criteria are met.

Licenses can be based on:

  1. Economic reasons
  2. Without specific ex ante criteria (discretionary license)
  3. Specific use
  4. Licensing linked with local production
  5. Political, religious-moral, cultural reasons

Tariff-rate quotas (TRQ) / Contingents

Import licenses for non-economic reasons are generally implemented through quotas (contingents).

A quota (tariff) is a restriction on the importation of a series of goods imposed by a Government. They are usually based on the quantities or the establishment of a maximum value.

A contingent (quota) can be of indefinite duration (permanent contingent, which can be allocated by countries or global) or temporary.

Sample - Import licenses, Tariff-rate quotas (TRQ) and prohibitions (Non-tariff Measures):
Import license, Quotas, restrictions (Non-tariff Measures)

  1. Customs and WTO
  2. Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement)
  3. Technical barriers to foreign trade (TBT Agreement)
  4. Pre-shipment Inspection (Agreement on Preshipment Inspection)
  5. Anti-dumping Measures and safeguards


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