Import licensing is one of the tools USDA uses to administer the tariff-rate quota (TRQ) system for U.S. imports of dairy products. For dairy products subject to TRQs, a license from FAS is generally required to import items at the low-tier tariff rate. Individuals must apply annually for a license between Sept. 1 and Oct. 15. 

Under these TRQs, a low tariff rate, called the low-tier rate, applies to imports up to a specified quantity. A higher tariff rate, called the high-tier rate, applies to any imports in excess of that amount.

TRQs replaced Section 22 import quotas for dairy products on Jan. 1, 1995, as a result of the Uruguay Round Agreement. High-tier tariff rates were reduced by 15 percent in the six  years after the agreement's implementation in 1995, while quantities subject to low-tier rates were increased gradually over that same period. TRQ rates and quantities vary by product.

No license is required to import products at the high-tier rate, to import  products for an agency of the U.S. government, or to import products for personal use, as long as net weight does not exceed 5 kilograms (11 pounds) in any one shipment.

Globalization 2017

  • April – Iceland,  NSPF Note 16 (OT)  and Swiss Note 25 (SW)
  • May – Costa Rica, NSPF (OT) Note 16
  • May – Norway, Edam & Gouda Note 20
  • June – Argentina, Edam (E) Note 20, Blue Mold (B) Note 17, Italian-Type (D) Note 21
  • June – Israel, NSPF (OT) Note 16, Low-Fat (LF), Note 23
  • June – Chile,  Blue Mold (B) Note 17,  & Cheddar (C) Note 18
  • Argentina, NSPF Note 16 (OT), Swiss Note 25 (SW)
  • August – New Zealand, NSFP Note 16 (OT) and Cheddar Note 18 (C)
  • August  - Australia , American Type Note 19 (A), NSPF Note 16 (OT), Swiss Note 25 (SW)


7 CFR Part 46, Subpart - Dairy Tariff-Rate Import Quota Licensing

FileListing of Dairy License Recipients Under Regulation 1 (as of March 2017)


Eligible individuals must apply annually for a license between September 1 and October 15. FAS issues licenses in late December for the following calendar year.

Data & Analysis


FAS Import Policies and Export Reporting Division
(202) 720-0638