Dairy Import Licensing Program

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, importers are generally required to obtain a license from FAS to take advantage of low-tier tariff rate. Importers must apply for a license annually between Sept. 1 and Oct. 15. 

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

TRQs replaced Section 22 import quotas for dairy products on Jan. 1, 1995, as a result of the Uruguay Round Agreement. TRQ rates and quantities vary by product.

Globalization 2022
Date Country Commodity Note Percent Globalized
Apr-22 Iceland Cheese and Cheese Substitutes (OT) 16 100
Apr-22 Iceland Swiss or Emmenthaler Cheese with Eye Formation (SW) 25 100
Apr-22 Chile Cheddar Cheese (C) 18 100
Apr-22 Chile Blue Mold Cheese (B) 17 100
Apr-22 New Zealand Cheese and Cheese Substitutes (OT) 16 100
Apr-22 New Zealand Cheddar Cheese (C) 18 100
May-22 Costa Rica Cheese and Cheese Substitutes (OT) 16 100

Agricultural Trade License Administration System (ATLAS)

The ATLAS portal allows U.S. dairy importers to manage their licenses and information. 

Data and Analysis

World Production, Markets, and Trade Report

Dairy Monthly Imports

This monthly report includes information on U.S. and global imports of dairy products, including maximum quantities that can be imported under tariff-rate quota licensing.

News and Features

Contact: Abdelsalam El-Farra, FAS Office of Trade Programs, (202) 720–9439 WASHINGTON, July 27, 2015—The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced changes to the Dairy Tariff-Rate Import Quota Licensing Program, effective Sept. 1, 2015...
Contact: Abdelsalam El-Farra, (202) 720–9439 WASHINGTON, Dec.23, 2014 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced a public comment period on proposed changes to the Dairy Tariff-Rate Import Quota Licensing Program. Import licensing is...
WASHINGTON, Feb. 6, 2013—The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) today announced that it is seeking comments on the Dairy Tariff-Rate Import Quota Licensing Program. Import licensing is one of the tools USDA uses to...

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