EU procedure for administering quantitative quotas

EU procedure for administering quantitative quotas

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about EU procedure for administering quantitative quotas


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External trade

EU procedure for administering quantitative quotas

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 717/2008 of 15 July 2008 establishing a Community procedure for administering quantitative quotas.


This regulation applies where the European Union (EU) has established quantitative import and export quotas, whether autonomous or conventional.

The regulation does not apply to the agricultural products listed in Annex I to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, nor to other products covered by special import or export rules laying down specific provisions for the administration of quotas.

Basic rules for administering EU quotas

The Commission shall publish a notice announcing the opening of quotas in the Official Journal of the European Union, setting out the allocation method chosen, the conditions to be met by licence applications, time limits for submitting them and a list of the competent national authorities to which they must be sent.

Quotas shall be allocated among applicants as soon as possible after they have been opened. They may be allocated in several tranches.

Quantities that are not allocated, assigned or used shall be redistributed. Quantities for redistribution shall be determined by the Commission on the basis of the information provided by EU countries.

The different methods for administering quantitative quotas

Quotas may be administered by one of the three methods set out in the regulation, by a combination of these methods or by any other appropriate method.

Method based on traditional trade flows: This method of allocation reserves one portion of the quota as a priority for traditional importers or exporters. The remainder is set aside for other importers or exporters. Importers or exporters are deemed to be traditional if they are able to demonstrate that in the course of a previous period, to be known as the reference period, they have imported into or exported from the EU the product or products covered by the quota.

After examining the information provided by the EU countries on the number and the aggregate amount of the import or export applications, the Commission establishes the criteria according to which traditional importers’ or exporters’ applications are to be met. Where aggregate applications are equal to or less than the amount set aside for traditional importers or exporters, applications will be met in full. Where aggregate applications exceed this amount, applications will be met on a pro rata basis, calculated in accordance with each applicant’s share of the total reference imports or exports.

The portion of the quota set aside for non-traditional importers or exporters is allocated in accordance with the method based on the order in which applications are submitted.

Method based on the order in which applications are submitted: This method works on the basis of the “first come, first served” principle. The Commission determines the quantity to which operators are entitled until the quota is exhausted. In setting this quantity, the same for all operators, allowance is made for the need to assign economically significant quantities having regard to the nature of the product concerned. When holders of import or export licences have used up their quota, they may submit a new licence application.

Method allocating quotas in proportion to the quantities requested: The competent authorities of the EU countries inform the Commission of the licence applications they have received. This information should specify the number of applications and the aggregate quantities applied for. After examining this information, the Commission determines the quantity of the quota or of the tranches concerned for which the national authorities are to issue import or export licences.

Where aggregate licence applications do not exceed the quantity of the quota concerned, applications are met in full. Where they exceed this quantity, they are met on a pro rata basis, in proportion to the quantities applied for.

Rules concerning import or export licences

Import or export licences authorise the import or export of products which are subject to quotas. Licences are issued immediately by the EU countries when the “first come, first served” principle is used. In other cases, they are issued within ten days of notification of the EU decision indicating the quantities to be distributed.

They are valid throughout the EU, except in situations where a quota is limited to one or more regions of the EU, in which case these licences are only valid in the EU country or countries of the region(s) in question. These licences are valid for four months.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 717/2008


OJ L 198, 26.7.2008

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