Guide to Importing Food Products Commercially
Section G - Tariff Rate Quotas (TRQs)

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This section pertains to agricultural goods included on the Import Control List (ICL), under the authority of the Export and Import Permits Act (EIPA). In order to implement specific Canadian commitments under the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Agriculture, Canada replaced such measures as import quotas and other restrictions on the import of certain agricultural products with Tariff Rate Quotas (TRQs). Under tariff rate quotas, imports are subject to low "within access commitment" tariff rates up to a predetermined limit (i.e. until the import access quantity has been reached), while imports over this limit are subject to higher "over access commitment" rates of duty. Under section 6.2 of the EIPA, the Minister may:

  1. determine an import access quantity allowed entry at the low tariff rate,
  2. establish a method of allocating the import access quantity, and
  3. issue an import allocation to any resident of Canada who applies for an allocation, subject to the regulations and any terms and conditions the Minister may specify in the allocation.

First-Come, First-Served (FCFS) Tariff Rate Quotas (TRQs)

The Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, along with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), administers FCFS TRQs for margarine, wheat, wheat products, barley, barley products, cut roses from Israel, and frozen pork from the European Union (EU).

In the case of these TRQs, import quota allocations are not issued to individual companies. For wheat, barley and their products, as well as cut roses from Israel, importers may invoke a general import permit (GIP) until such time as the TRQ has been filled. GIPs authorize importation of goods at the within-access tariff rate.

For margarine and frozen pork from the EU, a specific import permit issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development is required for each import shipment entered at the within-access tariff rate.

For certain agricultural products (e.g. dry onions and fresh strawberries from Chile; certain agricultural products from Mexico such as roses, carnations, chrysanthemums, tomatoes, onions or shallots, cucumbers and gherkins, broccoli and cauliflower, strawberries, and preserved tomatoes), FCFS TRQs are administered by CBSA. For these products, no GIP exists but the FCFS quota system operates in a similar manner.

Canada Border Services Agency's (CBSA) responsibility for FCFS TRQ goods includes monitoring their importation and counting all imports of within-quota TRQ goods. CBSA makes this information available to the public, including the amount of quota used and the amount still available. For more information on CBSA's role in the administration of TRQs, please contact the Customs and Trade Administration Branch, CBSA, at the address shown in Appendix II. CBSA also publishes a numbered series of memoranda (D10-18-1, D10-18-5, D10-18-6, D10-18-7, D10-18-8 and D10-18-9), which explain TRQs-related practices and procedures, including any changes or new agreements in this area.

TRQs Subject to Allocations

The Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development also administers TRQs for broiler hatching eggs and chicks, chicken, turkey, eggs and egg products, non-NAFTA beef and veal, cheese, butter, milk and cream, buttermilk, yogurt, ice cream, and other dairy products.

In order to import the above goods at the within-access rate of duty, importers must have a specific import permit issued by the Minister for International Trade. Such import permits are issued pursuant to import allocations to Canadian-residents.

On behalf of the Minister of International Trade, the Trade Controls and Technical Barriers Bureau is responsible for allocating import quotas to individual Canadian-residents and for issuing the specific import permits pursuant to these allocations. For more information on quota allocations and import permits for agricultural goods covered by TRQs, please contact the Export and Import Controls Bureau, ITCan at the address listed in Appendix II.

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