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Abstract

Forty World Trade Organization (WTO) members have established 1,125 agricultural tariff-rate quotas (TRQs). TRQs are a two-tiered tariff scheme (a lower rate under a quota amount, and a higher rate once that is reached), developed during multilateral trade negotiations in the 1990s to facilitate market access for agricultural trade. This report provides data and analysis on the prevalence of these trade measures. TRQs are classified according to indicators of whether market access is constrained by administrative procedures or nontariff measures that prevent the quota from filling or by the quota itself. This analysis found that 13 percent of TRQs were “underutilized” when imports were less than 65 percent of the quota (a low “fill rate”), even though the cost of imports was less than the domestic price. Another 22 percent of TRQs were classified as “binding” when the fill rate was high and the import cost was less than the domestic commodity rice. Issues have been raised in the WTO regarding some of these TRQs, with the largest number of questions about transparency and administration of quotas.

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