Outline of the system
The United Kingdom (UK) operates a system of import licences in order to administer tariff rate quotas (TRQs) by the simultaneous examination method for certain agricultural products arising from obligations at the WTO or resulting from arrangements with the government of a country or territory of a country outside the UK.
The regulations listed at paragraph 2.5 set out which products are subject to import licence requirements and the process by which operators can apply for and utilise import licences.
Import licences are issued by the Rural Payments Agency and are valid for a certain period which varies depending upon the different products.
Once the Rural Payments Agency have received an application which meets the criteria set out in these Regulations, they will issue the relevant import licence without delay.
Under the Customs (Tariff Quota) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 (read with the Customs Tariff (Preferential Trade Arrangements) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020), any good imported under tariff rate quotas which are listed in the Licensing Table in Schedule 2 of these regulations are subject to an import licence according to the conditions set out in these regulations.
i. Beef and Veal under the commodity codes 0201 10, 0201 20, 0201 30, 0202 10, 0202 20, 0202 30, 0206 10 and 0206 29;
ii. Pig meat under the commodity codes 0203 12, 0203 19, 0203 22 and 0203 29;
iii. Poultry meat under the commodity codes 0207 11, 0207 12, 0207 13, 0207 14, 0207 27, 0210 99, 1602 31, 1602 32 and 1602 39;
iv. Garlic under the commodity code 0703 20;
v. Milk and dairy products under the commodity codes 0405 10 and 0406 90;
vi. Cereals and Rice products under the commodity codes 1001 99, 1005 10, 1005 90, 1006 20, 1006 30 and 1006 40;
vii. Sugar (cane or beet) under the commodity code 1701.
Please see Products "Agricultural products (Tariff Rate Quota)"
Nature of licensing
If Automatic, administrative purpose
If Non-Automatic, description of the notified Non-Automatic Licensing regime
Non-automatic licensing for Quota (including TRQ) administration
Products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports
Non-automatic licensing is intended to restrict the quantity of imports which can benefit from reduced duties under tariff rate quotas (TRQs).
Questions for products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports
The UK does not apply restrictions on the imports of agricultural products. However, imports of agricultural products at a lower duty rate than the UK bound rate are possible under TRQs. Imports under tariff rate quotas may be subject to an import licence. See Answers 6.1-6.11.
The system applies to products originating from which country?
This licences system applies to the countries for whom the tariff rate quotas are opened. Details on all the tariff rate quotas, which the UK operate can be found here - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reference-documents-for-the-c....
Expected duration of licensing procedure
Is the licensing statutorily required?
The legal basis for these import licences is a statutory instrument made under the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018:
-The Customs (Tariff Quota) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020, laid under the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018.
Does the legislation leave designation of products to be subject to licensing to administrative discretion?
The products which are subject to this import licensing regime are designated in the above legislation.
Is it possible for the government to abolish the system without legislative approval?
Revocation of this regime would require new or amended legislation to be brought before Parliament.
Eligibility of applicants
Is there a system of registration of persons or firms permitted to engage in importation?
What persons or firms are eligible to apply for a licence?
To be eligible to apply for a licence, an importer must be:
a. registered under the Value Added Tax Act 1994;
b. established in the United Kingdom, which for an individual means a resident of the UK, or in any other case means where a person has a registered office in the UK or a permanent place in the United Kingdom from which the person carries out activities which the person is constituted to perform;
c. registered with HM Revenue and Customs for an Economic Operator's Registration and Identification number;
d. where goods that are subject to a quota by virtue of UK Regulations are subject to a quota under equivalent legislation in the Crown Dependencies, licences are administered by the RPA for operators established in the Crown Dependencies.
Is there a registration fee?
There is no registration fee to become an importer.
Is there a published list of authorized importers?
There is no published list of authorised importers.
Contact point for information on eligibility
Rural Payments Agency
Lancaster House, Hampshire Court, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE4 7YH
+44 (0) 3300 416500
Submission of an application
Administrative body(ies) for submission of an application
Rural Payments Agency
What information is required in applications?
There are no requirements regarding the format of an application, but guidance on how to apply for a TRQ can be found online at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/licences-for-the-importexport-of-agricultura....
What documents is the importer required to supply with the application?
Applications for imports under certain TRQs for milk and milk products will need to be accompanied by an Inward Monitoring Arrangement (IMA) certificate or a copy of this certificate. This certificate should be issued by the recognised authority for the exporting company. TRQs with this requirement and the details of recognised authorities are set out in Part B, Schedule 1 of the Customs (Tariff Quota) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020.
Applications for imports under certain TRQs for beef and veal products will need to be accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity or a copy of this certificate. This certificate should be issued by the recognised authority for the exporting company. TRQs with this requirement and the details of recognised authorities are set out in Part B, Schedule 1 of the Customs (Tariff Quota) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020.
Window of submission of an application
How far in advance of importation must application for a licence be made?
Are there any limitations as to the period of the year during which application for licence can be made? If so, explain
Issuing the license
Can a licence be granted immediately on request?
Can licences be obtained within a shorter time-limit or for goods arriving at the port without a licence
Which administrative body is responsible for approving application of licences?
Must the applications be passed on to other organs for visa, note or approval?
Are there any other conditions attached to the issue of a licence?
No other conditions are attached to the issuance of an import authorisation for products subject to or not subject to quantitative restrictions.
Fees and other administrative charges
Is there any licensing fee or administrative charge?
There are no fees for applying for a TRQ import licence.
What is the amount of the fee or charge?
Is there any deposit or advance payment required associated with the issue of licences?
There are no fees for applying for a TRQ import licence, however, a security must be lodged with the RPA.
Amount or rate?
The amount of the security depends on the products and is set out in Schedule 2 of the Customs (Tariff Quota) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020.
Is it refundable?
The security is returned once the conditions of the licence have been met and the goods have been imported.
What is the period of retention?
What is the purpose of this requirement?
Refusal of an application
Under what circumstances may an application for a licence be refused other than failure to meet the ordinary criteria?
The legislation does not give grounds for refusal of an application for a licence other than failure to meet the ordinary eligibility criteria.
Are the reasons for any refusal given to applicants?
Reasons for refusal are given to the applicant.
Have applicants a right of appeal in the event of refusal to issue a licence?
No appeal procedures are specified in the legislation.
If so, to what bodies and under what procedures?
Are there any limitations as to the period of year during which importation may be made?
What documents are required upon actual importation?
When the import declaration is made, a copy of the relevant TRQ import licence, in an electronic form or otherwise, must be presented to customs. For certain high-quality beef quotas, the goods must also be accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity issued by the authorised government body in the exporting territory. The quotas and issuing bodies are listed in Part B, Schedule 1 of the Customs (Tariff Quota) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020.
Are there any other administrative procedures, apart from import licensing and similar administrative procedures, required prior to importation?
No other administrative procedures, apart from import licensing and similar administrative procedures are required prior to importation.
Conditions of licensing
What is the period of validity of a licence? Can the validity be extended? How?
A TRQ import licence is valid from the first day of the opening of the quota period or sub-period for which the application was made, if the licence application was received prior to the commencement of the quota period or sub-period or from the first day of the month following receipt of the licence application, if the application is received within the quota period or sub-period for which the application was made. A TRQ import licence is valid until the end of the quota period in respect of which it was issued.
Milk and milk products
Where an IMA has been submitted with an application for an import licence, the licence issued will be valid from the date of its issue until the final day of the month, which is the eighth month following its issue so long as that period does not extend beyond 31st December in the year in which it was issued.
Beef and veal
Where a Certificate of Authenticity has been submitted with an application for an import licence, the licence issued will be valid for the relevant quota period or a period of three months beginning with the day on which the licence was issued, whichever period ends first.
Is there any penalty for the non-utilization of a licence or a portion of a licence?
There is no penalty for the non-utilisation of a TRQ import licence. However, if an import licence is not used the security lodged with the application is forfeited. If an import licence is only partially used, a proportional amount of the security is forfeited.
Are licences transferable between importers? If so, are any limitations or conditions attached to such transfer?
Import authorisations are transferable between importers. Import licences constitute a right and give rise to an obligation to import under the licence during its period of validity. As a general rule, rights deriving from licences are transferable by the titular holder of the licence during the period of its validity, but obligations deriving from licences are not transferable. The original licence holder should apply to the Rural Payments Agency to transfer the licence. The transferee should meet the same eligibility criteria as the transferor.
Is foreign exchange automatically provided by the banking authorities for goods to be imported?
The banking authorities automatically provide foreign exchange for goods to be imported as well as to cover import licences.
Is a licence required as a condition to obtaining foreign exchange?
A licence is not required as a condition to obtaining foreign exchange.
Is foreign exchange always available to cover licences issued?
The banking authorities automatically provide foreign exchange for goods to be imported as well as to cover import licences.
What formalities must be fulfilled for obtaining the foreign exchange?
The following questions are only for products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports (whether applicable globally or to a limited number of countries or whether established bilaterally or unilaterally)
Where is information on allocation and formalities for licences published? Is the overall amount published? The amount allocated to goods from each country? The maximum amount allocated to each importer? How to request any exceptions or derogations from the licensing requirement?
The Customs (Tariff Quota) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 sets out the two management methods for TRQs:
a) First-come first-served
b) Simultaneous examination method (licences)
The first-come first-served method does not involve the issuing of licenses.
This relevant guidance is available on https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-trader-s-guide-to-importing-and-exportin....
Is the size of the quota determined: on yearly, six-monthly or quarterly basis? Are there cases where the size of quota is determined on a yearly basis but licences are issued for imports on a six-monthly or quarterly basis? In the latter case, is it necessary for importers to apply for a fresh licence on a six-monthly or quarterly basis?
The tariff quotas are opened on a yearly basis and their administration may differ. There are cases where the total quantity of the quota is divided in biannual, quarterly or monthly sub-periods. Licence applications take place on a monthly basis, in the first seven days of each month.
Are licences allocated for certain goods partly or only to domestic producers of like goods? What steps are taken to ensure that licences allocated are actually used for imports? Are unused allocations added to quotas for a succeeding period? Are names of importers to whom licences have been allocated made known to governments and export promotion bodies of exporting countries upon request? If not, for what reason? (Indicate products to which replies relate)
Licences are allotted to any applicant meeting the eligibility criteria irrespective of their place of establishment in the UK or the Crown Dependencies. To ensure that allocated licences are actually used, a system of securities applies. If imports are not, or partially not realised, the licence holder's security is forfeited or partially forfeited.
From the time of announcing the opening of quotas, as indicated in I above, what is the period of time allowed for the submission of applications for licences?
The minimum amount of time an operator has to apply for an import licence for a certain quota following the publication of the opening of the quota is seven days.
What are the minimum and maximum lengths of time for processing applications?
Licences are issued at latest by the end of the month in which the application was received, except that licences that are valid from 1 January must be issued by 16 December of the preceding year.
How much time remains, at a minimum, between the granting of licences and the date of opening of the period of importation?
The time between issuing an import licence and the quota opening is usually one week.
Is consideration of licence applications effected by a single administrative organ? Or must the application be passed on to other organs for visa, note or approval? If so, which? Does the importer have to approach more than one administrative organ?
Licence administration is managed by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA).
If the demand for licences cannot be fully satisfied, on what basis is the allocation to applicants made? First come, first served? Past performance? Is there a maximum amount to be allocated per applicant and if so, on what basis is it determined? What provision is made for new importers? Are applications examined simultaneously or on receipt?
Within the tariff rate quotas managed by import licences, the allocation to applicants is made by simultaneous examination. If the demand for licences cannot be fully satisfied, the RPA calculates to what extend the total quantity can be allocated and fixes a uniform allocation coefficient valid for each import licence.
For certain over-utilised quotas, quantities will be allocated on the basis of previous imports of those products (reference quantity).
In the case of bilateral quotas or export restraint arrangements where export permits are issued by exporting countries, are import licences also required? If so, are licences issued automatically?
When export licences are issued by third countries, importers will need to submit this licence or a copy with their application for a licence.
In cases where imports are allocated on the basis of export permits only, how is the importing country informed of the effect given by the exporting countries to the understanding between the two countries?
There are no cases where imports are allowed on the basis of export permits only.
Are there products for which licences are issued on condition that goods should be exported and not sold in the domestic market?
There are no products for which licences are issued on condition that goods should be exported and not sold in the domestic market.