Cheese, certain types


Basic information


Outline of the system

Australia administers a tariff quota on imports of certain types of cheese and curd. Under the Cheese and Curd Quota Scheme the tariff quota applies to certain types of cheese and curd that can be imported at a concessional rate of duty ($0.096/kg) and is restricted to 11,500 tonnes per annum. Imports can be made outside the 11,500 tonne quota allocated each year, but a higher rate of duty ($1.220/kg) applies.


Product coverage

No licensing system is maintained for out-of-quota cheese imports. For in-quota cheese imports, individuals or companies which have historically imported dutiable cheese under quota are allocated a share of the tariff quota, allowing them to import a quantity of cheese at the concessional rate of duty. Individuals or companies who do not have a share of the tariff quota may still import cheese at the out-of-quota tariff rate. The products covered by the tariff quota are as follows:

Number 0406

Product type
Cheese and Curd

Rate of Duty


Fresh (un-ripened or uncured) cheese, including whey cheese, and curd

$A0.096/kg (a)

$A1.220/kg (b)


Grated or powdered cheese, of all kinds

$A0.096/kg (a)

$A1.220/kg (b)


Processed cheese, not grated or powdered

$A0.096/kg (a)

$A1.220/kg (b)


Blue-veined cheese:

     -      Roquefort, Stilton

Free (c)



Blue-veined cheese:

     -      Other

$A0.096/kg (a)

$A1.220/kg (b)


Other Cheese:

     -      Cheese, of the following types:

          ●     made wholly from goats' milk, other than feta or kasseri

          ●     surface-ripened soft, having:

          ●     a fat content in the dry matter of not less than 50% by weight, and

          ●     a moisture content of not less than 65% by weight of the non-fatty matter

Free (c)



Other Cheese:

     -      Other

          ●     includes Cheddar, Colby, Edam, Gouda, Havarti, Parmesan, Kasseri, Mozzarella, Provolone, Feta

$A0.096/kg (a)

$A1.220/kg (b)


(a)          Rate for cheese imported within the tariff quota.

(b)          Out of quota rate for cheese imported in excess of tariff quota amount.

(c)           Not subject to the tariff quota. Included in table only to indicate coverage of residual tariff item ("other").

Note:       The rate for developing countries is as shown in the table above, less 5% of the customs value (fob price) of the product.

Nature of licensing



If Automatic, administrative purpose



If Non-Automatic, description of the notified Non-Automatic Licensing regime


Products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports

The licensing system is used to administer the tariff quota.


Questions for products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports

Please see Answers 6.1-6.11.


The system applies to products originating from which country?

The scheme applies to cheeses originating in and coming from all countries. The Scheme does not apply to cheese and curd products that are :
• of Australian origin (e.g., returned Australian goods);
• of a preference country of origin (e.g., under a Free Trade Agreement); or
• subject to a free rate of duty under Schedule 3 of the Customs Tariff Act 1995.


Expected duration of licensing procedure

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?

Only those firms that have a history of trade performance in importing cheese under quota are allocated a share in the tariff quota. The allocation of the tariff quota is made on the basis of historical trade performance.


Is there a registration fee?

Firms are free to transfer their tariff quota allocation.


Is there a published list of authorized importers?

Contact point for information on eligibility










E-mail address




Contact officer

Submission of an application


Administrative body(ies) for submission of an application

Documentation requirements


What information is required in applications?

Applications are not required. Eligible importers are advised of their entitlement based on the ABF records of import entries lodged during the preceding base period.


What documents is the importer required to supply with the application?

Applications are not required.

Window of submission of an application


How far in advance of importation must application for a licence be made?

Not applicable.


Are there any limitations as to the period of the year during which application for licence can be made? If so, explain

Not applicable.

Issuing the license


Can a licence be granted immediately on request?

Not applicable.


Can licences be obtained within a shorter time-limit or for goods arriving at the port without a licence

Not applicable.


Which administrative body is responsible for approving application of licences?

Not applicable.


Must the applications be passed on to other organs for visa, note or approval?

Not applicable.


Are there any other conditions attached to the issue of a licence?


Fees and other administrative charges


Is there any licensing fee or administrative charge?

There is no licensing fee or administrative charge.


What is the amount of the fee or charge?


Is there any deposit or advance payment required associated with the issue of licences?

There is no deposit or advance payment requirement associated with the issue of licenses.


Amount or rate?


Is it refundable?


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?

No circumstances exist for refusal to make an allocation beyond failure to meet the standard criteria.

Allocations are made only in accordance with a Determination made in pursuance of Section 273B of the Customs Act, and published documentation such as relevant Australian Customs Notices issued by the ABF. Allocations of quota to new parties are enacted by transfer by use of an approved form.

The fixed annual amount of quota available for distribution is allocated to existing quota holders according to each quota holders' previous import history of use of quota in the 23 months ending 31 May prior to the next financial year allocation. The scheme does not provide for direct applications for quota and does not have a licensing system as such.


Are the reasons for any refusal given to applicants?

The ABF has no record of refusals to make an allocation.


Have applicants a right of appeal in the event of refusal to issue a licence?

All decisions of an administrative nature are appealable on a case-by-case basis under the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act.


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?

Not applicable.


What documents are required upon actual importation?

No quota specific document is required on importation. Product is entered into Australia under quota by use of unique Tariff Quota Numbers and security codes on Customs import clearance documentation (electronic or manual) .


Are there any other administrative procedures, apart from import licensing and similar administrative procedures, required prior to importation?


Conditions of licensing


What is the period of validity of a licence? Can the validity be extended? How?

Twelve-month period with no extensions.


Is there any penalty for the non-utilization of a licence or a portion of a licence?

There are no official penalties for individuals or companies that do not utilise their allocation. However, since allocations are based on historical trading performance, future allocations may be reduced for individuals or companies that do not utilise their allocation.


Are licences transferable between importers? If so, are any limitations or conditions attached to such transfer?

Tariff quota allocations can be transferred between individuals and companies without limitation. However, transfer transactions do not count as trade performance for the purpose of quota allocation.

Foreign Exchange


Is foreign exchange automatically provided by the banking authorities for goods to be imported?

Not applicable.


Is a licence required as a condition to obtaining foreign exchange?

Not applicable.


Is foreign exchange always available to cover licences issued?

Not applicable.


What formalities must be fulfilled for obtaining the foreign exchange?

Not applicable.

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?

Not applicable.


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 size of the tariff quota is 11,500 tonnes per annum. The allocation of the tariff quota to individual importers occurs on an annual basis.


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)

Tariff quota allocations to individuals or companies are based on historical trade performance in the importation of cheese under quota. No tariff quota is allocated on the basis of domestic production of like product. Unused portions/amounts of the tariff quota allocation are not added to the tariff quota for the following year.


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?

Not applicable.


What are the minimum and maximum lengths of time for processing applications?

Not applicable.


How much time remains, at a minimum, between the granting of licences and the date of opening of the period of importation?

Not applicable.


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?

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) is responsible for the policy framework of the Scheme, with the Australian Border Force (ABF) administering the scheme on behalf of the DAFF.


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?

Tariff quotas are allocated to importers on the basis of historical trade performance involving quota usage. The allocations of the cheese and curd quota are made to importers in July each year based on the actual usage of quota to import cheese and curd in the 23 months ending 31 May of that same year. New importers are able to acquire tariff quota allocation on transfer from an existing holder of tariff quota.


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?

Not applicable.


Are there products for which licences are issued on condition that goods should be exported and not sold in the domestic market?