Tariff rate quota: A trade policy tool used to protect a domestically-produced commodity or product from competitive imports. A tariff rate quota (TRQ) combines two policy instruments that nations historically have used to restrict such imports: quotas and tariffs. In a TRQ, the quota component works together with a specified tariff level to provide the desired degree of import protection. Imports entering during a specific time period under the quota portion of a TRQ are usually subject to a lower, or sometimes a zero, tariff rate. Imports above the quota’s quantitative threshold face a much higher (usually prohibitive) tariff. Currently, TRQs apply to U.S. imports of certain dairy products, beef, cotton, peanuts, sugar, certain sugar-containing products, and tobacco.

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