Quantitative restrictions

Quantitative restrictions are limits imposed on the volume or value of goods traded by a WTO member. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) requires the general elimination of these restrictions — except in defined circumstances. Members' notifications on quantitative restrictions are compiled in a WTO database which is accessible to the public.

> Quantitative Restrictions Database

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Quantitative restrictions are typically enforced through quotas, import or export licences or other measures, such as voluntary export restraints. A indicative list is provided in Annex 2 of G/L/59/Rev.1.


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The mandate 

Article XI of the GATT requires the general elimination of quantitative restrictions. Article XIII requires non-discriminatory application of such restrictions.

The Decision on Notification Procedures for Quantitative Restrictions, adopted by the Council for Trade in Goods on 3 July 2012, establishes the procedures that members should follow to notify quantitative restrictions. The decision also allows members to notify restrictions imposed by other members.


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Members are required to make complete notifications of all quantitative restrictions in force every two years. The first notification period started on 30 September 2012. They must also notify any changes to quantitative restrictions as soon as possible, but no later than six months from their entry into force. For all notifications, members must follow the format shown in Annex 1 of G/L/59/Rev.1.


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The Quantitative Restrictions Database contains all quantitative restrictions notified by WTO members. Restrictions can be searched by product, type of measure, trading partner etc.


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Committee on Market Access  

The Committee on Market Access is responsible for updating documentation on quantitative restrictions and reviewing members' use of these restrictions.


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Disputes concerning quantitative restrictions  


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Search Documents Online
Quantitative Restrictions documents use the code G/MA/QR/* (where * takes additional values)
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  • All quantitative restrictions documents (Document code varies)   > search
  • Notifications on quantitative restrictions documents (Document code G/MA/QR/N/*)
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  • Notifications on quantitative restrictions documents by individual members (Document code G/MA/QR/N/*)
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