Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version



Cornhusker Economics, September 30, 2015,


Copyright 2015 University of Nebraska.


United States beef imports have been a controversial issue since 1958, which marked the beginning of major U.S. imports of beef from Australia. From the onset, U.S. beef producers have always been concerned with unrestricted beef imports fearing they would depress prices in the domestic market. In response to these fears, the U.S. Congress enacted the 1964 Meat Import law (P.L. 88-482) limiting red meat imports to approximately 7% of the then current domestic red meat production. This system was replaced by a beef Tariff Rate Quota (TRQ). Historically, TRQ countries rarely fill their quotas. The table on the next page provides the most recent year-to-date data on beef exports to the U.S. by country and a brief explanation of how TRQs work.