Australia’s EU HQB quota utilisation strong in 2015-16

26 July 2016

Australian beef exports to the EU were steady in 2015-16, at 24,059 tonnes swt, but grainfed beef shipments continued to rise, up 5% year-on-year, to 17,402 tonnes swt. This demonstrates the strong and growing demand for such a product in the market, and Australia is one of the major suppliers under the EU (481) grainfed quota, accounting for 36% of total imports. Australia’s high quality beef (HQB) “Hilton Quota” utilisation was relatively stable, reaching 94% in 2015-16.

Australia has consistently been a high user of its “Hilton Quota”, with utilisation in 2015-16 totalling 6,738 tonnes swt (or 94% of the total quota allocated for the year).

Over the past decade, Australian “Hilton Quota” utilisation averaged 95%. The UK was the major destination over this period, accounting for 70% of total exports.

Australian EU HQB "Hilton Quota" utilisation


Volume (tonnes swt)


 Quota allocation 
  (tonnes swt)









































 Interestingly, while the UK accounted for 65% of total Australian exports in 2015-16 under the “Hilton Quota”, it accounted for only 28% of shipments under the grainfed quota. The Netherlands was the main destination country for Australian beef under the grainfed quota, accounting for 40% of total imports, while Italy represented 26%.

Total EU beef imports under the HQB “grainfed” quota registered the highest usage since the quota was established in 2009 (47,927 tonnes swt in 2015-16 or 99.4% of the total quota allocated for the year). All quarters achieved critical usage status, and Australia, US and Uruguay were the major suppliers.

Like Australia, Uruguay has increased beef exports under the EU grainfed quota in the past fiscal year, accounting for approximately 26% of total imports under this quota. Argentinean beef shipments under the grainfed quota have also improved in 2015-16, but exports under the “Hilton Quota” continued to decline.

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