Quantitative Restrictions [Shipping] Law and Legal Definition

Quantitative restrictions refer to explicit limits, or quotas, on the physical amounts of particular commodities that can be imported or exported during a specified time period. These restrictions may be applied on a selective basis, with varying limits set according to the country of origin or destination. Quantitative restrictions are considered to have a greater protective effect than tariff measures and are more likely to distort free trade. When a trading partner uses tariffs to restrict imports, it is still possible to increase exports as long as foreign products become price competitive enough to overcome the barriers created by the tariff. When a trading partner uses quantitative restrictions, however, it is impossible to export in excess of the quota.