Applying for a Global Specialty Sugar Certificate

Specialty Sugar Tariff Rate Quota (TRQ)

The specialty sugar TRQ established by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and managed by USDA is part of the refined sugar TRQ.  There is no specialty sugar TRQ for raw sugar.  

To be eligible for the specialty sugar TRQ, the sugar must be classified in the U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) under subheadings 1701.91.10.00, 1701.99.10.15, 1701.99.10.17, 1702.90.10.00, or 2106.90.44.00.  Most common specialty sugars are classified in HTS 1701.99.10.15 or 1701.99.10.17.

Click here for the definition of specialty sugar. (61 FR 26785, May 29, 1996)
Organic sugar was later added to the list of specialty sugars. (61 FR 42935, August 19, 1996) 


Fiscal Year 2024 Specialty Sugar TRQ

On July 18, 2023, the USTR announced the additional Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 specialty sugar TRQ at 210,000 metric tons.  View USTR press release and Federal Register notice.

USDA administers the FY 2024 specialty sugar TRQ (metric tons) in five tranches. 

  • Tranche 1 – Opens Oct. 2, 2023 – 1,656 
  • Tranche 2 – Opens Oct. 10, 2023 – 60,000 
  • Tranche 3 – Opens Jan. 19, 2024 – 60,000
  • Tranche 4 – Opens April 15, 2024 – 45,000 
  • Tranche 5 – Opens July 15, 2024 – 45,000

The second, third, fourth, and fifth tranches will be reserved for organic sugar and other specialty sugars not currently produced commercially in the United States or reasonably available from domestic sources.

Specialty Sugar Certificate

This link shows a sample specialty sugar certificate This link provides lists of recent recipients of specialty sugar certificates

A specialty sugar certificate valid for that fiscal year must accompany sugar imported (entered) into U.S. Customs territory under the specialty sugar TRQ.

To potentially benefit from the lower tariff, an importer or the importer's agent must present a specialty sugar certificate, valid for that tranche, to the appropriate Customs official when the specialty sugar enters the Customs territory of the United States.

Entry of specialty sugar within the TRQ shall be allowed only in conformity with the conditions and limitations stated in the certificate.

Issuance of a certificate does not guarantee entry of any specific shipment of specialty sugar at a lower rate of duty.  A certificate only permits entry of such sugar until the TRQ fills, or the fiscal year ends.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection publishes a weekly report on the status of U.S. tariff rate quotas:  Commodity Status Report for Tariff Rate Quotas.  A second resource provides technical updates.

How to Apply for a Specialty Sugar Certificate

To apply for a specialty sugar certificate, fax, email, or courier the following information:

  1. The name and street address on the company’s letterhead of the applicant, an importer with a U.S. place of business.
  2. A statement of the anticipated country of origin and quantity of specialty sugar(s) to be imported.
  3. The appropriate ten-digit HTS subheading number, usually 1701.99.10.15 or 1701.99.10.17.
  4. A description of the specialty sugar and its intended use that the importer will compete to enter during the period of the certificate, including the manufacturer's or exporter's usual trade name or designation.
  5. From each supplier, a specification sheet showing that the product has polarity of at least 99.5 percent.
  6. Detailed photos of the product are required.  Your supplier likely has appropriate photos.  These pictures will display the bag (or other type of receptacle) photographed from various angles, the actual sugar on a dish, and bags (or other receptacles) on a pallet (or other structure) prepared for transport.  This photographic evidence, including the USDA organic label, will permit the Licensing Authority to make a reasonable determination that such sugars are specialty sugars within the definition of specialty sugar.
  7. The name of the anticipated consumer of the specialty sugars, if known at time of application.
  8. The anticipated date of entry, if known at time of application.
  9. An importer of organic sugar must provide a copy of the USDA-accredited certification(s) for their foreign suppliers covered in its application.
  10. National Organic Program:
  11. The Licensing Authority may seek clarification for any application.

Applications may be submitted two ways:

  • Email:
  • Mailed to:
    Import Programs Team
    Multilateral Affairs
    FAS/USDA Room 5550, Stop 1070 
    Washington, DC 20250