Spain - Country Commercial Guide
Prohibited & Restricted Imports
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To determine if a product is prohibited or subject to restriction, check the TARIC for that product for the following codes:

  • CITES                   Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species
  • PROHI                  Import Suspension
  • RSTR                    Import Restriction

For information on the TARIC, see the Import Tariffs section above.

Spanish regulations ban the import of illicit narcotics and drugs. There are also very restrictive regulations for imports of explosives, firearms, defense equipment and material, tobacco, and gambling material. There are also restrictions on many types of pharmaceutical products.

EU regulations on hormones ban most U.S. beef and beef products from entry into the EU and prevent the importation of certain live cattle.  The United States successfully challenged the EU hormone ban at the World Trade Organization, but the EU has not yet opened its market to hormone-treated beef. The European Commission has instead opened a quota for the import of hormone-free beef.

The basis for this High-Quality Beef (HQB) quota is a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the United States and the EU. The details for the administration of these zero duties, 20,000 MT beef quota were published in Commission Regulation (EC) No 620/2009.  This U.S.-EU compromise deal was formally approved in Council Regulation (EC) No 617/2009, published in the Official Journal on July 15, 2009.  The quota was put into place on August 1, 2009, for a period of three years.  The quota was expanded by mutual agreement on August 1, 2012, to 45,000 MT. However, the following countries were authorized to include their beef under the HQB quota: Australia (January 2010), Canada (March 2011), New Zealand (July 2011) and Uruguay (August 2011). The Canada MOU made a further 3,200 MT of HQB at zero duty available as of August 1, 2012, thus bringing the total available amount to 48,200 MT. Brazil is in the process of authorization as well. In August 2014, the EC allowed Argentina to join the group of countries which are eligible to export under the quota.

In 2016, the U.S. beef industry put forward a petition to reinstate trade actions against the EU in connection with the EU’s longstanding ban on the import of most beef produced in the United States. On February 2017, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) held a hearing in Washington, DC to gather comments on the petition. In the spring of 2019, the United States and the EU concluded an updated agreement modifying the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on High Quality Beef (HQB). Under the new regime, 18,500 MT Product Weight Equivalent (PWE) of hormone-free raised beef is reserved for the United States, increasing to 35,000 MT PWE in year seven under the new agreement. For January-March 2022, 38 percent of the 6,350 MT quarterly allocation was imported. Most U.S. beef imports are destined for the EU restaurant sector, so growth in U.S. beef exports to the EU will depend on continued post-COVID economic recovery in the tourism and hotel and restaurant sectors. U.S. exporters can use this quota as well as the Hilton quota for exporting high quality bovine meat to the European Union. For more information see GAIN Report - New High-Quality Beef TRQ Allocation Starting January 1, 2020.  This report details the program and certification requirements for both tariff rate quotas.

The European Commission has elaborated an updated document with an integrated EU prohibitions and restrictions list which is available through their website.