©Reuters. The EU reaches political agreement to improve access to tenders abroad
Brussels, March 14 (.).- The European Commission (EC), the European Parliament and the Council of the EU reached a political agreement on Monday to gain influence in access to public procurement markets in third countries, which will open up more opportunities for community businesses.
Negotiators from the three institutions closed an agreement at the last three-way meeting they held on the new international public procurement instrument (IPI), reported the EC, the French presidency of the EU Council and the European Parliament in two communications.
Faced with the discrimination faced by EU companies in the national markets of some of its main trading partners, the IPI, which is in line with the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO), will contribute to solving these difficulties empowering the EU to initiate investigations in cases of alleged restrictions.
Also to enter into consultations with the country in question about opening up its procurement market and ultimately restrict access to the EU procurement market for foreign companies if they come from a country that continues to apply restrictions on foreign companies. the European Union.
With the IPI, the EC will be able, as a last resort, to apply restrictions to the EU’s own procurement markets by adjusting the way it assesses offers from the country in question, or by excluding certain offers.
In practice, bids from that country, compared to other bids, would be considered to offer a higher price than the actual price submitted, thus giving bidders from the EU and from non-affected countries a competitive advantage in the markets community public procurement.
Before taking that step, the EC would launch investigations into cases of alleged restrictions on EU companies in third-country procurement markets.
In parallel to the investigation, the EC would invite the country in question to hold consultations on the opening of its public procurement market, which could also take the form of negotiations of an international agreement.
According to the agreement reached today, the IPI measures will be applied to tenders for a minimum value of 15 million euros for works and concessions and 5 million euros for goods and services.
On the other hand, the Parliament insisted on reducing to two the number of exceptions by which an authority that seeks bidders in the Member States (for example, municipalities, public institutions or governments) can choose not to apply the IPI measures, thus expanding the range of the instrument.
In addition, the exceptions based on the “disproportionate increase in price” were eliminated, a concept that the European Parliament considered difficult to define.
The big contracting authorities, for example the city councils of the big cities or the central government, will also always have to apply the new rules.
To this end, the local contracting authorities will only be exempt from the IPI if they represent less than 50,000 people, while the percentage of the annual global value of the tenders, for which the contracting authorities must apply the IPI, has been set at 80%. .
Bidders from less developed countries will not be subject to IPI measures.
Public procurement represents an important part of national economies, and this expenditure represents an average of between 10% and 20% of the GDP of each country and represents more than 8 billion euros in business opportunities around the world.
The EC made a first IPI proposal in 2012 and it was modified in 2016, while the Council (in which the governments of the Twenty-seven are represented) adopted its position on the matter last June.
Following today’s political agreement, the European Parliament and Council will then formally approve the amended regulation before it enters into force.