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public procurement

Government procurement refers to purchases of goods or services, including consultancies and professional services, construction, maintenance and material supply contracts, facilities contracts, capital equipment and property and leasing arrangements, undertaken by governments for their own consumption.

Government procurement accounts for a significant part of the economy of many countries. Although a government procurement agreement did not form part of the core WTO agreement, a number of WTO member governments signed a plurilateral agreement on government procurement. However, this was optional and did not go far enough for private sector and governments vying for new opportunities for profit and control through the liberalization of this important area. Government procurement provisions in free trade agreements stipulate that governments (national and sub-national) must treat overseas tenders no less favourably than local ones. Many bilateral agreements include provisions which already commit governments to open up this lucrative market to transnational corporations. This issue has been a contentious sticking point for Malaysia in its negotiations with Washington on an FTA and India in its negotiations with the EU. Malaysia’s procurement policy has kept foreign companies from bidding for state contracts, which US negotiators object to.


Six reasons NOT to ratify the EU-Mexico Global Agreement
Statement of the Mexican, European and international civil society, 4 July 2022
India has no plans to join the WTO govt procurement agreement
India has “no plans" to join the government procurement agreement grouping of the World Trade Organization, but is open to negotiating such agreements as part of bilateral deals.
India-UAE FTA steers clear of credible access to govt procurement
India and the UAE have remained cautious in granting each other access to the sensitive public procurement segment under the free trade agreement (FTA) signed in February.
China moves to ease rules on government procurement for CPTPP
China has taken a step toward easing rules that all but bar foreign companies from lucrative government procurement deals as the world’s second-largest economy seeks to join a Pacific Rim trade deal.
EU-ESA EPA: EU proposals (Jun 2021)
Kenya seeks to shield key state firms in US deal
Kenya is keen on protecting key economic sectors and several strategic state-owned enterprises from the Free Trade Agreement ahead of trade talks with the US slated for July.
Trade deals are a handbrake on New Zealand’s post-Covid recovery
The ‘spend local’ mantra should apply to our biggest infrastructure projects too. Yet trade and investment agreements curb the government’s freedom to use procurement for a range of economic and social objectives.
EU, Mexico conclude talks to update free trade deal
The European Union and Mexico finalised a major upgrade to their free trade deal after the two sides agreed to grant reciprocal market access to each other’s tenders for public contracts.
Trump sights in WTO procurement pact for leverage on UK, EU
By threatening to withdraw from the GPA, the Trump administration can increase its leverage and obtain greater public procurement concessions in bilateral talks with the EU and UK.
US procurement demand on Canada, Mexico fading from NAFTA: sources
The United States has backed away from its contentious demands for lucrative procurement projects in the renegotiation of the North American free-trade agreement.
EU-US trade truce falters on day 1 over farming
Europeans don’t want their hallowed farm sector sucked into the deal.
EU-Mercosur FTA: draft chapters (July 2017)
8 draft chapters, as leaked by Greenpeace
Research on the impacts of the EU-Mercosur trade negotiations
Analysis of draft texts, especially the chapters on goods, SPS, TBT and government procurement.
TPP members whittle list of rules to shelve with US gone
Terms on intellectual property protections, state-owned enterprises up for debate.
Japan eyes opening procurement bidding, lowering tariffs as EU trade pact bargaining chip
Tokyo is considering opening up bidding for local university and hospital projects to European companies.
Govt mulls opening railway market to EU
The government is considering opening part of Japan’s railway market to overseas companies based in Europe in the negotiations for an economic partnership agreement with the European Union.
EU-Indonesia FTA - draft public procurement chapter (December 2016)
As published by the European Commission
EU-Indonesia FTA - draft public procurement chapter (December 2016)
As published by the European Commission
EU-Mexico FTA - EU text proposals (November 2016)
As published by the European Commission
Three more reasons why we need to stop CETA
A major topic of discussion at the World Social Forum in Montreal was the problems with TTIP-style free trade agreements and how we can stop them, writes Nick Dearden