Public procurement: non-EU countries must open markets

EP International trade committee approves market access law creating level playing field

EP International trade committee approves market access law creating level playing field

European companies are to gain easier access to public tenders outside the EU. The European Parliament’s international trade committee today approved a market access law in first reading.

“If a non-EU country refuses access to public tenders, the European Union may in turn bar companies from this country to bid in EU public procurement procedures. We are creating a level playing field”, the European Parliament’s rapporteur and coordinator in the international trade committee, Daniel Caspary MEP said.

“The aim of the new rules is to improve access for European companies to public procurement and construction projects in third countries. The new rule is simple: ‘same rights for both sides’. This is a powerful lever to open-up markets which so far have been closed to European companies”, Caspary said. “The new rules are aimed at opening-up global markets while containing a safety device preventing them from being misused as an instrument for protectionism”, he added.

According to the committee vote today, the EU Commission may check – on its own initiative or on demand by European companies, public authorities or EU member states – whether a third country denies access to public tenders. If this is the case, the EU Commission may start negotiations with the aim of opening up the market. Failure to reach an agreement will allow the Commission to establish a ban on companies from the third country in question to bid for EU public contracts.

“The market access law addresses a crucial imbalance in global trade whereby large multinationals from newly industrialised nations profit from open access to EU markets, but are protected from global competition at home”, Caspary said.