A committee of MEPs has approved a draft law that would mean firms in non-EU countries bidding for EU contracts could be excluded if those nations do not allow EU firms similar access to their public contracts.
The European Parliament’s International Trade Committee (INTA) said the “international public procurement instrument” should “strengthen the EU’s hand in trade talks and help EU firms wishing to bid for third country contracts”.
Daniel Caspary, European Parliament rapporteur, INTA coordinator and German MEP, said: “The new rules address 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. The new rule is simple: same rights for both sides. We are creating a level playing field.”
According to the European Commission, 85 per cent of EU public procurement markets are open to international tenders, but EU firms are only allowed to bid for 32 per cent of public tenders in the US and 28 per cent in Japan.
The instrument would only apply to tenders worth €5 million (£4.2 million) or more and those in which goods or services originating outside the EU exceed 50 per cent of the products or services involved.
It is proposed that “least-developed countries” are excluded from the legislation. The law will subject to a vote by all MEPs before coming into force.