Answer – Access to third countries' procurement markets – E-003548/2017

The EU is one of the world’s most open economies. The Commission wants greater reciprocity in the access to international procurement markets.

Several instruments could be used to open up foreign procurement markets, namely through the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) and the bilateral Free Trade Agreements. The EU has negotiated ambitious procurement chapters with trading partners, notably South Korea, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Singapore, Vietnam and Japan and it is currently negotiating with Mercosur and Mexico. The EU is also negotiating in the GPA context the accession of new parties such as China, Russia and Australia.

To increase the leverage in these negotiations, the EU has proposed a regulation for an International Procurement Instrument. This proposal contains mechanisms to encourage the EU’s trading partners to negotiate market access on a reciprocal basis. According to the proposal, the Commission would investigate possible allegations against trading partners regarding discrimination of EU operators in their procurement market, and in case of proven discrimination invite the trading partner to negotiations aiming at further market openings.

In case these negotiations would not lead to result, the EU would be able to take restrictive measures against goods and services from the targeted country. This proposal was adopted by the Commission in 2012 and fundamentally reviewed in 2016 to facilitate a compromise between co-legislators.

In addition, the Commission will also promote a favourable regulatory environment in non-EU countries by promoting the development of global and convergent standards in procurement.