European Commission - Growth

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European Commission levels the playing field for European business in international procurement markets Published on: 21/03/2012

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The European Commission proposes to improve business opportunities for EU firms in procurement markets. The main objective of the initiative is to help open worldwide public procurement markets and to ensure European businesses have fair access to them.

The proposal also aims to ensure that all companies (both European and non-European firms) are on an equal footing when it comes to competing for business in the EU's lucrative public procurement market.

Public procurement affects a substantial share of world trade flows and amounts to €1 000 billion per year. In the EU, public procurement represents up to 19% of GDP and is an essential lever for kick-starting growth again, especially during an economic crisis. The EU's public procurement market is traditionally very open. However, this is not always matched by a similar degree of openness by our trading partners. Worldwide, only a quarter of the world's procurement market is open for international competition. The restrictions applied by our trading partners affect sectors where the EU is highly competitive, such as construction, public transport, medical devices, power generation and pharmaceuticals.

The new initiative proposed by the Commission today will increase the incentives for the EU's trading partners to open up their public procurement markets to EU bidders. It will ensure that EU companies can compete in the internal market with foreign companies on an equal footing. This initiative shall increase business opportunities for EU companies, both in the EU and internationally; boost the potential for small- and medium-sized enterprises to operate in a globalised economy; and increase employment and promote innovation in the EU.



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