The EU is engaged in market access negotiations to conclude bilateral trade agreements with some non-EU countries. These agreements generally include public procurement chapters. At the same time, the EU has initiated regulatory dialogues with some third countries to promote the convergence of public procurement regulation internationally.
The EU and Brazil have initiated a regulatory dialogue on technical aspects of public procurement to exchange good practice and foster mutual learning. Topics include tendering processes and criteria, the promotion of transparency and accessibility, as well as the professionalisation of public buyers. Once the EU-Mercosur Trade Agreement enters into force, this regulatory dialogue will support its implementation.
The EU and Canada negotiated a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which entered into force provisionally on 21 September 2017. This agreement contains a public procurement chapter. The provisional application of CETA provides for the further opening up of the Canadian procurement market for EU companies, including at provincial and local levels, which represent an important share of the market in Canada.
Since 2005, the EU and China have held an annual regulatory dialogue on public procurement to discuss recent regulatory developments and issues of common interest. The last meeting took place in November 2018 in Beijing.
China’s accession to the GPA is also regularly discussed with the Chinese authorities.
The EU finalised Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations with Japan for an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) on 8 December 2017. These negotiations included discussions on public procurement issues with a view to further opening both parties’ procurement markets. On 1 February 2019, the agreement entered into force.
Within the framework of the FTA negotiations, the Commission and the Japanese Ministry for Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism have set up the EU-Japan Industrial Dialogue on Railways in 2014. The dialogue includes representatives of the private and public sectors who meet on a biennial basis. Its objective is to promote cooperation and information exchange between the participants to facilitate bilateral trade in the railway public procurement sector, to monitor mutual market developments and to facilitate the mutual recognition of safety standards. The seventh edition of the dialogue took place on 24 September 2018 in Brussels.
The EU and Russia have held a regulatory dialogue on public procurement issues since 2006. The last meeting took place in October 2013 in Moscow. Russia applied for accession to the GPA in 2016 and circulated its initial market access offer in June 2017. Discussions with Russia in the GPA are ongoing.
The Agreement between the European Community and the Swiss Confederation on certain aspects of government procurement (bilateral agreement) complements EU and Swiss commitments under the GPA. The Agreement is one of seven bilateral agreements concluded between the EU and Switzerland in 1999. All these agreements are legally linked with each other.
A Joint Committee was set up in 2002 to ensure the Agreement’s implementation and operation. It serves as a forum for information exchanges and consultation, and meets once a year in Brussels or Switzerland. The EU side is led by the Commission’s Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, while the Swiss side is led by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs.
The Committee last met on 28 May 2019 in Bellinzona, Switzerland to discuss recent legislative developments and issues of common interest under the GPA and the bilateral agreement.
Cooperation between the EU and the U.S. in public procurement is governed under the GPA. As parties to the GPA, the EU and the U.S. have opened parts of their public procurement markets to each other's companies. The EU and the U.S. also cooperate on several GPA work programmes, which aim to exchange good practice and further facilitate cross-border procurement.
Government procurement is not within the scope of the ongoing trade negotiations between the EU and the U.S.